Our Experts Predict: Packers-Cardinals

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  • Ryan Grant. | Photo: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Next game: NFC Wildcard Game
Sunday, January 10th at Arizona
Packers Gameday at 1:00 p.m. on Newsradio 620 WTMJ, a live blog here and coverage on Live at 10 on TODAY'S TMJ4 HD

The Packers have returned to the playoffs for the 25th time.

The most storied, most championship-decorated franchise in pro football starts its journey for world title number 13.

They do it in a stadium where they played 168 hours and 40 minutes previous to kickoff time of this Sunday afternoon showdown.

But this time, it actually means something.

Will the Packers advance to the NFC Semifinals over a Cardinals team who they've seen twice in games that didn't really count? 

Our Experts tell you what they think.

More: Our Experts Predict for NFL Playoffs

Packers at Cardinals

Our Expert When Packers have the ball When Cardinals have the ball Prediction

Lance Allan

Sports Anchor and Reporter,
Packers Gameday
More - Sports
Glance with Lance

Rodgers facing pressure.
Rodgers was sacked 37 times in the first 8 games, 13 in the last 8. Only twice in the last 3 games. Expect that to change...I think the Cards saved their pressure packages for this game. Rodgers in his first playoff start will get hit, will get sacked, and Arizona will likely even force a turnover. But Rodgers will settle down, and get in a groove.

Warner vs. 3-4, Fitz vs. C Wood.
Kurt Warner is the master of picking apart the blitz. But if you can hit and sack him, he's prone to fumble. The 3-4 defense will never be under the microscope more than this week. The Larry Fitzgerald-Charles Woodson matchup? You better get your popcorn ready. But like last week, C Wood will own it.

Green Bay 34,
Arizona 31
Mason Crosby, yes THAT Mason Crosby, kicks a late field goal. Then we'll see if next up is the Saints, or Favreaggedon III.
Read more

Jeff Falconio
Studio Anchor,
Packers Gameday
Host, Wisconsin
Sports Weekend, 620WTMJ
More - The Junior Varsity Blog

Rodgers sharing the wealth.  The Packers' offense has exploded against Arizona's defense, albeit when the Cards weren't at their best.  Nevertheless, Aaron Rodgers should be able to spread the ball around and without a healthy Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, the Cards are vulnerable in the secondary.

Stopping Warner from sharing the wealth.
Kurt Warner is equally masterful at spreading the ball around.  Outside of Indianapolis, no one gets his tight ends and backs involved in the passing game more than Warner.  The Packers must be aware of possible mismatches and must put the heat on Warner.

Green Bay 34,
Arizona 24.
Look for both teams to throw a lot, and with the Packers playing excellent football on defense, they should be able to disregard Arizona's toothless running game.  They can focus solely on Warner.

Greg Matzek
Co-Host, Wisconsin
Sports Weekend, 620WTMJ

Don't force the issue.
There's no need to escape the pass/run balance that has led to wins in seven of eight games.  The Cardinals' defense can generate sacks, but overall, they have the lowest ranked defense of all the playoff teams.

Locate Larry and rush the statue.
If the Packers can disrupt Kurt Warner's timing, he will be forced into decisions he's not comfortable with. Give Warner time and he'll find success with WR's not named Fitzgerald.

Green Bay 31,
Arizona 20.
I really don't think this will be a close game.  Just a hunch.

Bill Michaels
Host, Packers
Gameday and
Sports Central,
"The Big Unit
on Green Bay"
More - Big Unit Blog

Rodgers must stay upright.
That, and no pre-snap penalties, PERIOD.  The Cardinals defensively can't keep up with the Packers' multiple offensive weapons.  If Rodgers-Cromartie can't go, the pickens become that much more simple for Aaron Rodgers.

Warner's experience. 
Kurt Warner has got the veteran savvy and know-how.  If he's allowed to stand in the pocket, he'll pick apart the Packers' weaknesses in the secondary.  Dom Capers will need to be creative vs. an offense that practices against the 3-4 on a daily basis.

Green Bay 31,
Arizona 27.
I think it will turn into somewhat of a shootout and the Cardinals, with the injuries, just don't have the multitudes of weapons that the Packers do to keep up.

Jay Sorgi
News, Sports Anchor/Reporter and Packers Blogger,
"What the Blog's
Going On Out

Open and close the offensive "umbrella".
Arizona's defense is predicated on its ability to rush the quarterback.  The Packers have shown that it can get Ryan Grant big yardage with inside running.  Succeed in that department with good cutback plays to make the D-line stay honest and not go as aggressively on a B-line for Rodgers, and make them have to bring their safeties in.  In other words, close the umbrella.  Then, Rodgers can do what he does best, open up the umbrella and go deep with Driver and Jennings for big plays against a helpless secondary.

Fitzgerald vs. Woodson.  
The best receiver in the NFL against the best defensive player in the NFL.  This is worth having an isolated camera to watch this matchup.  Fitz will get some big plays.  If Woodson limits them, especially without a healthy Anquan Boldin, it becomes a 10-on-10 game most of the time, and then Dom Capers can be more aggressive with his blitz packages to get to a dangerous but immobile Warner.

Green Bay 35,
Arizona 28. 
We're finally going to get the real Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, which means we're going to get a true shootout.  With Wisenhunt not really showing his "Cards" (bad pun, I know), the Packers' defense doesn't know as much of what's coming, so expect four Warner touchdown passes.  Arizona's defense does know what's coming, but they still won't be able to stop Rodgers and company.