Key Matchups: Packers vs. Cardinals- Searching for Life at Lambeau

David Michalski highlights some of the key matchups in Sunday Afternoon's contest against the Cardinals that will be worth watching.   

When times are tough we see who the high character players are and who the players are who throw in the towel.  We are getting to the point in the season where the Packers find themselves playing for pride and for the love of the game.  As Aaron Rodgers said in his press conference after the loss in Minnesota, we will see whether the team comes together or whether the team fractures.  

Obviously, we all hope that the team comes together with everyone on the outside counting them out, but Sunday's contest against the 2-9 Arizona Cardinals will give us a clear indication of whether the Green Bay Packers have already packed their bags for January golf, or, whether they will play hard until the final snap of the season.  

The Arizona Cardinals are in the midst of a putrid 2-9 season with a rookie quarterback at the helm which means that the Packers should be able to win this game by two touchdowns.  The question that we all await is whether the Packers will play down to their opponent and make this game interesting, or blow the Cardinals off the field early as they should.

Despite the fact that this should be a laugher at Lambeau, there are still some matchups that I am looking forward to seeing which will either make my prediction of a rout accurate or make me look like a fool in front of all of you.

Key Matchups for Week 13 vs. The Arizona Cardinals 

1. Davante Adams vs. Patrick Peterson

This is the matchup that I am most excited about watching this week as we will see one of the leagues best route runners, Davante Adams, matched up against one of the leagues best shut down corners.  Despite the Cardinals terrible record, Peterson is still the cornerstone of their defense and brings maximum effort week in and week out.  

Davante Adams just tallied the first 1,000-yard season of his career and is looking to showcase his talents against one of the leagues best perennial corners. Hopefully, Aaron Rodgers will look his way and be able to put the ball on target so the football world can finally start to give Davante Adams the respect that he deserves. 

2. Larry Fitzgerald vs. Jaire Alexander

This matchup may not be optimal due to Fitzgerald’s height advantage and route running ability but I think it is important to continue giving Jaire Alexander one on one coverage against the opponents best receiver on a week in and week out basis.  

Alexander's development into an elite cornerback in this league depends on his ability to learn how to consistently shut down the Packers opponents best receiver so that Mike Pettine, can concentrate other members of his secondary to different matchups and blitz packages so that the defense can be an unpredictable and diverse unit.  

This matchup will be an opportunity for Alexander to learn how to figure out how to win one on one battles against a taller receiver with strong hands who can catch the ball in tight coverage. Sunday Afternoon's matchup against Fitzgerald will be an excellent indicator of where Alexander is in his development during his first year as a pro.  

3. Chandler Jones vs. Brian Bulaga, David Bakhtiari, and Jason Spriggs

This is the one matchup that I believe could throw a monkey wrench into the Packers plans to coast to an easy victory on Sunday afternoon.  Brian Bulaga has shown his age and football mortality at times this season which is why defensive coordinators have been sending their best edge rusher in his direction.  This matchup could show whether or not Brian Bulaga can still perform at an elite level or whether it may be time for him to move inside or hang up his cleats for good.

Under normal circumstances, I would be supremely confident in David Bakhtiari’s ability to shut down Chandler Jones.  However, as we all know, this season has been anything but normal, and Bakhtiari finds himself banged up and not operating at full strength.  

The Cardinals may test Bakhtiari’s durability early on by sending Jones his way and if he cannot hold up and goes down again with injury, things could get ugly and we could see Jason Spriggs.  If Spriggs has to play any length of time, the game could get interesting as both the left and right tackle positions could turn into revolving doors for rushing lanes at Aaron Rodgers which will most likely stall the Packers passing attack.  

4. The return of Randall Cobb? 

All signs are pointing to this week being the week that Randall Cobb returns to action.  The Packers are cautiously optimistic that Cobb will make his return from his dreaded hamstring injury that has cost him much of the 2018 season.  Cobb will have to show that he can make a difference and be the stabilizing force that the Packers desperately need in their offense, and prove that he can still make the big play.  

Cobb’s production throughout the final five games of the season will likely determine whether or not the Packers will think about bringing him back this offseason on a short-term deal.  This week will be the first step in Cobb proving that he is a valuable option for the Packers as he will be sure to see some favorable matchups which could lead to a standout performance.  

5. Aaron Jones vs. Josh Bynes

I always look forward to Aaron Jones shredding opponents defenses week after week with his NFL leading 6.0 yards per carry.  This week, the victim in Jones’s path is the Arizona defense and the man that will be tasked with containing him will be the Cardinals best run defender, Josh Bynes.  Bynes comes into Sunday's contest with a team-best run stopping grade of 81.1.  

