Packers, Cardinals Could Half-Ass It on Sunday

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It's possible we might be paying more attention to this than the action on the field.

Although Green Bay Packers’ coach Mike McCarthy and Arizona Cardinals’ coach Ken Whisenhunt didn’t tip their hands about this weekend’s matchup, it doesn’t look like either team will be unleashing their full arsenal, since the two teams will likely meet again the following week in the playoffs.

McCarthy, however, spoke to the importance of continuing the Packers’ momentum.

“Every game plan that you have going into a game, you don’t run every one of your plays. I think any NFL football team in all three phases could play a doubleheader from a game-planning standpoint if they needed to. I’m not worried about showing anything. You play football games to win games, and that’s not going to change,” he said.

“Momentum is a benefit. That’s obvious. We have a lot of momentum the second half of the season, so you want to keep that going. The health of your football team is really the one aspect you can’t control. Now, you can lessen the risk factor of injury by trying to save a certain individual, and I’m aware of all that. We’ve talked about all those different options and so forth, and those are things you look at and we’ll do what’s in the best interests of our football team.”

Whisenhunt seemed to indicate that the Cardinals game plan and the amount of time their starters played would depend on events leading up to the game. There’s a small chance the Cardinals could improve their seeding. For that to happen, the Vikings would have to lose to the Giants, Dallas would have to beat Philadelphia and the Cardinals would have to beat the Packers, in which case the Cardinals would own the second seed.

“We’ll go ahead and plan and prepare like we’re playing Green Bay (this weekend) for a game of significance,” Whisenhunt said. “If that changes, at least we’ve gotten a good week of preparation in because there is chance we could play a Saturday game (in the first round).”

A hard-fought game would be good for both teams entering the playoffs, but if the game gets out of hand one way or the other look for the junior varsity to take over. There’s no sense risking injuries to starters in an essentially meaningless game.

However, it’s clear both teams want to stay sharp and that will likely factor into the overall game plan as much as concerns about injuries and familiarity.

Remember the end of the 2007 season, when the New York Giants played the New England Patriots. The Patriots were playing for perfection. The Giants, who knew they were going to be a wild card, weren’t playing for anything. Still, the Giants played tough and kept their starters in until the end. The Giants lost 38-35, but it was ultimately a game that gave them the confidence to win three playoff games on the road and beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl.

The Giants entered the playoffs hitting on all cylinders and only made minor adjustments to their game plan when they faced the Patriots for the title.

That isn’t to suggest either the Cardinals or Packers are going on a Super Bowl run based solely on Sunday’s game, but there’s certainly something to be said for playing your A team and playing well in the final week of the regular season.

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About The Author

Monty McMahon is one of the founders of Total Packers. He is probably the most famous graduate of UW-Oshkosh next to Jim Gantner.

13 Comments on "Packers, Cardinals Could Half-Ass It on Sunday"

  1. Gig

    Has nobody read the rule change from either last year or the year before??? Evidently NO ONE has. If the Pack has a better record than the Cards, WE get home field!! Why is everyone missing this?? Go to NFL.com and read the rules for home field in wildcard games!!! This game is extremely important for the Packers, make the sun loving Cardinals play in Green Bay! HELLO, MCCARTHY!!!

  2. I agree – the run that the Giants made in 07 should have obliterated the concept of taking games off before the playoffs. Play to win every week.

  3. S

    I don’t think we get home field if we win. I have read about a thousand different scenarios and none of them wind up with AZ going to Greenbay. You would think some one would have mentioned that if it were a possibility. I mean I am no expert but I thought the wild card teams went to the division winner’s field. It would be nice if AZ has to go to WI though :-)

  4. Stephen Glyn Grange

    Wild card vs. Division Champion You come here to AZ, We don’t do cold weather LOL. Let’s hope both teams stay healthy!!

  5. Gig

    And here is the link!!! Cards will freeze in Green Bay if GB wins Sunday……

    http://www.nfl.com/standings/tiebreakingprocedures

    # To determine home-field priority for Wild-Card qualifiers, apply division tie breakers (if teams are from the same division) or Wild-Card tie breakers (if teams are from different divisions).

    TO BREAK A TIE FOR THE WILD-CARD TEAM

    If it is necessary to break ties to determine the two Wild-Card clubs from each conference, the following steps will be taken.

    1. If the tied clubs are from the same division, apply division tie breaker.
    2. If the tied clubs are from different divisions, apply the following steps.

    Two Clubs

    1. Head-to-head, if applicable.

    ect ect ect …. SEE!!!!!

  6. Gig you are an idiot! You are going to be a wildcard team and the Cardinals are Div winners,I don’t care what your record is,NO wildcard gets homefield over a Div winner

  7. Gig

    Read the rules and weep! Rules changed last year. You will start hearing about it now because people on ESPN finally figured it out… And Tony, you shouldn’t be so quick to call someone an idiot, now you get to be the idiot!

  8. Jeremy

    Two wild card teams can only play in the Division Championship, or the Superbowl were there is no homefield.

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