Arizona Cardinals vs. Green Bay Packers: Preview, prediction

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The Arizona Cardinals begin their two game home stand to end the season by taking on the NFC North leading Green Bay Packers.

It’s very simple heading into this Week 16 match up with the Packers. Win and the Cardinals will have a first round bye for the first time in franchise history. The Green Bay Packers are trying to win the NFC North division title for the 5th year in a row. The Packers (10-4) are coming off of a come from behind road victory against the Oakland Raiders, 30-20. The Cardinal (12-2) are coming off of a blowout win, on the road, against the Philadelphia Eagles, 40-17.

History: The Cardinals and the Eagles have faced each other 70 times in the regular season, and two times in the postseason. The Cardinals played 53 of these games as the Chicago Cardinals, and 10 of these as the St. Louis Cardinals. Arizona has an all time 23-45-4 record against Green Bay. The last win against the Packers came back in the Wild Card round of the 2009 playoffs in what arguably was the greatest playoff game in history. Quarterback Kurt Warner one of the best days in NFL history as he threw  more touchdown passes than incompletions, finishing the day with a stat line of 29-33, 379 yards, 5 touchdowns. LB Karlos Dansby won the game for the Arizona Cardinals, 51-45, on a scoop and score in overtime.

What: Green Bay Packers at Arizona Cardinals

Where: University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, AZ

When: 2:25 PM Arizona Time (4:25 PM EST)


Radio: Arizona Sports 98.7 FM

Keys to victory:

Carson Palmer has been on top of his game for weeks now and should have no problem leading the offense down the field against a Packers defense ranked 17 overall. Last week against the Eagles, Palmer led the offense on 6 scoring drives and put the game away at the end of the third quarter. Palmer hasn’t thrown a pick in his last four games and looks to continue this streak as the Packers will be missing Pro Bowl corner Sam Shields, who has been ruled out due to concussion symptoms. Carson Palmer also seemed to dislocate his finger last week against the Eagles, and was limited practice this whole week. Palmer is expected to play, and time will tell whether this will affect him during the game.

Since taking over the starting job, rookie running back David Johnson has stuffed the stat sheet. Through 3 games as the feature back, Johnson has ran for 378 yards, 3 rushing touchdowns, 94 receiving yards and 1 receiving touchdown. The Packers are coming into this game with their run defense ranked 22nd in the league. In their last 3 games, the Packers defense has given up 392 total rushing yards. With their inability to stop the run, the Packers will have a tough defending against the monster that is David Johnson. Andre Ellington is also expected to return from his turf toe injury.

Fitzgerald never got to have his annual breakout game against the Eagles last week as David Johnson was hot right from the opening kickoff. Fitzgerald will get a good chance to make plays against a Packers secondary without Pro Bowl corner Sam Shields so the Packers secondary could be hesitant to double cover Fitzgerald. John Brown is only 67 yards away from his first 1000 yard receiving season. Last week against the Eagles, Brown dropped 2 would be touchdown passes and possibly could have already reached the 1000 yard receiving yard mark heading into this game. Don’t expect Brown to make the same mistakes two weeks in a row, and there’s a likelihood the Brown will torch the Packers for big yardage plays.