The Packers did receive negative injury news this week as Clay Matthews confirmed that he once again broke his right thumb. The former sack master had not played particularly well this season (0.7), but his impact goes well beyond the stat sheet. As a whole, the Packers have struggled defensively, as indicated by their (-65.9) overall grade. Former studs AJ Hawk (-12.7) and BJ Raji (-14.1) now grade out as Green Bay’s worst defenders. The decline of the Packer defense seems almost on par with that of the Bear defense, which exemplifies that the once fierce “Black and Blue Division” has evolved into more of a finesse focused realm. The Packers boast one of the league’s best 3-4 defensive ends, however, in Mike Daniels (19.9). The Bears’ offensive did a nice job minimizing Daniels’ impact in Week 9, holding him to just one defensive rush stop and one QB hurry.
The Bears played well enough to beat an almost Rodgers-less Packers squad 27-20 in Week 9. In that game, Kyle Long (-1.8) and Jordan Mills (-5.0) struggled to maintain blocks on the right side of the offensive line. Expect Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers to dial up some exotic defensive looks to confuse the rookie linemen. The defense managed to allow just 20 points to backup QB Seneca Wallace in Week 9. The defense did not play particularly well, however, as they managed a (-5.4) overall grade. Somewhat amazingly, Shea McClellin earned a (-2.3) grade despite two sacks (obviously one of which partially derailed Green Bay’s path to prominence). This indicates that though Shea can flash ability, he lacks a completeness to his game which makes his first round draft selection a bit of a mystery. It should come as no surprise that Major Wright (-4.3) and Chris Conte (-2.2) struggled despite the infamous collarbone play. Expect Rodgers to torch those two if head coach Mike McCarthy allows Rodgers to sling the rock Sunday afternoon. By the way, the Bears defense now owns a (-173.0) defensive grade, a solid 80 marks worse than the second worst Washington Redskins.