It was quite refreshing to see 1st downs, let alone points scored! That was the most fun watching a Packers game in quite some time…oh, wait – it was the Redskins. Yes many picked Washington to win (yes, as did I) but this was far from a quality opponent. Their record was 9-7 but the best team they beat was .500 and the combined record of opponents they beat was 58-86. Let’s focus on the positives shall we? The defense made key plays at key times, held an opponent under 20 points, and Davante Adams caught a pass…with his hands, it was incredible.
Aaron Rodgers still had an average game, for most quarterbacks, and a bad game for his standards. He missed too many throws early on which the Packers can’t afford if they want to beat Arizona Saturday night. Eddie Lacy is still out of shape and it’s killing this team because the best running back option is a decent backup (James Starks). This will definitely need to be addressed in the offseason, adding a new running back.
Let’s take a look at the Arizona Cardinals. It’s only been since December 27th since we last saw them and the final score resembled October 31st (working on my Dad jokes). But all kidding aside, Green Bay will look a bit different. First off they have confidence, legit confidence as heading into their first meeting the media was “too negative,” and that may have led to a bad mindset. Second, BJ Raji will be in the starting lineup and that’s a huge key in stopping the Cardinals’ running game beginning with David Johnson. David Bakhtiari and Sam Shields have a shot to return and that would completely give Arizona a larger challenge than the previous matchup.
Let’s take a look where Green Bay has the advantage – experience winning in the postseason. There’s something to be said for that, regardless of how bad the Packers are or how good Arizona is. Going by stats the Packers technically have a better pass rush than Arizona which is comforting in the sense that Arizona was 2nd in the NFL in point differential (+176) meaning their opponents were behind and needing to pass often. The fact the Packers possess (at least as good) a pass rush like Arizona is huge. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaannnnnnnnnnnndddddd the advantages stop there.
The Cardinals’ wide receiver corps is great with veteran Larry Fitzgerald leading the way with a great compliment on the outside with Michael Floyd, a big strong receiver from Notre Dame, and a perfect slot receiver (what Randall Cobb really is) with devastating speed and route running skills. Their head coach, Bruce Arians, may be the best coach in the NFL not named Bill Belicheck. With all of this I see the game being much closer than the 30-point blowout from 3+ weeks ago but the same result.
*If Green Bay does pull this out, there’s no reason not to believe (double negative?) this team shouldn’t win the Super Bowl, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.*