Cardinals vs Packers: Green Bay Must Find the Formula on O to Overcome Cards' D
This is an odd game for the Green Bay Packers. Offensively the Arizona Cardinals are most vulnerable to the run, but that's not what the Packers are set up to do.
Defensively, the Packers shouldn't have a ton to worry about, except for the fact that a big section of the defense is hurt.
While the Packers definitely have much more talent than the Cardinals at almost every position, the situation is such that if they aren't really careful, this could end badly for them.
How can they avoid this?
Let's take a look.
When the Packers are on Offense
How to attack this defense? The Packers' strength is passing the ball. We've seen in the last few games that running it isn't happening easily, if at all for the Packers.
At the same point, this isn't an easy defense to pass against.
Strength on strength is often a good way to get killed, but it's all in how much you trust it versus how much you trust the weaker part of the offense.
I'm not sure how much the Packers trust the running aspect of their game.
So how do you attack the strength of the Cardinals' defense?
You avoid Patrick Peterson, that's the first thing.
Luckily, even with Greg Jennings and (potentially) Jordy Nelson out, the Packers have more talent than the Cardinals can cover.
The Packers want to get Rodgers and the offense in a rhythm very early, with some sharply timed passes and safe routes. As long as their away from Peterson as much as possible.
That's not to say you don't take your shots at him. You just measure them out.
Of course, this is also a good time to give Alex Green one last shot.
It's not a best case scenario, since John Kuhn isn't playing, which makes it that much tougher behind an occasionally spotty offensive line.
The Packers didn't make a move at the trade deadline for a running back, so they had best figure out if Green or James Starks is going to be dependable enough to rely on going forward.
Despite that, the Packers will need to rely on their strength, which is passing the ball, at least until Cedric Benson shows back up.
When the Packers are on Defense
The biggest problem the Packers will have is Larry Fitzgerald.
Tramon Williams will draw that job—not so much shutting Fitzgerald down as keeping him from saving John Skelton—and he shouldn't have too much trouble.
Skelton isn't good under pressure, though he isn't much better when he isn't under pressure.
The offensive line for Arizona is horrific, and while Nick Perry, Jerel Worthy and Mike Neal may not play, the Packers still have more than enough firepower to get past this offensive line and harass Skelton.
The run game isn't good either, though LaRod Stephens-Howling can be slippery.
The Packers have had issues tackling over the last month or so, and will have to make sure they wrap up Stephens-Howling. While he isn't a big back, he is elusive. If they miss their tackles on him, they will regret it.
It comes down to Fitzgerald and Williams though, and the pass rush.
If the pass rush can overcome this offensive line (and it really shouldn't be an issue), then Fitzgerald won't be an issue, because the ball will never reach him.
The Packers shouldn't have much in the way of problems with the Cardinals offensively. Larry Fitzgerald is struggling because the quarterback situation is a disaster.
The question is whether they can find a formula against a solid defense when the weakness of that defense isn't nearly enough of a strength of their offense.
Ultimately, the Packers should overcome this, but it's the sort of game that can trip up a team, so they have to be careful.
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