2016 NFL Playoffs
NFC Divisional Playoffs
#5 Green Bay Packers at #2 Arizona Cardinals
Saturday, January 16, 2016, 8:15 pm Eastern, TV: NBC
University of Phoenix Stadium – Glendale, Arizona
Opening Line: Arizona -7 (-120)
Current Line: Arizona -7
Opening Total: 50
Current Total: 50
Current Money Line: Cardinals -335 / Packers +275
Current Money Line: Cardinals -300 / Packers +250
The 13-3 Arizona Cardinals are the #2 seed in the NFC Playoffs and will take on the #5 seed Green Bay Packers in the Divisional playoffs Saturday in Glendale. The Packers are 11-6 this season. The winner will take on either the Carolina Panthers or Seattle Seahawks in the NFC Championship game next week.
Arizona won the NFC West and had the second best record in the league behind only the 15-1 Panthers. The Cardinals earned a first round bye last week. Green Bay finished second in the NFC North behind the 11-5 Minnesota Vikings. The Packers are the #5 seed in the NFC and beat the NFC East Champion Washington Redskins 35-18 last Sunday on the road.
These are two of the oldest franchises in the NFL and have been playing since 1921. Green Bay leads the series 45-24-4. This is the third playoff meeting between the teams, including a thrilling Cardinals victory 51-45 in overtime in the 2009 NFC Wild Card playoffs in Glendale. These two teams met just three weeks ago in week #16 in Glendale and the Cardinals crushed the Packers 38-8. The Cardinals scored the first 31 points of the game. Green Bay had 178 total yards and four turnovers in a miserable performance. It was the worst loss of quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ career.
Green Bay is coached by Mike McCarthy. The Packers have home wins over the Seattle Seahawks 27-17, Kansas City Chiefs 38-28, St. Louis Rams 24-10, San Diego Chargers 27-20 and Dallas Cowboys 28-7, along with road wins at the Chicago Bears 31-23, San Francisco 49ers 17-3, Minnesota Vikings 30-13, Detroit Lions 27-23 and Oakland Raiders 30-20. Green Bay has road losses at the Denver Broncos 29-10, Carolina Panthers 37-29 and Arizona Cardinals 38-8, along with home losses to the Lions 18-16, Bears 17-13 and Vikings 20-13.
Green Bay was a 2 point underdog against Washington last week and the total was 47. The Redskins jumped out to an 11-0 lead early in the second quarter, including a safety, a field goal and a touchdown with a missed extra point. The Packers rallied to take a 17-11 lead into halftime. Washington briefly regained the lead early in the third, but Green Bay scored the last 18 points of the game to snap a two game losing streak. The Packers are 10-7 ATS and the total is 6-11 this season.
Arizona is coached by Bruce Arians. The Cardinals have home losses to the St. Louis Rams 24-22 and Seattle Seahawks 36-6 in the regular season finale and a road loss at the Pittsburgh Steelers 25-13. Arizona has home wins over the New Orleans Saints 31-19, San Francisco 49ers 37-7, Baltimore Ravens 26-18, Cincinnati Bengals 34-31, Minnesota Vikings 23-20 and Packers along with road wins at the Chicago Bears 48-23, Detroit Lions 42-17, Cleveland Browns 34-20, Seattle Seahawks 39-32, 49ers 19-13, Rams 27-3 and Philadelphia Eagles 40-17 .
Arizona entered the Seattle game on a 9 game winning streak. The Cardinals had an outside shot at taking home field in the playoffs from the Panthers with a win and a Carolina loss. The Cardinals were 6 point favorites against the Seahawks and the total was 46.5. Much like Arizona dominated Green Bay the week before from start to finish, the Seahawks did the same to the Cardinals. Seattle took an early 10-0 lead, but Arizona would pull to within 10-6 early in the second quarter. They would not score again. Seattle would score 26 straight points to complete the rout. Arizona had 232 total yards and three turnovers. The Cardinals are 9-7 ATS and the total is 9-7 this season.
