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NFL Week 9 Picks: Why the Arizona Cardinals Stand Little Chance in Green Bay

GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 29:  Patrick Willis #52 of the San Francisco 49ers tackles John Skelton #19 of the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium on October 29, 2012 in Glendale, Arizona. 49rs won 24-3. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
Norm Hall/Getty Images
Adam WaksmanCorrespondent IIIOctober 31, 2012

You see it every year. A mediocre team takes advantage of a weak strength of schedule and shoots out to hot start.

The Arizona Cardinals (4-0) deserve the wins they have accrued so far this year. But let's be honest, they are not an elite team and not real contenders in the loaded NFC.

For the following reasons, they are going to earn a fifth consecutive loss on Sunday in Green Bay.

 

Offensive Line in Shambles

The Cardinals were able to get off to a hot start due in large part to adequate offensive line play and surprisingly good performances from quarterback Kevin Kolb. The injury to Kevin Kolb is part of the problem they face now. However, the much bigger problem is the recent play from the offensive line.

Currently ranked dead last in the NFL in total offensive performance, it is not a coincidence that the Cardinals also rank last in both pass blocking and run blocking.

As a whole, the Arizona offense has given up a whopping 38 sacks, as well as 115 pressures so far this season. The worst offenders have been Bobby Massie and D'Anthony Batiste, who between them have allowed more sacks than most entire NFL teams.

The only player on the offensive front who has been close to average this season has been offensive guard Daryn Colledge. The rest of the line has been a train wreck.

 

The Packers are Underrated

It is hard to believe after all of the hype in 2011 that the Packers could be underrated in 2012, but that is the case. After a slow 2-3 start, more criticism has been heaped on the Packers than they deserve.

They are now 5-3, and it is worth mentioning that they are really 6-2 (remember the referee strike?). One loss was against the best-in-the-NFL San Francisco 49ers. The other was a stinker against the Indianapolis Colts.

All in all, the Packers have played seven good games and one bad one. Very few teams in the NFL can say that. Furthermore, quarterback Aaron Rodgers—who has allowed himself to take the lion's share of the blame—is already back to being the No. 3 ranked quarterback in the NFL.

It says everything about Rodgers that 21 touchdowns and four interceptions is considered a subpar first half to his season.

 

The Pick

Many people will try to overthink this one and call it a trap game for the Packers. It is not a trap. The Cardinals are going to come into Green Bay and receive their fifth consecutive loss.

After an encouraging 4-0 start, not many would have expected a 6-10 finish for the Cardinals. However, that is where I see them heading.

More immediately, they will be 4-5 at the end of Sunday.

 

Adam Waksman is a featured columnist for the Bleacher Report New York Jets community. Be sure to follow Adam on Twitter to receive updates right away.

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