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Nothing? Probably, Except...

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Nothing? Probably, Except...

It didn't take Greg Bedard long to put yesterday's game in perspective for Packers fans:

All I know is today means nothing. Last year Cardinals got killed by Vikings and Pats, then played terrible in finale vs. Seattle.

Unfortunately, for the most part this is very, very true. But there are a few individual matchups that came to light yesterday that have to make the Packers and their fans feel good about their chances next Sunday.

First of all, it's pretty apparent that the Cardinals are going to have fits trying to get Clay Matthews blocked. Whether coming off the edge or stunting in the middle, the only answer Arizona's offensive line had for CM3 was to grab him and hope the officials didn't notice. Sure, the Cardinals (and Bedard for that matter) keep telling anyone who will listen that once the Vikings won, they shut it down and played vanilla on both sides of the ball. While that may be true, no game plan in the world can help the offensive line win a one-on-one with Matthews. Wisenhunt will need to think long and hard about committing either a running back or a tight end to chipping on Matthews almost the entire game or Warner will spend the entire day running for his life.

Another matchup that surprised me was how well Tramon Williams played against both Boldin and Fitzgerald. Yes, Corey, I know - Tramon is the real deal. But he has had his fair share of trouble with bigger guys before. Oh there's no shortage of confidence from Tramon and I love his ability to shake off a play and get up and in a receivers' face on the next snap. But to be honest, his matchup with Boldin was, and still is, my biggest concern heading into this playoff matchup. Sure people point to Jarrett Bush as a problem - well, that's not exactly news, is it? Capers can and will minimize Bush's exposure the best he can. But Williams has no place to hide. I mean, if I'm the Cardinals, why do I go after Charles Woodson, who will no doubt be locked up with Fitzgerald most of the time? No, I use Boldin every which way I can. Of course, a lot this will depend on the sevrity of the injuries to his knee and ankle. (Initial word last night is that he will be listed as Questionable for Sunday. I'm not buyin' it...)

So yes, yesterday didn't mean a thing. Except for the things that did.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (11) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

bomdad's picture

What will we see different from the Cards?
More blitzes, like they put on Favre.
More rushing? They ran it 14 times.
More 3-4 WR sets? I didnt pay attention to that.

Scrumptrulescent's picture

Boldin is hurting bad on that same (high) ankle sprain he dealt with earlier this season. That fall he took looked nasty and he didn't come back afterwards, did he? I've got to say, a slow Boldin does not make me unhappy.

Ron LC's picture

I see, the Cards didn't care and pulled all their starters and layed down? If that's so why did Cromartie, Bouldin and a starting D tackle get injured? Those injuries are significant enough to have a potential impact on the game next week. Bedard must be taking Mc Ginn lessons.

And yes, Williams had made a substantial contribution to the defense after Harris went down. He is playing with a confidence and aggressiveness that Al would be proud of. Even Bush is fitting into the Capers scheme better than I could have hoped for. I guess that's why we're fans and Capers is the coach.

DaveK's picture

I thought the injury looked bad also and the way he reacted seemed to suggest that it was more then just an ankle tweak. Who knows though. I've seen players fall over with no contact and miss a season and then you see guys that have their legs bent backwards and you think they are done forever and yet they return to the game. Regardless, Warner reads a defense really well and has a knack in finding the open guy in the face of a blitz. I think he actually likes it when teams blitz him. He is just so good at finding the hot route. The key will be to getting after him with four guys. If they can again collapse the pocket with four and make Warner throw into seven man zone coverage I think the Packers can slow down that offense and force some mistakes.

Andrew In Atlanta's picture

The key now is to focus on the opponent at hand and not start thinking about do we want to play MN or NO. Truly one game at a time, which ever team is in front of us. AZ will be VERY tough next week, but we are hot. I love the fact that no one is paying attention to the Pack. I heard Eric Allen on ESPN radio yesterday talking about the new breed of QBs in the league. He mentioned Romo but not Rodgers. I love it. Under the radar is definitely the way we want to go.
______________________________________
You don't get many of these opportunities. It's about winning this year, not just doing well and building for next year. We are good enough to go to the Superbowl this year. I'm very impressed with the 2nd half of the season and I love what MM did yesterday to keep us on a roll (except Finley still being in late in the game). It won't be easy but we have as good a shot as anyone. One game at a time

Packnic's picture

I took nothing from the WR / CB match ups on either side of the ball. To me they looked to be sand bagging from the very start. I dont think DRC's knee was anything but a good excuse to get him off film. It looked to me like their WR's kind of dogged it a little and didn't show their hand. I could be paranoid as hell, but i just think there was a ton of gamesmanship going on, on the WR/CB matchup.

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That said, I still think they tried to protect the QB and had trouble. And it was clear that they are gonna have to blitz to get Arod. I think the trench war will belong to us, and like I said earlier... The Packers are more physical. We are the tougher, meaner, better team. Won't be easy, but I feel great about a second round appearance.

Dilligaff's picture

This will take good performances by all 3 units,defense,offense, and special teams. The Cardinals can put up some points on anybody and teams like the the Cardinals and vikings scares me for one simple reason, I think these types of teams are bored in the regular season and come alive in the playoffs. I really think it will come down to our special teams performance that will determine if we are playing the following Sunday. Field position is key to the success of our defense, if our offense and special teams put our defense in bad field positions watch out. Field position and time of possession wins games.

BigbyATTACK's picture

I like that we're playing in Arizona for this game. We are a cold weather team, but Rodgers is a California guy and I think he enjoys being able to really grip the ball. Crosby looked like he was hitting the ball with accuracy and purpose, as well. I love our secondary, but have respect for Warner and his receivers and hope MM doesn't play them too soft late in the game. We let so many teams in the game late, this would be a bad time. Foot on the gas, boys.

fish's picture

Quote "The Cards weren't playing at full speed because this game wasn't that important to them". But What I saw was some very pissed off Cards who showed there frustration everytime they got beat. So my opinion is they were playing to win but couldn't get the job done against the Pack.

PACKERS's picture

I'm most excited about the Woodson-Fitzgerald matchup. Woodson dominated him yesterday.

WisconsInExile's picture

What Would Vince Say? I think he would say something like "Winning isn't everything. It's the only thing." So what did the win in Phoenix mean? More than everything.

Mr. Bedard is fulfilling his contractual role as a Serious Journalist, and hurrah for him. It's just so much filler between ads. What happened to old-fashioned news reporting, instead of news commentary? If I want commentary, I'll read LeRoy's column and Cheeseheads.tv.

Sorry, been reading to many GBPG rant/rave articles lately.

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