The week leading up the NFC divisional playoff matchup between the Green Bay Packers hasn't been short on bulletin board material for the defending Super Bowl champions. It started with New York's Jason Pierre-Paul guaranteeing victory for the Giants earlier in the week.
Now they are getting blasts from former players.
In case you missed it, Marshall Faulk wasn't sure if Clay Matthews even played this season during a segment on NFL Network's No Huddle Show. You can see Faulk's comments near the end of the video here.
With all due respect to the tremendous career Marshall Faulk had in the NFL, he's way off base here. Matthews may not have the splashy sack numbers of previous seasons, but anyone who watches the Packers can see Matthews is still productive and has made strides in other areas of his game.
Perhaps due to an overall struggling defense, Matthews isn't put into pass rush mode as often and has a career-high three interceptions including one returned for a touchdown against the New York Giants.
Matthews did tally a respectable six sacks and seemed much stronger against the run when compared to previous seasons. He's still disruptive in the backfield leading to holding penalties and pressures on the quarterback.
I believe the offseason departure of DE Cullen Jenkins has left a pass rush void opposite Clay Matthews allowing teams to focus more attention on Matthews. Matthews remains a vital element to any success the Packer defense enjoys.
But Faulk and some of his No Huddle colleagues are not impressed, as you can see.
Despite being a seven-point home favorite for the game, it seems the NY Giants are the popular pick this week coming off three straight victories at home.
This will be the ultimate litmus test of rest versus momentum. The Packers haven't played a meaningful game in about a month while the Giants have been in playoff mode during that same time span.
I still look for the sleeping giant (no pun intended) Packers to get off to a quick start on offense while Eli Manning and company will be unable to match the early scoring. Remember it took them nearly a half to settle in on offense at home against the Falcons.
And the Packers typically don't have much trouble scoring early.
Weather forecast appears to be cool but not arctic. Temperatures in the 20's with fresh snowfall due in the next couple days but clear skies Sunday.
This looks to be another epic playoff matchup between the NFL's largest and smallest cities. Ensuring that these two drastically different media markets can compete on a relatively level economic field is what makes the NFL fantastic.
And that bulletin board material helps, too.
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