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Packers vs Cardinals: Green Bay's Biggest Winners and Losers from NFL Week 9

Brian CarriveauContributor ISeptember 19, 2016

Packers vs Cardinals: Green Bay's Biggest Winners and Losers from NFL Week 9

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    The Green Bay Packers got by the Arizona Cardinals 31-17 on Sunday at Lambeau Field to improve to 6-3 on the season.

    Arizona played well in spurts to keep Green Bay on its toes, but in the end, the Cardinals couldn't mount a challenge consistently enough to keep pace with the Packers.

    As usual, in a win, there were plenty of winners, but there were several injuries to key starters that have the Packers glad their bye week is now underway.

Winner: Randall Cobb

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    Everywhere the Cardinals turned on Sunday, Randall Cobb was hurting them and making a big play.

    Cobb only had three receptions, but two of them went for touchdowns.

    His first came in the first quarter, putting on a spin move to reach the end zone from 13 yards out; his second came in the second quarter, hauling in a 28-yard pass from Aaron Rodgers with outstretched hands.

    The production didn't stop there, however.

    Cobb also ran for 29 yards on three carries coming out of the backfield and made his mark on special teams as well by returning three kicks for an average of 30.0 yards and three punts for an average of 15.3 yards.

    There's little doubt that Cobb is placing himself into the upper echelon of NFL wide receivers after another solid outing and scoring multiple times.

Loser: Jordy Nelson

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    Jordy Nelson was listed as questionable coming into Sunday's game with a hamstring injury that kept him out of the previous week's game against Jacksonville and all week of practice prior to the Cardinals game.

    When Nelson was deemed healthy enough to play, it could only be viewed as a positive until he was injured early in the game, getting his ankle caught under a Cardinals defender and being forced to leave the game.

    Nelson never returned and now has to recover from a second ailment as the Packers head into the bye week.

    The good thing for both Nelson and the Packers is that they'll have some extra time off before they have to play another game.

Winner: Erik Walden

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    Erik Walden left his mark in Sunday's game, and probably left a mark on John Skelton's chest as well.

    Walden led the Packers in quarterback hits by putting a pounding on Skelton three times.

    But Walden's impact on the game didn't end there. His biggest play of the game was probably his interception on a tipped ball on the Cardinals' first possession of the second half and helped to set up a Mason Crosby field goal that pushed the Packers' lead to 24-7.

    Add in a tackle for loss on a swing pass to Cardinals running back LaRod Stephens-Howling late in the ball game, and Walden made a big impression.

    The Packers have been looking for consistent play opposite Clay Matthews for quite some time, and they're finally getting it from Walden this season.

Loser: Clay Matthews

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    As if the Packers weren't injured enough with a variety of ailments keeping Pro Bowlers like Greg Jennings and Charles Woodson out of Sunday's game, Clay Matthews joined the parade on Sunday.

    Matthews had to pull out of the Cardinals game with a hamstring injury in the second half and couldn't return to action.

    Right now, the severity of Matthews' injury is uncertain, but he'll get a little bit of time to rest and recover now that the Packers are entering their bye week.

    It was a quiet game by Matthews prior to exiting, but when he was injured, he flushed Cardinals quarterback John Skelton from the pocket, helping to force an incompletion.

Winner: Alex Green, James Starks Combo

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    The rushing attack hasn't done much for the Packers all season long, but the one-two punch of Alex Green and James Starks was respectable on Sunday.

    The running game was particularly effective in the first half, as the Packers rushed for 126 yards on 19 carries, an average of 6.6 yards per carry.

    Things weren't perfect for Green and Starks. They might have missed a couple reads, a couple blocks and Starks had a fumble, but they more than made up for it by keeping the chains moving and the clock running out near the end of the game.

    The duo combined for 114 rushing yards by game's end, including a long of 14 yards by Starks and a long of 21 yards for Green.

    If the Packers can continue to get production like that out of their running backs, they'll be happy.

Loser: Bryan Bulaga

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    Add Bryan Bulaga to litany of injured players the Packers have.

    The Packers right tackle exited in the first half on the Cardinals game with an injured hip and wasn't able to return.

    Bulaga was able to leave the field under his own power, but it's too early to speculate on the severity his injury.

    Earlier in the year, Bulaga came away with a banged-up knee in the aftermath of the Seahawks game, his worst performance of the season. Like everyone else on the team, he'll benefit from a week off, as the Packers don't have another game until they face the Detroit Lions on the road in Week 11.

Winner: T.J. Lang

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    The Packers had to reshuffle their offensive line when Bryan Bulaga exited with T.J. Lang shifting out to right tackle and Evan Dietrich-Smith taking over for Lang at left guard.

    Good thing for the Packers offense, they didn't appear to miss a beat after Bulaga was forced to leave. Part of the credit goes to Dietrich-Smith, but perhaps even more goes to Lang.

    Considering Lang spends barely any time practicing at tackle, he did yeoman's work on the edge of the offensive line and held down the fort by not giving up a sack on Aaron Rodgers and helping getting some movement for a decent running game.

    It's not the first time Lang has had to kick out to right tackle (he has in the past as well), but it's not his primary position. Based on the early returns, however, the Packers might be able to weather the storm if Bulaga is forced to miss any length of time.

Loser: Mason Crosby

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    Mason Crosby started off the season by going 5-for-5 on field goals, but things haven't gone very well since that time.

    After those first five attempts, Crosby had only converted four of his four out of his next nine, including missing a 44-yard field goal in the first half on Sunday.

    The Packers came into the Cardinals game with the lowest field-goal percentage in the NFL, converting only 69 percent of their attempts.

    Early in the season, the criticism of Crosby was that he was only missing field goals of longer than 50 yards, which are certainly difficult to make. But the past two weeks, Crosby has missed attempts inside of 50 yards.

    He later made a 33-yard field in the third quarter, but that's not entirely making up for one of the worst performances by an NFL kicker this season.

Winner: Tom Crabtree

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    Just as the Cardinals pulled within seven points of the Packers late in the third quarter and were starting to get momentum on their side, tight end Tom Crabtree helped put the game away.

    On the final play of the quarter, Crabtree grabbed a pass from Aaron Rodgers and raced 72-yards for a touchdown. It was the Packers' longest play on offense of the year.

    It was also the Packers' longest touchdown by a tight end since 1979, as several members of the media pointed out on Twitter following the play, including CBS Sports.

    Crabtree doesn't catch the ball very often for the Packers, but when he does, he makes them count. Of his six receptions on the season, three have gone for touchdowns, and it helped make up for a dropped pass earlier in the game.

Loser: Donald Driver

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    Donald Driver had one catch for 10 yards that helped the Packers get a first down on Sunday, but he also had a drop that didn't appear to sit well with the coaching staff.

    It appeared as if Driver fell behind Jarrett Boykin in the wide receiver pecking order on Sunday and didn't play very often in three wide receiver sets for the Packers.

    It wasn't until late in the fourth quarter when the Packers gained a 14-point lead when he started seeing some significant playing time again, and by that time, the outcome of the game was no longer in question.

    Even with Jordy Nelson and Greg Jennings sidelined by injuries, it doesn't appear as if Driver is factoring heavily in the Packers' plans.

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