Two beasts of the NFC square off later Sunday afternoon to wrap up yet another intriguing slate of Sunday football. The Cardinals have been quite the revelation in 2015, perhaps looking like the most complete team in the NFL right now. Even though they suffered a key injury to defensive stalwart Tyrann Mathieu last week, the Cards remain a legitimate Super Bowl contender and will look to cement that status and their quest for homefield when they host the inconsistent Packers on Sunday. It’s been a wildly up-and-down year for Aaron Rodgers, Mike McCarthy, and the usually dominant Packers. They’ve struggled to cope with injuries, and their offense has been puzzling at times. Even though they seem to have rectified some pressing play-calling issues of late, it remains to be seen which Green Bay team will show up in Arizona this week. It makes for lots of intrigue and a potential showdown of an NFC playoff match-up, so read on below for an official game breakdown and selection for Cards/Packers.
Packers vs. Cardinals Betting Odds:
Green Bay Packers +4.5 (-110)
@ Arizona Cardinals -4.5 (-110)
Over 51 (-110)
Under 51 (-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Packers vs. Cardinals Pick:
It will be very interesting to watch how the Cardinals deal with the absence of Tyrann Mathieu against the high-octane passing attack that the Packers and Aaron Rodgers can bring. Arizona has had an excellent pass defense all season long, but it remains to be seen how they will fare without the Honey Badger on Sunday. Fortunately for Arizona, something just seems ‘up’ within the ranks in Green Bay. Aaron Rodgers has had a very poor year by his standards, and hasn’t seemed himself since suffering a nagging shoulder injury back in October. In recent outings he has faltered against inferior defense, so the Cards should be able to provide a good amount of resistance on Sunday. Making matters worse for the Pack is the fact that Arizona’s run defense has been exceptional all season long. They have not conceded more than 70 rushing yards in any game since Week 6. Expect the Cards to be able to hone in on the passing game, and compensate for the key loss of Mathieu. It may be a bit of a struggle without such a hugely important player, but the Cardinals’ veteran-laden group will make things difficult on Rodgers.
On the other side of the ball, even if the Arizona defense does falter, you just know the Cardinals’ high-octane attack will keep their team in the game. For starters, Green Bay is below average defending against the run, despite some more promising results of late. That’s got to have David Johnson licking his lips for this showdown, as the youngster was simply dominant in Week 15 against the Eagles. He should be able to pick up where he left off this week. In the passing game, Green Bay will be without Sam Shields – a big loss when you consider the depth the Cardinals have within their receiving corps. Without Shields, look for one of Floyd, Brown, or Fitzgerald to explode for a huge game. They’re all very talented and any of that trio has the ability to single-handedly take the game over for Arizona.
This should be a shootout, and the Packers just can’t play that game anymore, and haven’t at all this season. Carson Palmer should be getting some MVP consideration for his 2015 campaign, and should be able to cap it off with yet another great outing against a pretty good opponent. You know Arizona desperately wants that first-round bye after what occurred during last year’s playoffs, and they won’t let that opportunity get away in front of their rabid home crowd. Take the Cards on Sunday.
PICK = Cardinals -4.5 (-110)