When Charles Woodson retires, he’ll do it as one of the best players to ever play his position. For now, though, he’ll be in a sort of forced and painful temporary retirement for six weeks.

Woodson broke his collarbone during the Packers’ win yesterday over St. Louis, and he’ll be out for at least six weeks, according to a report from Jay Glazer. That leaves M.D. Jennings — one half of the infamous simultaneous catch — to step in until early December.

Losing a defender of Woodson’s caliber is never an enjoyable experience, but a year ago it would have been absolutely devastating. That’s when the Packers secondary was getting exposed regularly by a pass rush that had regressed severely. Leading the slide was Clay Mathews, the outside rusher who had only six sacks last year after finishing with 13.5 in 2010.

But the times, they have changed, and now Mathews has reverted to his beastly form, and so has the Packers’ front seven, which has made life significantly less cozy for opposing passers. Green Bay leads the league with 24 sacks, nine of which have come from Mathews, and three came yesterday against Sam Bradford.

So that will cushion the blow of Woodson’s injury, but it’s still a pretty swift backhand to the solar plexus for a middle of the pack-ish coverage unit that’s already giving up 232.4 yards per game (16th). A bit of luck is on the Packers’ side with their bye falling in Week 10, making Woodson’s absence five games in length, which of course is assuming that he doesn’t have a setback.

From a fantasy perspective, that stretch of the Packers’ schedule is mostly filled with meh, with some potential explosions sans Woodson tossed in. Let’s explore:

  • Week 8 vs. Jaguars: All of the meh.
  • Week 9 vs. Cardinals: Larry Fitzgerald will have one less really fast guy to take away his deep balls, and to hit him really hard.
  • Week 11 @ Lions: Last year Matthew Stafford threw five interceptions over his two games against the Pack, and one landed in Woodson’s hands.
  • Week 12 @ Giants: A team without its primary ball hawker will attempt to stop Eli Manning, a quarterback averaging 301.3 yards per game.
  • Week 13 vs. Vikings: Percy Harvin’s crossing routes will become even more dangerous. He’s only a week removed from catching 11 balls against the Redskins for 133 yards.

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