In order to keep this game close, Bynes and Chandler Jones will have to prevent Aaron Jones from reaching the second level and breaking containment.  The statistics show that the Cardinals will most likely not be able to stop Aaron Jones as their 30th ranked run defense simply does not have enough run defenders to prevent him from having a 100+ yard rushing day.  

6. David Johnson vs. Kenny Clark

This matchup will be the litmus test for whether the Cardinals will actually be able to hang around and keep this game close.  If this is to happen, David Johnson must be able to effectively run the ball in order to keep the Packers offense off of the field and shorten the game.  If Johnson is able to run the ball consistently behind Mike Iupati and D.J Humphries, he will take the pressure off of Josh Rosen and allow Byron Leftwich to have a balanced attack against the Packer defense.  

Kenny Clark must set the tone for the Packers run defense and play like the teams best defender by consistently getting A gap pressure and meeting Johnson at the point of attack so that he cannot break outside containment.  Stopping the Cardinals running game will in all likelihood spell doom for Josh Rosen and the offense, as he will not be able to outscore the Packers offense single-handedly. 

Predictions:

  • The Packers get at least one turnover.
  • The Packers hold Josh Rosen under 200 yards passing.
  • Aaron Jones rushes for 150 yards and a touchdown.
  • Davante Adams scores on Patrick Peterson. 
  • Randall Cobb returns and scores a touchdown. 
  • Kenny Clark has a big game and stalls the Cardinals running game.
  • The Packers win by a score of 38-14. 

 

 

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David Michalski is a staff writer for Cheesehead TV. He can be found on Twitter @kilbas27dave 

2 points

Comments (31)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
Thegreatreynoldo's picture

December 01, 2018 at 11:44 am

Lane Taylor is still questionable as well.

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Kb999's picture

December 01, 2018 at 12:36 pm

This whole team is questionable. I question there heart. Will they come out and fight like hell,(which they should have done weeks ago), or prepare for winter golf, or State Farm commercials.

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Tarynfor12's picture

December 01, 2018 at 12:54 pm

The State Farm commercials are as lame as the Packers play has been...who knew the bad role of Rodgers would be equal in both careers this season...playing off each other....somebody light a candle.

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The TKstinator's picture

December 02, 2018 at 08:35 am

Their

And please ignore the outrageous lies in the post that immediately follows.

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Bert's picture

December 01, 2018 at 01:09 pm

I fully expect the Packers to come out and thrash a very bad AZ team. Pack wins 31-10. But beating up on AZ at home isn't really indicative of anything except they can thrash a bad team at home.

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Lare's picture

December 01, 2018 at 01:15 pm

When it comes to the Packers this season, there's a huge difference between "should" and "will"

Aaron Jones should be able to run for over 150 yards, but will McCarthy & Rodgers let him?

The Packers defense should be able to contain Rosen, but will the Packers have any pass pressure on him and will they field a healthy defensive backfield?

The two keys to this game for the Packers are special teams and the offensive line. If ST once again makes stupid mistakes and turnovers it could make the game much closer than it should be. If the OL can't give Rodgers adequate protection he'll go into "jitters" mode and the game will be much closer than it should be.

I say the Packers win 24-21.

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Doug Niemczynski's picture

December 01, 2018 at 02:01 pm

Whoopie doopie

Another round of cleaning house is in order not Sundays game GB v. ARI

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henry113's picture

December 01, 2018 at 03:28 pm

This bunch of underachievers will find a way to make this game interesting. Some way some how this will be a close game. They should win by 3 touchdowns but they will find a way to turn the ball over and make bonehead plays.

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cheesehead1's picture

December 01, 2018 at 04:12 pm

Such a disappointing season thus far. Since the first game against the Bears, at times they look lost and uninspired. I’m certain Gutekunst will be making major moves in the offseason. Time for Perry, Cobb to move on. They’re constantly injured and getting older. King is another oft injured player. I keep hearing what a talent he is, but many times he’s not available.

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Igotthisround's picture

December 01, 2018 at 04:17 pm

The #1 matchup Sunday - the Arizona Cardinals vs a Green Bay snowstorm.
One of the best parts about winter is that a warm-weather team might have to play in the snow at Lambeau.

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Skip greenBayless's picture

December 01, 2018 at 05:54 pm

Agree with you Igotthisround and thank you for bringing up the weather. This game could go any way simply because of the snow that is predicted. Trust me that field will be white tomorrow which means the ball will be very slippery. Anything can happen. Every single Packers receiver is from the west coast or the south including the qb and the running backs. Green Bay currently is not built for cold weather. Not even close. Now the Packers should win easy you would think but I'm at the point where this current team can't be trusted... not even with a team from a desert playing in a snowstorm. That's how bad this season has gone for me.

