NFC Divisional Playoffs
(5) Packers at (2) Cardinals
Packers: Last week against the Redskins was the best I’ve seen them look pretty much all season. Yes, they won ten games and got off to a 6-0 start, but they just didn’t look like the Green Bay Packers that we’ve come to know. They looked sluggish at times in the beginning against Washington. The offensive line was getting beat up front, they couldn’t run it like they wanted too and what’s been the biggest issue looked to be happening again early on in Maryland and that’s the receivers not catching perfectly thrown passes and being able to get open down the field. They made adjustments and simply clicked. Without Jordy Nelson, they have to show more balance and that starts with running the football and running the ball opens up the passing game along with using Randall Cobb. This was definitely a complete team win and effort for them. One playoff game down and now they travel back to where they were embarrassed just a few weeks ago.
Cardinals: Let’s look at it like this: Without Carson Palmer, the Arizona Cardinals would NOT have a first-round bye, plain and simple. Before he got hurt last season, the Cardinals were 8-1 then he goes down. This is the most complete team remaining in the playoffs right now as we speak. They can do just about everything you want your football team to do. They run the ball consistently, they have a great offensive line and the passing attack is amongst one of the best in the league. On defense, they didn’t miss a beat after Todd Bowles left. Bruce Arians has done a terrific job with this football team and he’s become a top five head coach in the game today. With a win on Saturday night, the Cardinals will be in the NFC Title Game for the first time since 09, the year they last made the Super Bowl.
Prediction: When they last met, a first round bye was on the line and everything went right for the Cardinals. They simply destroyed the Packers. Held them to eight points and they sacked Aaron Rodgers nine times. It’s key for the Cardinals to pressure Rodgers and keep him from moving the pocket on the edge along with simply playing the football that’s got you in this position. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. When the Packers play how they did the last week in Maryland, they will win and dominate. The pass protection needs to be better this time and defensively, they have to pressure Palmer up the middle to get to him. I like the Cardinals in this one. Cardinals 35 Packers 27