Dec 27, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) reacts against the Green Bay Packers at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
For the upcoming Packers vs Cardinals NFL Playoff game, the staff writing team of The Jet Press weighed in their thoughts.
Even though the NY Jets are out of the NFL Playoffs, we here at The Jet Press are just as excited as many football fans are for the postseason. With teams heading into the Divisional Round weekend, this promises to be another exciting round of playoff football.
The Packers head to Arizona to face the Cardinals in what should be a marquee match-up. There’s always something about quarterback Aaron Rodgers that makes him rise to the occasion when it comes to the playoffs but a tough test awaits on the road as the Cardinals are playing some incredible football. This should be a great game with two teams playing for everything as they try to leave victorious.
Here are some predictions by the staff writing team of The Jet Press for what should be an exciting game between the Packers and Cardinals.
Next: Cardinals are a team on a mission
Jan 3, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians looks on during the second half against the Seattle Seahawks at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
While the Packers have a real test ahead of them, I just don’t think they match up well against a powerhouse of a team in the Cardinals. Truth of the matter is, the Cardinals are playing complete and close to perfect football as it comes. They have everything in place to make a serious run this postseason.
Quarterback Carson Palmer is healthy and playing some of the best football of his career as he’s a man determined to not only execute in the playoffs but finally earn a Super Bowl championship. This is one dangerous team that will prove to be too much to handle for the Packers.
Cardinals win 35, 17
Next: Cardinals too much to handle
Jan 3, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Cardinals too much to handle Jason Rodriguez: Twitter
The Packers vs Cardinals match-up I think will be a good game but the Cardinals will be too much to handle. They are a complete football team on both sides of the ball that can be a nightmare to opposing teams. Palmer will need to have the best game of his life in order for the team to advance.
Rodgers will need to play like he did in the second half of the game against the Washington Redskins where he was dominate. If he doesn’t play with that same mentality, it will be a long game for sure and he will be running around like he did just two weeks ago when they faced each other. It will be a test in how Rodgers will play this week because he has struggled a lot this year because of Jordy Nelson being out for the year.
The Cardinals will need to mix up the play calling more than they did the last time. Running back David Johnson will be a game changer this week in giving a problem to the Packers’ defense. The Packers will look to seek revenge from the embarrassing loss they suffered by the Cardinals in Week 16. It will be a close game in the beginning but the Cardinals’ defense will force Rodgers to make mistakes and it will cost the Packers in the end.
Next: Easy win for Cardinals
Dec 27, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson (31) carries the ball after a catch in the first half against the Green Bay Packers at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
The last time these two teams played in Week 16, it was hard to watch. The Cardinals’ defense absolutely took care of business: it picked off Rodgers in the end zone and sacked him nine times (two of which were coughed up and returned for touchdowns). Additionally, the Cardinals more than doubled the Packers’ total net yard production (381 to 187, respectively). Arizona’s red zone efficiency was at 75%. Green Bay’s? 0%.
It’s true that Rodgers and Eddie Lacy are coming off their best efforts in quite some time; however, the Redskins are nowhere near comparable to the Cardinals. With that being said, even the ‘Skins were able to sack Rodgers in his own end zone for a safety last week.
Based on this information, the Packers will absolutely be no match for the Arizona Cardinals. I am choosing the Cardinals over the Packers in this one.
Next: Rodgers wins the day
Jan 10, 2016; Landover, MD, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) prepares to throw the ball during the first half in a NFC Wild Card playoff football game against the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Rodgers wins the day Christopher Stephano: Twitter
The Packers took a huge step towards reestablishing their legitimacy as an NFC powerhouse last Sunday, as they pummeled the Redskins 35-18. However, the Packers face a significantly greater challenge this week as they travel to Arizona to take on the Cardinals.
The Cardinals have a top ten defense, a playoff-tested quarterback and potent play makers on the offensive side of the ball (Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd). The Packers have Aaron Rodgers and an offense that finally appears to be rolling again.
The game should be a tightly contested shoot out in the desert, but expect Rodgers to win the day and pull off the upset.
Final: Packers 34, Cardinals 31
Next: Don't get too excited for Packers
Dec 27, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals wide receiver John Brown (12) celebrates with teammates Larry Fitzgerald (11) and Jaron Brown (13) after scoring a touchdown in the second quarter against the Green Bay Packers at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Don’t get too excited for Packers Todd Gerstenhaber: Twitter
In Week 16, the Packers were utterly obliterated by what appeared to be a juggernaut team in the Arizona Cardinals. Then, the Cardinals were outplayed by their divisional rival in the Seattle Seahawks, who then looked ordinary against the Vikings. You have to love NFL parity…
As Stephen A Smith likes to say, that “baaaaaadddd man” Rodgers seemed to be back last weekend. You saw his signature smile, saw his face in commercials during timeouts and all seemed right with the world again.
I say let’s hold off on our discount double check celebrations. Sure, the Packers looked good against the Redskins – another team that probably wasn’t ready for the playoffs, but don’t think the Cardinals and Bruce Arians won’t have a gameplan set up to give Rodgers fits yet again.
Score: Cardinals 35, Packers 24
Next: Cardinals win big
Jan 3, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald dives into the end zone for a touchdown in the second quarter against the Seattle Seahawks at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
We have a series of rematches starting Saturday night with the Packers and Cardinals. I’m not buying into Green Bay, it has to be more than Rodgers and unfortunately the result earlier this season will be the same. The Cardinals are simply too good in too many areas.
