Why You Should Bet the Cardinals to Beat the Packers
The Arizona Cardinals take on the Green Bay Packers this Saturday night at the University of Phoenix Stadium in their divisional matchup in the NFC playoffs. Kickoff is at 8:15pm Eastern time, and the broadcast is on NBC. While this should be a closer game than the 38-8 whipping that the Cardinals delivered to the Packers in Week 16, the Cardinals should still win — handily. Here’s why you should bet on them to win.
— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) January 14, 2016
The Bye Week Provides a Lot of Rest
Getting that bye in that first round of the playoffs is a big deal. While the Packers were on the field in Washington dealing with 60 minutes of punishment, the Cardinals were watching the whole thing on television, resting from 16 pounding games. It’s likely that some of the key Arizona injuries will have healed during this time. This is why the Cardinals expect defensive tackle Josh Mauro and outside linebacker Markus Golden to be back. Other players who were nursing minor injuries include running back Andre Ellington (toe), wide receiver Michael Floyd (knee), and defensive tackle Frostee Rucker (ankle), and they should be even fresher against the Pack.
The Thunderous Pass Rush Will Return
In Week 16, Arizona sacked Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers nine times. That’s not likely to happen again, but Green Bay lost left tackle David Bakhtiari for the Washington game because of a sprained ankle, and the team has not announced his status for the Arizona game. The Cardinals’ pass rush should be able to feast on that position, as Bakhtiari will either be playing at less than 100% (and will not have played since December 20), or there will be a backup there.
You Can’t Run On the Cardinals
Why did the Packers come back against Washington? Yes, Aaron Rodgers was important, but the running game was just as important last Sunday. Washington was #26 in the NFL in rushing yards permitted per game. Arizona, though, is ranked #6. In Week 16, Green Bay only gained 101 yards on the ground against the Cardinals, and the Packers usually average 115 yards. This won’t be the same story in the second half.
You Can Bet This Carson Palmer’s Year
The Cardinals were heading to a terrific season last year too — and then Carson Palmer went down with the second ACL tear in his career. This year he has been on a real mission, throwing for a career-high 4,671 yards and leading his team up and down the field week in and week out. Most quarterbacks with two ACL tears and who are in their 30s start tending downward statistically, but that hasn’t been the case for Palmer. Look for him to be ready to shed the playoff monkey that has gripped his back for so long, going back to his days with the Bengals, and lead the Cards to a big win.