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dobber's picture

December 01, 2018 at 04:33 pm

Daniels and Trevor Davis officially go to IR.

Packers promote FB Dan Vitale from practice squad and officially activate some guy named Kumerow...

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Skip greenBayless's picture

December 01, 2018 at 06:11 pm

I truly believe the snowstorm tomorrow during the game is God's way of letting Mike McCarthy know that he wasn't too happy not playing Kumerow last week. Kumerow, who some have suggested looks like Jesus and plays like Jordy, will be the only standout receiver in the group as he will by some miracle be the only receiver on both teams that appears as though he's gliding on the snow while all others slip and fall. I predict he scores and a new Lambeau Leap of Faith is born. This will be our "galvanizing moment".

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ricky's picture

December 01, 2018 at 06:18 pm

Kumerow is not the second coming of Nelson. At this point, Rodgers has almost no chemistry with Kumerow because they have not played together except for a few plays in the exhibition season. To expect an offensive renaissance because of the addition of an unfamilar WR is not very sensible, IMO. If Nelson had been cut and picked up on waivers I'd be much more optimistic. But Kumerow? Glad he's getting a chance, but this is not going to be the spark this team is looking for.

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Skip greenBayless's picture

December 01, 2018 at 11:14 pm

ok ricky, fair enough. You don't see Jordy in Kumerow. Can you and I at least agree that he looks like Jesus?

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Rufus's picture

December 01, 2018 at 04:38 pm

Mr David, matchup #2. Fitzgerald vs Alexander. 6'4" beats 5'10" all day long. If Rosen gets time to throw, Larry Fitz will give Alexander Fitz. He will take him to school.

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Lphill's picture

December 01, 2018 at 04:46 pm

Game will be close will not cover the spread. MM is still the coach he will make it a game.

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Kb999's picture

December 01, 2018 at 07:25 pm

Unfortunately your right.

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The TKstinator's picture

December 01, 2018 at 10:59 pm

You’re
Unless
Your right
Hand doesn’t know
What the left
Is doing

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Thebearsstillsuck's picture

December 01, 2018 at 07:38 pm

The cardinals have a match up nightmare running back, a all time legendary receiver who has had some huge games against us before, and a top notch pass rusher. I hoping for and almost expecting to win, but I think we should hold off on saying it's going to be a blowout.

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Doug Niemczynski's picture

December 01, 2018 at 08:35 pm

Kareem Hunt is a available...

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Doug Niemczynski's picture

December 01, 2018 at 08:37 pm

Well, he could really help us out if we have a snowball fight. We might be able to win that.

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dblbogey's picture

December 01, 2018 at 09:14 pm

Or a girl beating contest.

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Skip greenBayless's picture

December 01, 2018 at 11:20 pm

What impressed me most about that video was Kareem's strength. I would put him on defense. Did you see the double ricochet hit? He pushed a guy who then went flying and hit the girl who fell to the ground for a huge loss. Was I the only one here who thought this reminded me of the Jaire Alexander hit last week. He pushed Diggs who then fell into Thielen for the takedown. I would love Kareem on defense and possibly kicker. I also heard he can do that too. Quite the skill set.

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stockholder's picture

December 01, 2018 at 09:49 pm

Why do you think a veteran is better than a good rookie? The packers have had so many new faces come in. Veterans. Why the revolving door? We would not have gotten Wilkerson if it wasn't for the coach. Do they resign him? Fire the staff and he won't. Why?

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albert999's picture

December 01, 2018 at 09:33 pm

NFL should be fined and Roger Goodel should loose his job
https://bleacherreport.com/articles/2808771-chiefs-reportedly-told-to-st...

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

December 02, 2018 at 01:48 am

I can't think of a single thing that Goodel or the NFL did wrong in this situation.

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Donster's picture

December 02, 2018 at 09:24 am

The Cleveland Police and that county's District Attorney should be at fault more than the league. They either blew the situation off, or are complete bunglers when it comes to an investigation. Wouldn't you think that you would want to nail an NFL player who doesn't play for the Brownies? One who plays in the Brownies own conference?

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The TKstinator's picture

December 02, 2018 at 09:46 am

What ever happened to those adorable McDonald Land characters?
The hambungler was my favorite!

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henry113's picture

December 02, 2018 at 10:56 am

The only one to blame is Kareem Hunt. The NFL only cares about money.

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Johnblood27's picture

December 02, 2018 at 11:06 am

KHunt...

Sounds like he is named appropriately.

What a POS.

The more this story comes out, the more I just dont want to support any professional sports anymore.

Self important, spoiled, irresponsible millionaires.

Im sickened.

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