Mike McCarthy has spent the last few years trying to create a culture of consistency. You can see this in the way he structures and runs his practices, game preparation, film work and gameday. Over the last two months, it has definitely paid off. There is an expectation of consistent success in the locker room. You can see it in the comments made by McCarthy and the players. That’s why they did what they did to the Cardinals last week. And I truly believe it was a springboard to a repeat performance this Sunday.
Keys to the Game:
1) Disrupt Warner and their timed passing game. Kurt Warner is one of the best QB’s in the NFL when it comes to the blitz. He has zero mobility, but his ability to get rid of the football is unparalleled. The Packers need to utilize different fronts, looks, blitz and coverage packages to keep Warner guessing. The Cardinals are 28th in rushing. It starts and ends with Warner.
2) Ryan Grant needs 125. This will slow down the Cardinals pass rush and really put pressure on the shaky defensive backfield of Arizona. The Cardinals were middle of the pack this season in rush defense at 113 yds per game. Grant and the O-Line have been solid in the second half. I’m seeing at least two rushes of 20+ for Grant Sunday.
3) Keep the Cardinals out of the Red Zone. They’re automatic this season at 70.4%, first in the NFL. This may be the key of the game. If the Packers can limit the Cardinals to field goal attempts, I love their chances.
4) Make the play. No drops, no missed tackles, etc. We always look back at games and wonder, “Boy, if so and so would have only made that play…” It could be special teams in the 1st quarter or an offensive play in the 3rd. You never know the play that could be the catalyst to a victory.
5) Do what you do. I see a team that knows they are very good, and wants to be great. There is no reason to deviate from the last two months. Play Packers football and we will be moving on.
Prediction: Green Bay 34, Arizona 23
Wow, what a little rivalry Mike McCarthy has created; to Ken Whisenhunt and the Cardinals at least. I’ve linked a couple of articles from the Arizona Republic. I love reading the opponent’s newspapers. It gives me a real sense of what is going on in the other city. All I can say is WOW. Ken Whisenhunt seems to have an issue with McCarthy’s game planning and utilization of his starters. In the third preseason game, the Packers played their starters into the 3rd quarter. Almost every team in the NFL does this. It’s the only preseason game where the starters play into the 2nd half. Now he doesn’t like the Packers plan in Week 17. Someone should remind the Cardinals of the importance of the 5th seed. The Cardinals hosted the Eagles last year in the NFC Championship game as the 5th seed. Can someone be so dumb? Here are some articles. Enjoy.
Not much to talk about this week. Everything depends on the Vikings game at noon. If the Vikings win, the Cardinals will play their guys. If they lose, get ready for lots of Matt Leinert. I think this game is extremely important to the Packers. Winners of 6 of 7, they want to keep it rolling going into the playoffs. No keys this week because so much is unknown. But two predictions…
If the Vikings win…Green Bay 27, Arizona 13
If the Vikings lose…Green Bay 30, Arizona 27