The NFL playoffs continue on this week, as the Divisional Round of the postseason shapes up, starting on Saturday. A rematch will be taking place in the first NFC bout between the Green Bay Packers and Arizona Cardinals. The last meeting, which came just a few weeks ago, didn’t go so well for the Packers. It was actually one of the worst games I watched the Packers play in the Aaron Rodgers era. Just from a humiliation standpoint, not only the scoreboard. Rodgers was getting embarrassed, as he had absolutely no time in the pocket to make anything happen. The end result was sacks, turnovers, turnovers for touchdowns, and a final score of 38-8. That night, the Packers receivers didn’t match up well with the Cardinal secondary, nor did the Packers offensive line. Green Bay will have to figure something out, as they go into the same environment tonight. The Packers will be happy to know that Tyrann Mathieu won’t be involved in tonight’s contest. Mathieu in the game, and I think the Packers only chances would have been to bust off some big runs. Nevertheless, that may still need to happen for the Packers to emerge out of the divisional round.
The Packers’ passing game looked in-sync last week against the Washington Redskins. I had the Packers winning that one. But the Cardinals’ defense is a much better unit than the Redskins. A lot of the Packers’ success came on busted coverages from the Redskins’ defense. Do we expect to find the Cardinals’ defense making the same mistakes today? Can’t say for sure, but the Cards haven’t made many mistakes up to this point. The defense played a flawless game against the Packers in the regular season. You couldn’t have put the blame on Aaron Rodgers, he didn’t have the ability or time to do anything with the ball. The Packers have certainly been examining every second of that game film. Is a better effort even going to help them win, though?
Rodgers will be short one weapon this weekend, Devante Adams. I know that Adams has had a bust of a season, but the Packers are severely depleted in the receiving department. Adams is a pretty big loss in that respect. If Jordy Nelson was healthy it wouldn’t be that much of a problem. But what do the Packers have now in the passing game? Randall Cobb. Cobb is a great player, but he is much better when he has others around taking the attention off him. Cobb and Jordy Nelson were a great combo, but there will be no Nelson tonight. We’ll see if the Packers draw up a good enough game plan to combat the Cardinals tonight. Let’s get to the pick.
Green Bay Packers vs. Arizona Cardinals NFL Divisional Round Betting Odds:
Green Bay Packers +7(-105)
vs. Arizona Cardinals -7(-115)
Odds provided by Bovada.lv
Packers vs. Cardinals Pick:
Aaron Rodgers is going to need to pull this one out himself, along with the services of Eddie Lacy. I see Lacy needing a big game to bring the Packers to the next round. The Packers’ passing game should struggle here, it shouldn’t look anything like we witnessed last week against the Skins. Mathieu won’t be playing but the Cadinals’ secondary is still strong. On defense the Cardinals finished 5th in the NFL, allowing 321.7 yards per game. The Cards were 6th against the run and 8th against the pass. They allowed under 20 points per game with 19.6. The defense was great for the Cardinals, but it doesn’t tell the whole story, the offense was good, very good. They might be the most underrated 1st ranked offense in the NFL in some years. The Cards averaged 408.3 yards per game this season, along with scoring 30.6 points per game.
Carson Palmer paced the offense with a career year, throwing for 4003 yards with 31 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. He also completed the year with an impressive quarterback rating of 107.2. I think this might be the last push for Larry Fitzgerald. He was oh so close against the Steelers, but we all know what happened there. Fitzgerald finished the season with 1215 yards and 9 touchdowns, another solid year for a future Hall of Famer.
The Packers are the worst defense left in the playoffs. They held the Redskins down, but this is another test all in itself. The status of Sam Shields is still in doubt. He is looking like a game time decision for the Packers. The defense for the Packers was 15th in the regular season. They have had one week to rest up for the Cardinals, while the Cards have been resting at home. In any case, the status of the Packers’ offense in this game is worrisome. They’ll need to fight and claw against the Cardinals’ defense. Everybody is going to look at this touchdown spread and jump on the Packers, who looked good last week against the Redskins. However, like I said, a lot of those Packers points came from busted coverages. I see something along the lines of a 34-21 Cardinals final.
PICK: CARDINALS -7 (-115)