Back in Week 16, the Arizona Cardinals demolished the Green Bay Packers by a score of 38-8. The two teams meet again with much more at stake Saturday night on NBC in the Divisional round of the NFC playoffs.
For much of the year, Green Bay has struggled to produce much in the way of effective offense. The ground attack of Eddie Lacy and James Starks disappeared for weeks at a time, forcing the passing game to carry the load. While that normally wouldn’t present many issues for the Packers, the preseason loss of Jordy Nelson to a torn ACL along with injuries to Randall Cobb, Davante Adams, Ty Montgomery and James Jones limited the team’s effectiveness.
Limited Mens Tomas Tatar Jersey The Packers’ pass defense is one of the best in the league, but it clearly wasn’t a match for the Cardinals when these teams first faced off. Michael Floyd led all Arizona receivers with eight catches and 111 yards while John Brown and Larry Fitzgerald reeled in touchdowns.
Regular season games aren’t always an indicator of how the playoffs will go — the Patriots blew out the Jets 45-3 on Monday Night Football at the end of the 2010 campaign before losing to the Gang Green in January — but Arizona’s victory over Green Bay was exceptionally convincing.
Now that half of the AFC Championship has been set, we await the Saturday evening game to put either the Green Bay Packers or the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC Championship game. The Packers beat Washington convincingly in the Wild Card, but the Cardinals are touchdown favorites for good reason. At 13-3, the Cards have proven they’re one of the best, most well-rounded teams in the NFL, and they beat the Packers 38-8 during the regular season.
The Divisional round will conclude Sunday. The Patriots will play the winner between Pittsburgh Steelers and the Denver Broncos. The Steelers visit the No. 1 seed significantly ailing on offense. Wide receiver Antonio Browns is out after suffering a concussion on a vicious hit by Vontaze Burfict in the Wild Card, and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is still dealing with a shoulder injury.
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Before that game begins, the Seattle Seahawks will visit the Carolina Panthers in what may be the tightest matchup of the weekend. The Seahawks closed the regular season winning six of their last seven and are coming off a win in the bitter cold of Minnesota. They’re facing the only team as hot as they are in the NFC, however, and on the road once again. Russell Wilson vs. Cam Newton could be a duel for the ages.
Below is the complete schedule for the rest of the playoffs.