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Lions-Packers matchup of the day: Wednesday

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Dan Arkush

darkush@pfwmedia.com
Executive editor

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Posted Dec. 28, 2011 @ 4:30 p.m. ET
By Dan Arkush

Lions ORT Gosder Cherilus and ORG Stephen Peterman vs. Packers LOLBs Clay Matthews, Brad Jones, Vic So'oto and Jamari Lattimore

As you can tell by all the backups to Matthews being mentioned in this matchup, a key factor Sunday could be the extent the Packers decide to play Matthews in a game in which the team has nothing to gain and possibly a lot to lose the more its key players stay on the field. Matthews has been hindered on and off by injuries this season, and Dom Capers might decide to limit his service on Sunday in favor of Jones, a former starter who has fallen to the bottom end of the roster, and a pair of raw but intriguing rookies in So'oto and Lattimore who could benefit from more playing time. So'oto registered two late pressures vs. the Bears last week in place of Erik Walden on the right side.

Matthews, who became the first Packer since RB John Brockington to earn Pro Bowl recognition in each of his first three seasons, leads the Packers with six sacks, but the Packers' pass rush has been nonexistent in the last two games. Recently, Matthews has done more damage in coverage; he has posted career highs in interceptions (three, including one brilliant snatch vs. the Bears and a pick in the first game this season vs. Detroit) and passes defensed (nine). Continuing to be a potentially disruptive force on every play, he also has registered a career high in forced fumbles (three).

The right side of the Lions' offensive line is not nearly as solid as the left side, as both Cherilus and Peterman should be considered pedestrian at best. Cherilus is huge (6-6½, 325 pounds), but his technique is erratic, and the lightning-quick Matthews could be tough to stop on twists and stunts. Peterman is a journeyman who gets by primarily on effort and savvy.

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