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Predictions: Green Bay Packers at Arizona Cardinals

Clay Matthews helping Carson Palmer up

Shawn (12-5, 12-5 ATS) — Three weeks ago, the Arizona Cardinals completely outclassed the Green Bay Packers in beating them 38-8. You’d have to be living under a rock to not have heard that about 100 times this week.

Fourteen of those 38 points were thanks to sack fumbles given up by Don Barclay, who the Packers idiotically thought could play left tackle. The Cardinals will be without their defensive MVP this time around. That alone should make this a better game.

The Cardinals remain a difficult match-up for the Packers because they have an aggressive defense that will gladly match up with the Packers’ receivers and stack the box against the run. At the same time, offensively, they can both run and throw the ball, which makes it difficult for any defense to keep them down for long.

The Packers are solid against the pass. They gave up too many big plays the first time around and will need to limit those, but if they could actually stop the run and force Carson Palmer to repeatedly throw the ball, they have a chance to be successful.

I don’t think there are any secrets here. The key to the game is Carson Palmer. The Cardinals match up well against the Packers at every position but quarterback. Palmer has had a better season than Aaron Rodgers this year. However, Rodgers has two MVPs and is generally considered the best quarterback not named Brady in the league. Palmer has mostly underachieved since being drafted as the overall No. 1.

Palmer is not a mobile quarterback and he has been known to play poorly when facing a strong rush. If the Packers can get after Palmer, they have a chance stymie the Cardinals. However, if they don’t stop the run first, they won’t get that chance. David Johnson pretty much ate the Packers up the last time they played. The Packers will have to slow him down enough to encourage the Cardinals to pass.

At the same time, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense has to do enough to take advantage of whatever the defense gives them. As I said, I expect the Cardinals to stack the box and press the receivers. With that being the case, the Packers’ receivers and Rodgers will HAVE to make some plays. They need to convert some third downs and keep the defense off the field.

If the defense has to keep going right back onto the field, it is only a matter of time.

The Packers have to control Johnson, get after Palmer and Aaron Rodgers has to have a good game. If those three things happen, then the Packers can return to the NFC Championship, which might even be at Lambeau Field.

There are plenty of reasons to doubt, but I am going with the Packers pulling it out. The defense will sack Palmer even more times than they did Cousins, and Rodgers will keep his mojo.

Packers 27, Cardinals 23

Carson Palmer

Monty (10-7, 10-7 ATS) — This game comes down to one thing for me.

Pressure.

If the Green Bay Packers can pressure (and sack) Carson Palmer, they’ve got a decent chance of winning, so long as they can keep Aaron Rodgers clean. Neither of those things happened the last time these two teams met.

The Packers couldn’t stop the run, so they couldn’t tee off on Palmer. They also couldn’t keep Rodgers from running for his life on every play.

You know the result.

I expect this game to be different. How different is the question.

Two recent Packers’ playoff games come to mind when I think of this one.

First, there was the game in Atlanta following the 2010 season. The Packers travelled to face the No. 1 seed and a team that had beaten them in the regular season. They blew those pretenders right out of their own building.

The main similarity I see is that I’ve never thought much of that dopey bastard Matt Ryan and I don’t think much of Carson Palmer, the Cardinals’ quarterback, either. Don’t get me wrong. I think Palmer is actually a much better quarterback than Ryan, but I don’t think he has the mettle to win in the playoffs.

And that’s an advantage for the Packers.

Second, there was the Wild Card game following the 2013 season. The Packers got the San Francisco 49ers, their tormentor, at home. We all knew the Packers were outclassed by those 49ers, but they went out and turned in a game effort and lost by just three points, 23-20.

That was a heart-breaking loss, but one we all expected. The 49ers were the better team by a pretty wide margin.

So where does this one come down?

Unfortunately, I think it comes down on the latter side.

The spread here is seven. That’s stupid. The Packers are going to make this a competitive game, so if you’re wagering, then you should definitely go with Green Bay.

I just don’t think the Packers have the talent to keep up with the Cardinals.

A win isn’t out of the question. I’m just not drinking the Kool-Aid right now.

Cardinals 24, Packers 20

Tags:
Shawn

Shawn Neuser attended UWGB and lives and works in Green Bay. He enjoys long walks on the beach and being intimate with game film.

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28 Comments

  1. Big Gay Clay January 16, 2016

    It’s game day baby! Let’s get it!!!!

  2. Dave The Lions Fan January 16, 2016

    The season ends today for the Slackers.

    CHOKE PACK CHOKE!

    1. Arcturus January 16, 2016

      I am sure you are too stupid to notice how foolish you look dogging a team still playing after having won a playoff game while your own losing team was finished by early December. You are much like the Lions- perpetually a juvenile, with no goals other than fleeting glimpses of unattainable success.

    2. ferris January 16, 2016

      There he is the KING idiot on the internet Dave. Must be fun hoping a team loses rather than see your team win. We don’t know what that is like as Green Bay fans.

    3. Brad January 16, 2016

      We must all feel sorry for Dave. The agony of being a Lions fan must be terrible. I’m trying to remember how their season went, or why they missed the playoffs but I can’t, it must be because the are, and always will be, irrelevant ;)

  3. Ay hombre January 16, 2016

    How does a team choke as touchdown underdogs asshole? Maybe look up the meaning of the word choke and then come back and try again.

