The Arizona Cardinals and Green Bay Packers meet Saturday night in Glendale in the first of two NFC Divisional Playoff games this weekend. These teams played each other during the season in Week 13, which Arizona won 38-8. Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers was tormented by the Cardinals defense all game long, which sacked the former MVP nine times. The Arizona defense also returned two forced fumbles to the end zone in the second half to put a stamp on the victory. This is the third time these two franchises will meet in the postseason. The last time they went head-to-head was in 2010, when the Cardinals were able to escape with a 51-45 overtime victory in the NFC Wild Card. Green Bay, however, leads the all-time series 45-24-4.
Last week, the Packers were able to overcome a slow start to defeat the Washington Redskins, 35-18, in the NFC Wild Card. Green Bay was able to end the game on an 18-0 run, in which the rushing attack -- led by Eddie Lacy and James Starks -- was able to take over. The two combined for 116 yards and 2 touchdowns on the ground. The Packers expect to have some more stability on their offensive line in this game, marked by the likely return of left tackle David Bakhtiari. However, wide receiver Davante Adams, who had a crucial touchdown reception against the Redskins, will be out due to an ankle injury.
On the Cardinals side, the team is led by quarterback Carson Palmer, who was the catalyst to a record-breaking offense. Arizona won the NFC West for the first time since 2009, with a franchise record 13 wins. The Cardinals scored a team-record 489 points and led the NFL in total offense, averaging more than 408 yards per game. The team has won 10 or more games in all three seasons since Bruce Arians was named head coach. The Cardinals had seven players named to the Pro Bowl, but the team's biggest spark plug is arguably rookie running back David Johnson, who led all NFL rookies with 13 touchdowns. The wide receiver trio of Larry Fitzgerald, John Brown and Michael Floyd has contributed more than 3,000 yards receiving and 22 touchdowns this year. The Cardinals defense has also been staunch, despite the loss of Pro Bowl safety Tyrann Mathieu. Cornerback Patrick Peterson, who has, at least, two interceptions for the fifth straight season, leads a talented secondary, flanked by Rashad Johnson, Jerraud Powers, and special teams standout Justin Bethel. The Cardinals defense had 33 takeaways this year, second-most in the NFL.
Game Time: 8:15 p.m. ET
Announcers: Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth.
Radio: Westwood One: Kevin Kugler, James Lofton, Mark Malone (Field reporter). SIRIUS: 88 (WW1), 83 (GB), 82 (Ari). XM: 88 (WW1), 226 (GB), 83 (Ari).
Odds: Cardinals -7
Packers blog: Acme Packing Company
Cardinals blog: Revenge of the Birds
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