It’s Monday and predictions for Sunday’s game is reserved for a later date. With that said, it’s never too early to do some good old fashion fence sitting and state why the Cardinals can win or lose their opening round game against the Green Bay Packers.
Reasons for a Cardinals Win Sunday
- It’s tough to beat a team three times in one season
- The Cardinals didn’t have anything to play for in the first two games
- Backups turned over the ball
The Packers beat up on the Cardinals in the third preseason game and the final regular season game this season. The odds that they make the Cardinals first playoff game their final one seems less than likely.
The Cardinals have lost to the Packers twice since August, that’s a fact. The problem is the two losses came in games that didn’t really matter. Don’t believe me? How about this for a stat, Matt Leinart threw almost three times as many passes in the two games than Kurt Warner (59 to 22). I think it’s safe to say that you can’t take anything from the two losses, unless Warner hurts himself in practice this week.
The Cardinals turned over the ball a combined seven times against the Packers this season and only had one takeaway. The good news is that of the seven Cardinal turnovers, only two were attributed to starters (an interception and fumble for Warner in the preseason game). Without the five turnovers committed by Cardinal backups both games could have been significantly different. You can expect them to take care of the ball better come Sunday.
Reasons Against a Cardinals Win Sunday
- The Packers scored a combine 64 points first half points
- The Packers are 7-1 in their last 8 games
- Aaron Rodgers and Injuries
Say what you will about the backups playing a lot in both games for the Cardinals, 64 first-half points are 64 first half points. The Cardinals' defense hasn’t been able to stop the Packers’ offense in the first half of either game. If that trend continues, the Cardinals are in trouble. They were just 2-6 this season when trailing at halftime.
The old sports adage is to never bet against a streak and 7-1 is quite a streak. The scariest thing is it could have been 8-0 if not for a last-second miracle touchdown by Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers. During that streak, Green Bay has scored 27 or more points in six of the eight games.
Peyton Manning was easily the best quarterback the Cardinals faced this season. No. 2? Aaron Rodgers. He threw for almost 4,500 yards had 30 touchdowns, only 7 interceptions and finished with a 103.2 quarterback rating. If defensive end Calais Campbell (fractured thumb) and cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (bruised knee) injuries prevent them from performing up to par, Rodgers could make it another long game for the Cardinals’ defense.