  4. Kato January 16, 2016

    If the packers offense can be effective running the ball, utilize short passing game emphasizing getting the ball out of Rodgers hands quickly, throw in some screens to slow the pass rush, and play defense, the packers will be in a position to win this game. Big if

  5. Packsacker January 16, 2016

    Cards Mathieu didn’t play last time either. His replacement turned the game with an end zone pick

    1. Shawn January 16, 2016

      I was referring to Don Barclay as their MVP.

  6. Tequila January 16, 2016

    Kill Palmer and we win.

    1. ferris January 16, 2016

      Palmer has never won a playoff game. Pressure.

  7. icebowl January 16, 2016

    My Kool-Aid stained calc sheet says :

    Pack headed to Santa Clara for rematch of SB-one
    versus KC…. However, without getting way ahead of myself –

    Pack wins in OT squeaker – 23-21 ….

    ….. To play host to Cheathawks in Lambeau next Sunday ….

    1. Big Gay Clay January 16, 2016

      So we are going to win on a safety?

      1. icebowl January 16, 2016

        Good catch BGC – let’s say 24-21

    2. ferris January 16, 2016

      Speaking of Seattle they are getting like 8-8.5 points. Wish I was in Vegas. Even if I hate them they should not be 8 point dogs.

  8. Andy Pants January 16, 2016

    I’m hoping the Packers win on an overtime, blatant, but un-flagged, facemask-strip-sack fumble recovery TD.

    1. TyKo Steamboat January 16, 2016

      HAHAHAHAHAHA. Me too, bro!

  9. Jschizl January 16, 2016

    Just so everyone knows lions game don’t actually count as football fans. So their opinion doesn’t matter. How many of us go to the lions and Vikings sites. Unless of course to see a botched field goal. He is a closet packer fan. Welcome Dave let the force threw you. If you want to stay on a winners site after your season starts let me be the first to welcome you

  10. Jschizl January 16, 2016

    Fans sorry auto correct

  11. COOLBREZZE January 16, 2016

    If we convert 50% on 3rd down and are plus 2 on turnovers then there’s a chance for victory.

    GO. PACK

  12. vj January 16, 2016

    Has anybody been watching Carson Palmer play this season? Aaron has almost nobody to throw to and we beat a lousy division winner (Skins) in a game we were supposed to win. This one we’ll lose, not as big a margin as before, but lose non-the-less. I for one will be thankful either way, win or lose. If they play “Seattle” brand of football they can win. DO we have the personnel to do that? We’ll see tonight!

  13. cd4packers January 16, 2016

    Hi Dave, crawled out from under your rock huh? How come you weren’t here to eat crow and congratulate us on our victory?

  14. Howard January 16, 2016

    Agree about stopping Johnson And Palmer. To me there are two ways to help.
    1. Clay Matthews at OLB is a misuse of Packer assets. Clay needs to be in the middle of the field. A plus in stopping the run (sideline to sideline), getting pass pressure up the middle on delayed blitzes, and reducing the ability to isolate Johnson against Ryan or Thomas.
    2. Ryans play count should be reduced. Arizona is going to be drooling about Ryan and to a lesser degree Thomas isolated against Johnson. I would propose Burnett be the other ILB as much as possible. Burnett is good in run support and could be a better fit in coverage against Johnson. Palmer will dump the ball to Johnson without hesitation.

    Peppers, Perry, Neal and to a lesser degree Elliot are all capable of handling the edge against the run better than Clay. In addition they can apply QB pressure as well as Clay from the edge. Clays speed and football instinct are better utilized in the middle of the action. From that position Clay can make plays sideline to sideline, and to the QB by taking advantage of the entire Oline and any weakness they show. Start Fast, Finish Strong! GO PACK!!!

    1. Ted Hawthorne January 16, 2016

      Very smart suggestions, Howard. I like moving Burnet
      to ILB with Clay. But the key tonite could be Elliot.
      He’s the quickest rusher to the QB and has been
      misused all season. Prediction: Elliot gets 3 sacks
      and Packers advance to title game 23-21.

  15. PF4L January 16, 2016

    I predict that i will hope for the best, and prepare for the worst.

    1. TyKo Steamboat January 16, 2016

      What I always say… “Standards high, expectations low.”

  16. Howard January 16, 2016

    Maybe it is just wishful thinking, but I feel good about this game. Some hate it when the Pack lose or win close games, or get blown and look inept. It is frustrating as a fan.

    The positive is the Pack have been through about every adverse condition that is possible. Winning and losing on last second D and O plays, playing games with O tackles that should not be playing, receivers having to fight against press coverage, having to come back from large deficits, enduring multiple turnover and sack games, and enduring the pressure of having a injured O line and team. I say enduring stress and adverse conditions prepare a team for the sudden death games. I do not believe Arizona has been tested this season. If the Pack can come out fast, and or keep the game close into the 4th quarter the pressure is all on Arizona. How is Arizona going to react in there first game of the playoffs to pressure that they have not endured during the majority of the season. Finish Strong! GO PACK!!!

  17. Andy Pants January 16, 2016

    I thought for sure they were gonna strip sack/facemask Palmer FTW, but I was wrong. Alas… FIRE EVERYBODY AND THEIR MOTHER OH MY GOD THEYRE THE DUMBEST WORST EVA!!!!! AMIRITE!!!???