2012 NFL Week 9 Picks: Green Bay Packers over Arizona Cardinals

Jake WestrichSenior Writer IOctober 30, 2012

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 10:  Center Scott Wells #63 of the Green Bay Packers prepares to snap the ball during the 2010 NFC wild-card playoff game against the Arizona Cardinals at the Universtity of Phoenix Stadium on January 10, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona.  The Cardinals defeated the Packers  51-45 in overtime.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Success can sometimes be a relative term in the NFL.

Coming off a Super Bowl conquest in 2010 and a 15-1 record last season, the Green Bay Packers' current campaign has somewhat underwhelmed the Cheesehead fan base. Sure, the team is 5-3 (or, in the eyes of many outside the greater Seattle region, 6-2) but losses to San Francisco and Indianapolis, as well as a closer-than-expected win over lowly Jacksonville, has the Green and Yellow faithful asking, "What's wrong?"

On the other end of that spectrum are the Arizona Cardinals who, despite receiving a beating at the hands of a divisional foe on Monday night, feel fairly good about their playoff prospects. The Cards have lost four straight contests, but flaunt one of the better defensive units in the league, and though they have been bit by the injury bug, the upcoming bye week should allow some of their wounded entities a much-needed respite to recover.

Bill Parcells once famously stated, "You are what your record says you are."

Halfway through the 2012 season, both teams are in firm positions to make a second-half charge into the postseason, making the matchup between two potential playoff teams our WhatIfSports.com Game of the Week.

Following the aforementioned defeat to the Colts in Week 5, there were more than a few critics voicing their displeasure with the high-octane offense of Green Bay. Forget that reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers has tossed 10 touchdowns in the first five games, offseason acquisition Cedric Benson was still becoming assimilated with the offensive philosophy or that Pro Bowler Greg Jennings had been sidelined with various ailments.

If the Packers weren't lighting up the scoreboard, something had to be wrong.

Rodgers, a man who has been known to hold a vendetta or two, has answered this criticism, and answered with vigor, throwing 11 touchdowns with zero interceptions in three consecutive victories for the Pack despite the continued absence of Jennings and additional losses of Benson and receiver Jordy Nelson.

At 28 years old, it's hard to argue against Rodgers as the pinnacle of his profession.

Rodgers will need to be at the top of his game against the Cardinals, as Arizona is one of four teams holding opponents to under 200 passing yards per game. Led by former All-American linebacker Daryl Washington and play maker Patrick Peterson, the Cards' mark of 17.8 points per contest is seventh-best in the NFL. Once viewed as a susceptible unit, defensive coordinator Ray Horton has transformed the Cardinals resistance into one of the more formidable crews in the NFC.

If only the Arizona offense could keep their end of the bargain, the Cardinals would have a viable shot at a division crown. Granted, the string of bad luck the company has experienced has been traumatic, losing multiple offensive linemen, quarterback Kevin Kolb and running backs Beanie Wells and Ryan Williams.

Alas, if the team holds any aspirations of playing in January, it will need to start finding the end zone with more regularity, as the Cardinals' 15.9 scoring figure is last in the NFC.

Can the Cardinals pull off the upset in Lambeau? According to the award-winning WhatIfSports.com simulation engine, this shock does not come to pass, as Green Bay defeats Arizona 63.5 percent of the time by an average margin of 25-21. For the rest of this week's predictions, check below:

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