Charles Woodson and Clay Matthews

We thought the Green Bay Packers would be back at nearly full strength when they faced the Chicago Bears for the NFC North this weekend. Unfortunately, that won’t be the case, as safety Charles Woodson will be held out another week.

The good news is, the Packers pass rush that has been non-existent without him, will get outside linebacker Clay Matthews back. Matthews has missed the last four games with a hamstring injury. Although the pass rush showed up with five sacks in week 11, they’ve had only one since and none in the past two games.

Matthews absence has also hindered the Packers run defense, where Frank Zombo has been an embarrassment and Dezman Moses has been overmatched and often out of position.

Woodson’s absence has also hindered the Packers play against the run. Although the Packers had targeted this week for his return from a broken collarbone, Woodson will miss his seventh straight game.

It appears the team is just erring on the side of caution and why not? The Bears don’t exactly strike fear into anyone right now.

Not only have they lost four of their last five, the Bears actually had to cancel their full practice on Wednesday. They’re so decimated by injuries coach Lovie Smith limited his team to a mid-week walk-through — something almost unheard of in the NFL.

Meanwhile, on the right side of the border, the Packers were also welcoming back Mike Neal and T.J. Lang to practice. It looks like Jordy Nelson and C.J. Wilson will join Woodson on the sideline for another week, but things could be worse.

The Packers could be the Bears.

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