Don't let Green Bay's 33-7 Cardinal beat-down last Sunday fool you: Arizona is a great football team. They just don't like to show it very often.
If there is any one team in the NFL that can turn it on and off from week to week, it's the Arizona Cardinals. (Did anyone honestly have the Cardinals in last year's Super Bowl? Didn't think so.)
This game is a shootout through and through. Green Bay has Aaron Rodgers, Donald Driver, Greg Jennings and Ryan Grant while Arizona has Kurt Warner, Anquon Boldin, Larry Fitzgerald and Tim Hightower.
We know how potent each team can be on the offensive side of the football, so the real question is, who has the better defense? At first glance, it seems Green Bay is the better of the two. But when given another look, they are much closer.
Green Bay ranks second in the NFL in fewest yards per game, Arizona ranks 20th. Not so close. Advantage: Green Bay.
Green Bay is third in interceptions, Arizona is seventh. Close, but Green Bay edges out the Cards.
The Packers rank 11th in sacks and 27th in forced fumbles, while the Cardinals are 6th in sacks and 27th in forced fumbles. Pretty much even, though I still give Green Bay the nod on defense.
If the Cardinals want to win, they're going to have to step up in a big way and force Aaron Rodgers to make bad decisions with the football. Besides, it wasn't that long ago this season when Green Bay had the worst offensive line in the NFL. If Arizona can disrupt that offensive rhythm and hit Rodgers early and often, game over.
How about the intangibles? Green Bay is a young team that is still developing and are entering their first playoff run in 16 years without Brett Favre. Can Rodgers handle the pressure?
What about the Cardinals? This stuff is old news to a guy like Kurt Warner, who is going for his fourth Super Bowl appearance.
One last thing to think about before making your pick: Green Bay is 5-3 on the road this season, while Arizona is 4-4 at home.
Cardinals pull out the late victory, 28-24.