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Green Bay is outscoring teams 23-20 this season. The Packers are averaging 335 yards per game on offense including 219 passing and 116 rushing yards. The Packers are #23 in total offense and #25 in passing. On defense, the Packers are allowing 347 yards per game including 228 passing and 119 rushing yards. Green Bay is #6 in pass defense. The Packers are 81/229 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 89/241. Green Bay has forced 43 sacks and has allowed 47 this season. The Packers are +5 in turnovers with 3 defensive touchdowns. Green Bay has also allowed 3 defensive touchdowns.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers has completed 60.7% of his passes for 3,821 yards along with 31 touchdowns and 8 interceptions, along with 58 carries for 344 yards and a touchdown. Scott Tolzien is the back-up.
Running back Eddie Lacy has 187 carries for 758 yards and 3 touchdowns, plus 20 catches for 188 yards and 2 touchdowns. He is probable with a rib injury. James Starks has 148 carries for 601 yards and 2 touchdowns along with 43 catches for 392 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Receiver Randall Cobb has 79 catches for 829 yards and 6 touchdowns, plus 50 rushing yards. James Jones has 50 catches for 890 yards and 8 touchdowns. Tight end Richard Rodgers has 58 catches for 510 yards and 8 touchdowns. He is probable with a hip injury. Davante Adams has 50 catches for 483 yards and a touchdown. He is doubtful with a knee injury. Ty Montgomery has 15 catches for 136 yards and 2 touchdowns. He is out for the season with an ankle injury. Receiver Jordy Nelson is out for the season with a torn ACL suffered during the pre-season. Six defensive players are listed on the injury report.
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Arizona is outscoring teams 31-20 this season. The Cardinals are #2 in scoring and #7 in points allowed. The Cardinals are averaging 408 total yards per game on offense including 289 passing and 120 rushing yards. The Cardinals are #1 in total offense, #2 in passing offense and #8 in rushing. Arizona is allowing 322 total yards per game including 230 passing and 91 rushing yards. The Cardinals are #8 or better in all three categories. Arizona is 97/207 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 83/227. The Cardinals have forced 36 sacks and have allowed 27 this season. Arizona is +9 in turnovers. The Cardinals have a special teams touchdown and six defensive touchdowns.
Quarterback Carson Palmer has completed 63.7% of his passes for 4,671 yards with 35 touchdowns and 11 interceptions, along with 24 rushing yards and a touchdown.The 36 year old is an unlikely MVP candidate after tearing his ACL last year. Drew Stanton is the back-up.
Running back Chris Johnson has 196 carries for 814 yards with 3 touchdowns, along with 6 catches for 58 yards. He is out for the season with a broken leg. David Johnson has 125 carries for 581 yards and 8 touchdowns, along with 36 catches for 457 yards and 4 touchdowns. Andre Ellington has 45 carries for 289 yards and 3 touchdowns, plus 15 catches for 148 yards. He is questionable with a toe injury. Kerwynn Williams and Stepfan Taylor will also get some carries.
Receiver Larry Fitzgerald has 109 catches for 1,215 yards and 9 touchdowns. John Brown has 65 catches for 1,003 yards and 7 touchdowns. Michael Floyd has 52 catches for 849 yards and 6 touchdowns. Tight end Darren Fells has 21 catches for 311 yards and 3 touchdowns. Nine defensive players are listed on the injury report.
Green Bay is 5-1 ATS in playoff road games, 4-1 in road games, 8-3 in playoff games, 7-3 after failing to cover, 7-3 after a cover, 41-18-1 after allowing more than 350 total yards, 36-16-2 after allowing less than 90 rushing yards, 3-7 on grass, and 0-5 after allowing more than 250 passing yards. The under is 4-1 in this series recently.
Arizona is 4-0 ATS after a double digit home loss, and in playoff home games, 6-1 after gaining less than 250 total yards, 15-5-1 after failing to cover, 9-3 after allowing more than 30 points, 8-3 in Saturday games, 5-2 in playoff games, 21-9 against NFC teams, 16-7 after rushing for less than 90 yards, 27-12 after a straight up loss of more than 14 points, 3-7 on grass, 1-4 against teams with winning road records, in January, and after scoring less than 15 points, 1-5 at home and against teams with winning records. The home team has covered 5 of the last 6 games in this series.
People were saying Green Bay got their swagger back with the win last week against Washington. I don’t buy it. I mean, yes they had an offensive explosion against a terrible Washington defense. This game might be closer than it was three weeks ago but the bottom line is the Cardinals are simply the better team.