A brief overview of three storylines that could help determine the outcome of the Sunday night showdown between the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
GREEN BAY – It doesn’t sound like the Green Bay Packers will have linebacker Clay Matthews for the Pittsburgh game Sunday night, but Matthews said a decision won’t be made until just before the game.
Matthews said there’s concern that he could make his groin injury worse if he comes back too soon, so he is not practicing and it doesn’t seem likely he’ll practice the rest of the week.
“I still have some obstacles to overcome, dealing with the groin,” Matthews said. “Mike (McCarthy) does a good job, and I feel like we have a good relationship. He'll probably allow me to take it all the way up to the game time.
“It's one of those things that we may not want to push it as well and set myself back. I can't give you a realistic answer, but we'll probably take it up to the game.”
Matthews injured himself in the Baltimore game Sunday. He came to the sideline, took some time off and then returned to the game. He quickly came off the field and called it a day.
The Packers are going to need every pass rusher they have to get to Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, but they are healthy at the outside linebacker position and have some options to try to fill the spot.
It’s possible defensive coordinator Dom Capers will go with veteran Ahmad Brooks, who played 27 snaps against the Ravens in his second game back from a back injury. Brooks had several good rushes and said he felt he was far more effective than in his first game against Chicago.
“We have a rotation going on right now,” Brooks said. “We want Clay in the lineup. But they do a pretty good job of substituting guys in and out during the game. I don’t think it should be any different.”
The Baltimore game was probably Kyler Fackrell’s best over his short career. He had five tackles, including a sack and a tackle for loss. He was better in the run game than he had been probably all season.
Rookie Vince Biegel saw his snaps go up from six to 16 last week because of Matthews’ injury and was credited with two tackles, including one for loss. If Matthews doesn’t play, Biegel and Fackrell are likely to spell Nick Perry and Brooks with Chris Odom also getting a few snaps.