The Green Bay Packers and Arizona Cardinals face off in the NFC divisional round. This will be the second matchup between these two squads this season. The winner of this game will either travel to Carolina to face the Panthers or host the Seahawks in the NFC Championship Game.

Green Bay Packers

It wasn't pretty, but the Packers made the playoffs as a wild card team. They lost the NFC North to the Minnesota Vikings, but a win last week over the Washington Redskins has them just two wins away from a Super Bowl appearance.

The key for a Packers victory is going to be slowing down the high passing assault of the Arizona Cardinals. Last time these two teams met, in Week 16, the Cardinals were victorious, 38-8. The Packers defense had no answer for Michael Floyd, who had 111 receiving yards.

Aaron Rodgers is a terrific quarterback, but his receivers simply aren't getting open at a high enough rate. The majority of sacks against Rodgers this year are coverage sacks in which the offensive line can't block for long enough. The season ending injury to Jordy Nelson has taken its toll. It's time for Richard Rodgers and others to start getting open.

If the Packers run game can get going, we may have a really good game here. The Packers may resort to slowing things down in order to control the clock and keep Carson Palmer off the field. Still, that's easier said than done. Eddie Lacy and James Starks should be sharing snaps.

Arizona Cardinals

Everything is going the Cardinals' way. They have home-field advantage for the Divisonal round, they got to rest last week, and now it's time to take care of business. As mentioned earlier, the Cardinals destroyed the Packers by 30 points at home a few weeks ago. A loss on Saturday would be extremely disappointing.

Palmer threw a career high 35 touchdown passes this season, and let's not forget he did lead the NFL in QBR. As good as Palmer has played this season, we must keep in mind he has never won a playoff game in his career. Palmer has only played in two playoff games in his career, both of which came with the Cincinnati Bengals.

Larry Fitzgerald set a career high in catches this season with 109 grabs. It's going to be very difficult for the Packers secondary to double team Fitzgerald considering the great depth the Cardinals have at this position. Michael Floyd is providing a great deep threat, and John Brown was the most underrated receiver this year, posting more than 1,000 yards on the season.

Running back David Johnson could be the X factor in this game. If Johnson continues to run hard, the Packers defense is going to be in for a long day.


The Packers and Cardinals will play each other on Saturday night at 8:15 p.m. ET on NBC. The game will be played at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.


This could be much closer than the Week 16 game when we saw the Cardinals win by 30. The Packers defense is an underrated unit, and they should give the Cardinals a better match then we saw last time. Palmer will be under a lot of pressure to win his first playoff game, but eventually he will connect on a few deep throws as the Cardinals pull away late.

Cardinals win, 27-20

 Follow Damon Salvadore on Twitter @DamonSalvadore1