Cardinals win big 41-19.
Next: Palmer is a man on a mission
Dec 27, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) waves the the crowd after beating the Green Bay Packers 38-8 at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
Palmer is a man on a mission Ryan Patti: Twitter
These two teams met in Week 16 and the Packers were absolutely obliterated 38-8. The Cardinals tallied nine sacks and returned two strip-sacks for touchdowns. Green Bay’s offensive line and run game have simply been a mess this season, but could last week’s win over the Redskins be signs of life?
The Packers took it to Washington in Landover 35-18. Rodgers moved the chains consistently and the defense strung together a tremendous second half. The only issue is that Bruce Arians and the Cardinals are on a completely different level than the Skins. Arizona is arguably the best team in football, even without Tyrann Mathieu on the field.
Overall, you can expect the Cardinals to take care of the Packers relatively easily. It won’t be like the Week 16 matchup, but Green Bay can fall behind pretty quickly if they don’t get off to a hot start. Arizona is not a team you can mount a huge comeback against and Palmer is on a mission since his 2014 season came to an abrupt end.
Prediction: Cardinals 34-23
Next: Cardinals rout Packers
Dec 10, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Michael Floyd (15) celebrates a touchdown with wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald in the second half against the Minnesota Vikings at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Vikings 23-20. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Cardinals rout Packers Mark Kelly: Twitter
Certain teams you know it’s just their time, and for the Arizona Cardinals after seeing how they have made their way through the 2015 season, it’s hard to believe that the ride will end short of the NFC Championship Game. However, the Packers certainly seem to have gotten over their struggles of the last few weeks of the season with the offensive output we saw in Washington.
While the Cardinals and their fans are ready, one thing that might make me a little uneasy is the way the Cardinals walked all over the Packers a few weeks ago, sacking Rogers nine times in a 38-8 laughter. We have seen in the past how getting blown out before a playoff meeting has helped the other team (like the Jets in 2010 after losing 45-3 to New England upset them 28-21 in the Divisional Round) and with the threat Rogers and the Packers’ offense has shown itself to be, that is one thing that worries me.
However, in the end, much like when Green Bay went to Candlestick in the 2012 Divisional Round and lost 45-31 to a destined 49ers team, I think the same will happen to the 2015 Packers. Quick Note: The last time these two teams met in the postseason they played one of the best games ever with Arizona winning 51-45 in overtime on a defensive touchdown by Karlos Dansby.
This will be the 19th time in playoff history that a team has faced a playoff opponent they lost to by 30+ points during the regular season. Those teams are 7-11 overall (the 2010 Jets win over New England was the last time a team avenged their loss).
Cardinals win 45-24.
Next: Cardinals will shut Rodgers down
Dec 27, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals inside linebacker Kenny Demens (54) sacks Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) and strips the ball during the second half at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
Cardinals will shut Rodgers down Mike Valverde: Twitter
This game will come down to how well Rodgers can play. He might have gotten away with it against Washington, but Arizona shuts him down and the Cardinals win 23-13.
Next: Cardinals guaranteed to win
Dec 27, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) calls signals against the Green Bay Packers during the second half at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cardinals won 38-8. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Cardinals guaranteed to win Paul Harris: Twitter
It’s hard to pick against Rodgers in playoffs or really ever, but this time it looks like the only option. Arizona has something special going right now on offense and defense that has only really been exploited by the Seahawks. We saw this matchup less than a month ago and it wasn’t even close as the Cardinals won 38-8.
Since then, nothing much has changed for the cheese heads. They lost Week 17 to the Vikings with the division title on the line but bounced back in a blowout against the Redskins. The 13-3 Cardinals will not go out in the first go around this year in the playoffs and that’s a guarantee. The defense will frustrate Rodgers once again and force him to crumble.
Cardinals win 40-24.
Next: Fly with the Cardinals
Dec 6, 2015; St. Louis, MO, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Drew Stanton (5) attempts a pass against the St. Louis Rams during the first half at the Edward Jones Dome. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Fly with the Cardinals Steven Blush: Twitter
Green Bay have no former Jets in their organization, which may be one of their keys to success. Head coach Todd Bowles’ former employers in Arizona only include backup quarterback Drew Stanton, a Jet for eight days in March 2012 during the Tim Tebow fiasco, so fly with the Cardinals.
Next: Cardinals are too stacked with talent
Sep 27, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) celebrates a touchdown against the San Francisco 49ers during the second half at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cardinals won 47-7. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
The last time we saw the Packers and Cardinals was in Week 16 when Arizona blew out the cheese heads 38-8. If the Packers’ offense doesn’t pick up their play in the first half, we could see a replay of Week 16.
Last week the Packers looked like a struggling team in the first half of the game against the Redskins. However in the second half, Rodgers and the Packers pulled it together for the win.
The Cardinals are the No. 2 team in the league falling second to the Carolina Panthers in many statistics. Arizona’s offense ranks 1st against opposing defenses which will give the Packers a run for their money.
With players like Johnson, Fitzgerald and Floyd, Palmer is going to have a field day against a mediocre defense. The Cardinals are stacked, and I think they are going to take this game.