Pro Football Playoff Matchup: Green Bay Packers at Arizona Cardinals (1/16)
Date: Saturday, January 16 – 8:15 PM ET
Site: University of Phoenix Stadium – Glendale, AZ
TV Coverage: NBC
Pro Football Playoff Odds from BetAnySports USA Sportsbook Online
(with reduced juice)
Pointspread: Cardinals -7 (-115) / Packers +7 (+105)
Total: Over 49.5 points (-108) / Under 49.5 points (-102)
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The Green Bay Packers seemed to come to life a little against the Washington Redskins last week, scoring on five straight possessions during one stretch and rolling to a 35-18 victory. Does that mean anything in terms of how they are going to do this week against the Arizona Cardinals? We’ll have to find out about that. A lot may depend on whether you truly believe they have “righted” themselves after that performance outside the nation’s capital. They are making a quick return to University of Phoenix Stadium, having played there on December 27, and not well, we might add, as they managed just 178 yards in a 38-8 defeat.
Against the Arizona pass rush, Aaron Rodgers was dead meat. He was sacked eight times, but it must be explained that his left tackle, David Bakhtiari, was out with an injury. Bakhtiari was back on the practice field this week, so he should be able to go. The same cannot be said of third receiver Davante Adams, who will not be available. This will leave Rodgers with fewer alternatives. Last week, he was putting Randall Cobb in the backfield sometimes, and the ground game also responded with Eddie Lacy and James Starks.
Arizona (13-3 SU, 9-7 ATS) is well-rested off a bye week, and they had a chance to gain home field advantage in the NFC going into the final week. They come with explosive offense, as four different wide receivers can do serious damage, led by Larry Fitzgerald and his 109 catches (a new team record). BetAnySports customers should be aware that Green Bay has some inexperienced people in the secondary, like cornerbacks Damarious Randall and Quentin Rollins, so that is a potential trouble spot for the Packers.
The Cardinals have gained more yards on a per-drive basis than any team in the National Football League. When a team can convert at a 47% rate on third down, they can take pressure off their defense by keeping the chains moving. And that defense has intercepted 19 passes, although Tyrann Mathieu, the All-Pro safety, is out with a torn ACL. Dwight Freeney, who was picked off the scrap heap, has led the Cards in sacks, and he had three of them in the first Arizona-Green Bay meeting. As the Packers look to establish a running game, the Cards like to think they can slow it down, as they have permitted four yards a carry only once in the last seven games.
The catalyst for the Arizona attack is former Heisman Trophy winner Carson Palmer, who has thrown for 4671 yards and 35 touchdowns. But Palmer has never won a playoff game, and it has to be mentioned that four quarterbacks who were making their first playoff start went down to defeat. Rodgers is an old hand (though he is younger than Palmer) and knows how to improvise, but potential Packer backers have to be at least somewhat concerned that he did not put up very impressive numbers, even in an impressive victory. Can he get the job done even with a short-handed receiver group?
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