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Cheese Curds, 12/9: Matthews' shoulder improves, Michael holds no ill will towards Seahawks

Clay will need to be close to full strength this week, since the outside linebacker group is battered and has been thinned out.

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As we prepare for Sunday's tilt between the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks, there is encouraging news out of Green Bay about at least one key player on defense. Yes, Nick Perry is out for this week (and quite possibly for a few more weeks after that), but linebacker Clay Matthews has progressed much quicker over the last few days than he did during the lead-up to the game against the Texans.

Matthews will be a critical part of the game plan with Perry out, as the Packers will likely have to play him primarily at outside linebacker once again. Thanks to Perry's and Kyler Fackrell's injuries, the rotation at that position is probably down to just four players - Matthews, Julius Peppers, Datone Jones, and Jayrone Elliott. Therefore, it's a relief that it appears that the inside linebacker unit will be back to full strength.

In the meantime, the Packers have a player on their roster who was a member of the Seahawks just a few short weeks ago. That man is running back Christine Michael, who tallied nine carries last week and looks to be in for more work again this Sunday. The Seahawks have now parted ways with Michael twice - once via trade and once via waivers - but the fourth-year back holds no grudges against his old team.

Here's your last batch of Cheese Curds for this week.

Clay Matthews making progress with shoulder |
Matthews was not expected to practice until Saturday this week, but he was able to return to the field on Thursday. That bodes well for both his availability for Sunday and the hope that he will be more effective when he's playing.

Christine Michael's plan: Help Packers, not stick it to Seahawks - ESPN
Michael Bennett said that the Seahawks hold no loyalty to Michael after his release, but Michael took the high road, saying he holds no ill will towards his former team.

Mike McCarthy on suspended Packers DT Mike Pennel: 'He has an issue' - ESPN
Based on this comment and some of the others we have been hearing lately, it sounds like Pennel has a problem with a recreational drug, not a PED.

32 PFF stats to know for NFL Week 14 | PFF
Morgan Burnett has struggled in coverage at times this year, but he has been more active of late and is among the league leaders in pass breakups among all safeties.

Matthew Stafford's control of Lions' 'O' key to revival -
Jim Bob Cooter has given Stafford the keys to the car, which is great if only because it gives us another excuse to say Jim Bob Cooter. Aside from that, it seems that Stafford has turned into a very good quarterback instead of just a "chuck it up to Megatron" type of player.

Kansas City takes AFC West lead with win over Oakland -
The Chiefs got a big second quarter from Tyreek Hill, and they vaulted themselves into the driver's seat in the division.