Packers, Cardinals Meet Again, This Time in NFC Divisional Playoffs
Three weeks ago, the Arizona Cardinals sacked Aaron Rodgers eight times and handed the Green Bay Packers a 38-8 loss.
Now, it's the playoffs and the Packers are coming off a 35-18 win over the Washington Redskins last weekend the Wild Card playoffs. The Cardinals had a bye last week and are a little bit of a different team on defense. Tyrann Mathieu, who didn't play against the Packers in Week 16, is out for the season and linebacker Alex Okafor and defensive lineman Cory Redding were recently put on injured reserve.
In that blowout win over the Packers, the Cardinals did everything right. Arizona's defense sacked Rodgers eight times, had one interception and returned two fumbles for touchdowns. Carson Palmer passed for 265 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. The Cardinals' run game also rushed for 121 yards as a team.
Green Bay was missing David Bakhtiari, who was not playing in his first of three games. Don Barclay started in his place. All game long, the Packers' offense couldn't get anything going because Rodgers was under constant pressure from the Cardinals' front four led by Calais Campbell, Dwight Freeney and Redding. Redding is out of the playoffs, as said earlier. But the Cardinals are still good up front with Campbell and Freeney.
In last week's game at Washington, it looked like Green Bay's offense got it's confidence back. The Packers overcame a 11-0 deficit to start the game and then scored the next 17 points to take a lead at halftime. After the Redskins scored first to begin the second half, Green Bay finished the game with 18 unanswered points. Rodgers had 210 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. In the passing game, Rodgers connected with Davante Adams and Randall Cobb on touchdowns and James Jones led the team in yards. Eddie Lacy and James Starks each had a rushing touchdown and helped the Packers go over 141 yards.
It is the playoffs and anything can happen. This game should be different than three weeks ago.
Saturday night, only Adams did not practice and he's been ruled out. However, Bakhtiari is probable along with fellow offensive lineman T.J. Lang and Josh Sitton. Mike Daniels, Jayrone Elliot, Datone Jones, Lacy, Mike Neal and Richard Rodgers are all probable as well. Quinten Rollins and Sam Shields are questionable. If Shields can clear final concussion protocol before Saturday's game, that would be a big boost for the Packers. Tight end Justin Perillo practiced in full and Andrew Quarless is out of Green Bay's game with Arizona. Losing Adams hurts, considering he was big last week. But the Packers still have weapons and Jared Abberderis has stepped up this season and Rodgers has said he trusts the former Wisconsin wideout.
Aside from losing Redding and Okafor, the Cardinals aren't that banged up. Markus Golden, Mike Iupati and Palmer are probable, while Josh Mauro and Frostee Rucker are questionable for Saturday's game.
Arizona hosts Green Bay tomorrow night on NBC and right here on ESPN 99.1