Liev Jackson Picks: Green Bay Heads to Arizona for one of the Marquee Matchups of the Divisional Round
Friday, January 15, 2016
by Liev Jackson

Liev Jackson Picks: Green Bay Heads to Arizona for one of the Marquee Matchups of the Divisional Round

Green Bay Packers vs. Arizona Cardinals

Packers: 11-6 SU,10-7 ATS
Cardinals: 13-3 SU,9-7 ATS
When:
8:15 PM ET, Saturday, January 16, 2016
Where: University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Arizona
TV: NBC

Aaron Rodgers vs. Carson Palmer… two of the absolute best at their craft leading their teams just two wins away from a trip to the Super Bowl sure sounds like must see TV.

It’s been an uneven season for Green Bay who started so strongly scoring points with ease in running out to a 6-0 start that included wins over two of the eight teams playing this weekend (the Seahawks and Chiefs).

But a 4-6 finish to the season –and they were lucky to get that fourth win- means this team has more questions than almost any other at this point in the season.

Their biggest problem has been at wide receiver where #1 option Jordy Nelson was lost for the season in training camp and the replacements haven’t been able to assume that bigger role with consistency.

The running game led by Eddie Lacy has also been up and down. He had some great weeks and some so poor that it led to being benched the following week.

At the same time this is a playoff tested team and the players they are relying on to get the job done – namely Rodgers, Lacy, WR Randall Cobb, WR James Jones and WR Davante Adams all have a proven recent track record of coming through when it really counts.

Consider these recent playoff stats:

  • Rodgers: In 12 career starts he has 3193 yards, 25TDs and 7 INTs and a QB rating of 100.3. He’s 7-5 overall in his career
  • Lacy: Last year had 174 yards on 40 carries (4.4 Avg.) and last week went 12-63-1 with a 5.3 Avg.
  • Cobb: Last year he went 15-178-1 in two games and last week he caught a touchdown, although he only had three catches on eight targets
  • Jones: In 2012 he went 8-138-1 and in 2010 11-144-2. Last week he went 7-81
  • Adams: In two games last year he went 8-124-1 and last week caught all four balls targeted to him and had a key touchdown

The defence has been much better than the offence for most of the season and even as the team slumped to that 4-6 record they gave up 20.2 P/G on the whole and 22.2 P/G during the streak.

But no doubt one huge red flag that will stand out when evaluating the Packers against the Cardinals is that these teams already faced off this season and that game was the second last of the regular season.

It was a game with a lot on the line for both teams as a win would have clinched the division for the Packers while the Cards were still playing for home field advantage throughout the playoffs. In that game Arizona played their most complete game of the year and exposed Green Bay on both sides of the ball en route to a 38-8 victory.

The Cardinals outgained the Packers 381-178 as Rodgers threw for just 151 yards to go with 1 touchdown, 1 interception and was sacked 8 times.

The teams were scoreless after one quarter but it was 17-0 at the half and 31-0 before Green Bay sniffed the end zone.

It was the cherry on top of the most successful regular season in Cardinals long and tortured history. Their 13 wins was a team record and they did it with one of the most balanced teams in the league.

Palmer will probably finish second in MVP voting, the offence was #1 in total yards, #2 in passing yards, #8 in rushing yards and #2 in scoring.

The defence finished #7 in points allowed, fifth in yards allowed, eighth is passing yards allowed and sixth in rushing yards.

The biggest question marks for Arizona would be a poor playoff track record, minus the one season where they were a surprise Super Bowl finalist in 2008 and their last game of the season against the Seahawks was a big letdown as they lost at home 36-6.

In stark contrast to the Packers, here are some key playoff stats of Arizona’s key players:

  • Palmer:  0-2 all-time record, but in truth he has just one start where we threw more than one pass and that was seven years ago when he was on the Bengals
  • RB David Johnson: Playing his first playoff game
  • WR Larry Fitzgerald:  was dominant in 2008 and 2009 with 42-715-9 in 6 games, but since then just one playoff appearance in 2014 with 3-31-0
  • WR John Brown: 1 game, 4-34-0
  • WR Michael Floyd: 1 game, 1-(-12)-0

On the injury front Green Bay will be likely be without CB Sam Shields (concussion) and WR Adams (knee) and Nelson.

Arizona is without S Tyrann Mathieu, RB Chris Johnson, LB Alex Okafor, DE Cory Redding, and LB Lamar Woodley

Bovada has the Arizona favorites at 7-point favorites and the total sitting at 50 according to MyBookie.ag

On the NFL Football Moneyline Odds at BetOnline Arizona are the Favorite at -340.

Green Bay Packers vs. Arizona Cardinals Odds & Betting Lines

Gm# Team
Opener
103 Green Bay
50
104 Arizona
-7
  Moneyline
+250/-315

Live NFL Playoffs Odds & Scores - Click here

Last time out for Arizona, they were a 36-6 loser as they battled the Seahawks at home. The Cardinals failed to cover in the match as a -6-point favorite, while 42 combined points moved the game UNDER for totals bettors.

Last time out for Green Bay, they were a 35-18 winner as they battled the Redskins on the road. The Packers covered in the match as a +2-point underdog, while 53 combined points moved the game OVER for totals bettors.

Green Bay Packers vs. Arizona Cardinals NFL Betting Odds & Trends

Green Bay:
Green Bay is 4-2 ATS in its last 6 games
Green Bay is 17-8 SU in its last 25 games
The total has gone UNDER in 10 of Green Bay's last 14 games

Arizona:
Arizona is 9-1 SU in its last 10 games
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Arizona's last 6 games
Arizona is 1-5 ATS in its last 6 games at home

The Bottom Line: The best thing the Cardinals have going is they are coming off a bye to rest and recharge. They are a team led by veterans who are hungry for a super bowl. And I think they win this game, but 7 points is too much for me. I see Green Bay and their experience hanging with them the whole game. I also think both these teams have enough on offence to push the score over 50 points.
The Pick: Cardinals 28-24.

Liev NFL Playoffs Prediction: Green Bay +7 at MyBookie


Category

Tags
aaron rodgers - arizona cardinals - carson palmer - eddie lacy - green bay packers - jordy nelson - larry fitzgerald - randall cobb

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