Arizona Cardinals vs. Green Bay Packers: Playoff preview, prediction
The Arizona Cardinals begin their journey to Super Bowl 50 in a Week 16 rematch with the Green Bay Packers.
The Arizona Cardinals are getting set to host their first playoff game since 2010, which coincidentally was also against the Green Bay Packers. Arizona finished the regular season with a 13-3 record which was good enough for the #2 seed and the franchise’s first first round bye. Green Bay is coming off a wild card victory against the Washington Redskins and are returning to avenge their Week 16 and 2010 Wild Card round losses.
History: The Cardinals and the Packers have faced each other 71 times in the regular season, and two times in the postseason, soon to be three times. 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 24-45-4 record against Green Bay. The last win against the Packers came back in Week 16 in what was arguably the Cardinals’ best showing of the season. The Arizona Cardinals defense absolutely destroyed Aaron Rodgers and the Packers’ offense, forcing 4 turnovers, 2 defensive touchdowns and 8 sacks. The Cardinals won 38-8, clinching a first round bye.
What: Green Bay Packers at Arizona Cardinals
Where: University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, AZ
When: 6:15 PM Arizona Time (8:15 PM EST)
Radio: Arizona Sports 98.7 FM
Keys to victory:
First things first: If you’re worried about the team putting in the same effort they did against Seattle, you can forget about it. That game ultimately did not cost the team anything. Bruce Arians knows well enough to have his team ready for their postseason debut, and expect the team to come out firing.
Carson Palmer is 0-2 in his playoff career, and is hoping to end that streak this week. He most likely will. Palmer has had one of, if not the best, seasons for an Arizona Cardinals quarterback and has made a very impressive case to be named league MVP. Palmer finished the regular season having thrown for 4671 touchdowns, 35 touchdowns and a passer rating of 104.6. While the Packers have the 6th ranked pass defense in the NFL, they will most likely playing without Pro Bowl corner Sam Shields. This Packers defense also allowed Kirk Cousins to throw for 329 yards and a touchdown (would have been two if not for DeSean Jackson). In their last match up, Palmer threw for 265 yards and 2 touchdowns in only three quarters of play. The stats back up Palmer’s case to be able to lead this team to victory and so does his record. Palmer is 20-4 at the University of Phoenix Stadium as a Cardinal.
Luckily for Palmer he will have one of the NFL’s best supporting casts to throw to and hand the ball off to. While it is expected that Fitzgerald will give the Packers a hard time it’s receivers John Brown and Michael Floyd, and running back David Johnson who will make the difference. Everyone remembers Johnson juking two Packers defenders for a huge gain. Floyd finished the game with 111 receiving yards and John Brown with his touchdown. The offense matches up very well with the Green Bay defense, and the coaching staff will most definitely exploit match ups.
The offense will make you forget about their Week 17 performance against the Seattle Seahawks.