By Zach Walker
Green Bay Packers vs. Arizona Cardinals
Saturday – January 16 – 7:15 PM CT
University of Phoenix Stadium – Glendale, Arizona
Records Before the Game
Green Bay Packers (10-6, 5-3 away)
Arizona Cardinals (13-3, 6-2 home)
Who do the Cardinals need to shut down?
WR Randall Cobb – With Davante Adams likely missing the game with a sprained MCL, that’s one more option stripped from Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers, leaving his targets down to Richard Rodgers and Randall Cobb. Cobb only had three catches for 38 yards, but did get into the end zone in last week’s Wild Card game against the Washington Redskins. The Cardinals, even without Tyrann Mathieu, have the weapons to snuff the fire that could be lit by the Packers’ signal caller that looked like he returned to being his playoff dangerous self. The Packers are going to have to WORK to get theirs, because the Cardinals defense isn’t in the business of giving free space away.
Who on the Cardinals, needs to step up?
QB Carson Palmer – This is going to be Carson Palmer’s biggest game of his career. Palmer is 0-2 in playoff games and hasn’t been under center in a playoff game since 2010. Palmer can slay some career demons by gaining his first playoff win. But the way that he should go about it, is by not changing a single thing about his game. Palmer is one of the few quarterbacks that is still fun to watch, because of the downfield threats that he has, and an offense that wants to score fast and air it out. The Packers have some hawks on defense, that could give the Cards some fits, but they didn’t seem to factor in a few weeks ago when the Cardinals washed their hands of the Pack.
Which group will give the Cardinals fits?
The Packers Running Backs – The bowling ball is in full effect. Eddie Lacy is truly a throwback to old school, playoff football, and really the reason that the Packers won in Washington. James Starks really crushed it for them as well, in fact, the combo of Smash and Dash combined for 24 carries and 116 yards and a touchdown a piece. This is where the Cardinals need to concentrate their effort in stopping the Packers, because if the Packers can get the Cardinals keeping their eyes in the backfield, that’ll open up the quick passing game for Aaron Rodgers.
Which group will give the Packers fits?
The Cardinals Offensive Line – The Cardinals protect well, and they run the ball with authority, and that’s a winning recipe. David Johnson needs to reopen that can of whoop-ass that he unleashed on the league that carried me and so many others into the fantasy football playoffs. Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers didn’t have a great game about a month ago, and with a chance to advance to a NFC championship game, I don’t think Bruce Arians is going to have a preparation slip up.
What will it take for the Cardinals to win?
Trust that what the Cardinals did a few weeks ago, was a sampler of what they can do. The Cardinals aren’t likely to pull the Packers apart like they did, but they can, and I expect them to.
Prediction: Cardinals 38 – Packers 24