The Arizona Cardinals must prepare as if the top options for the Green Bay Packers are on the field.
Fans of the Arizona Cardinals know what kind of sorcery Aaron Rodgers brings when the two teams face off. Their last two playoff matchups have been some of the best playoff games ever played. With the news of Davante Adams, Allen Lazard, and Joe Barry (Green Bay’s defensive coordinator) all on the Reserve/COVID-19 list, Arizona cannot afford to take this team lightly.
Stepping up in replacement for the Packers are Randall Cobb and Amari Rodgers, two players in vastly different stages of their careers. Cobb has slowed down and isn’t what he once was, and Rodgers is in his rookie season out of Clemson.
That doesn’t mean these guys who are lower on the roster are anything to laugh at. Past games have seen Cobb have a solid day, and no-name guys like Jeff Janis finding ways to extend the game. Even former Packers tight end Jimmy Graham had a good day against Arizona in the 2018 matchup.
Aaron Rodgers has a 2-2 record against Arizona in the regular season, and 0-2 in the playoffs for a total of 2-4. In those regular-season games, Rodgers is 81/134, 837 with seven passing touchdowns.
How does Aaron Rodgers elevate his backups, and how can the Arizona Cardinals stop the Green Bay Packers?
Whether it’s the pure skill by Rodgers or their scheme, the Packers have always been a team that’s been consistent on offense for basically the last 30 years, minus a few down seasons. The Packers have done a good job at staying balanced as possible- making their opposition respect the run or pass, depending on how one views it.
The improvisational skills of Rodgers are also undeniable here, as to how else would that hail mary have happened to Janis in the 2015 NFC Divisional playoff game? Throw in his film studying habits and his sound technique and you’ve got a recipe on how to be one of the best quarterbacks in the league for a long time.
When the Cardinals face off on Thursday night against Rodgers and the Packers, getting pressure is the one way to make him hate playing offense.
In the 2015 regular-season matchup, the Cardinals exploited the turnstiles that were known as Green Bay’s offensive linemen and recorded a whopping nine sacks in a huge 38-8 win over the Packers.
If that pass rush was considered good back then, then this current unit can be seen as elite. Rodgers also has a fiery personality and has been seen yelling at his own coaching staff mid-game. If the Cardinals can get that inner diva to come out on Thursday night, then the chances of them winning should shift in their favor.
No lead is safe against Rodgers, and if the game requires the Cardinals to score late they must hold onto the ball for as long as possible.