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Why the Packers Will Beat Arizona and Why They Might Not

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Why the Packers Will Beat Arizona and Why They Might Not

When it comes to the Green Bay Packers and their current status, rock bottom seems like a good description. However, the team hasn't hit that point just yet. No, that would come with a loss Sunday to the lowly Arizona Cardinals.

It seems wrong to call the Cardinals lowly when the Packers have just two more wins than they do. Arizona has a poor record, but the fact is, the Cardinals have some talent, more than enough to upset the Packers Sunday, if, Green Bay shows up unprepared.

For years, the Packers effort has been frustrating. Seemingly every year, Green Bay starts off slow and builds momentum at the end of the season. There were some legitimate excuses, such as always having young teams and having a strong home-field advantage in December. Yet, there shouldn't be an excuse for always starting slow, not when you have one of the best quarterbacks in the history of the NFL.

Even when things have gone well for the Packers under Mike McCarthy, it has been a struggle. When the team won the Super Bowl, it did so after a 10-6 season, forcing it to win four straight games on the road. In 2014, the Packers started 1-2 before reaching the NFC title game and collapsing, failing to win after building a 16-point advantage. In 2016, Green Bay was 4-6 before running the table.

It's great to finish strong but why not start strong too and I don't know, get home-field advantage. Maybe if Green Bay played Seattle at home in 2014 or Atlanta at home in 2016, Aaron Rodgers could have played in a second Super Bowl already.

As far as how this relates to Arizona, well, if the Packers fail to show up again, they will have a battle on their hands and while Mike McCarthy is coaching for his job right now, if his team losses at home to Arizona, a team with a rookie quarterback, the fight might be over. He knows that and his players should too. 

It will be interesting to see how this team and more specifically, how Rodgers responds. If he wants his coach to stick around, he should wipe the disinterested look off his face and start playing like it. 

Those are all things to watch and with that in mind here is a look at why the Packers will win this game, as well as why they may not.

Why Green Bay will win

The Packers will win this game because they have to and also because they are simply a better team right now. Arizona does have some very talented players such as pass rusher Chandler Jones, who has 11 sacks, running back David Johnson, corner Patrick Peterson and wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, who has only 460 yards this season but still has five touchdowns. Johnson has over 1,000 total yards and Peterson has two interceptions.

Rosen, the rookie from UCLA is also starting to figure things out. He is completing 55 percent of his passes and has 10 touchdowns to go along with 11 interceptions, however, there is no denying his physical ability. You can bet he will want to play well with Rodgers playing opposite him too. Winning this game would be a very nice feather in his cap. 

Those guys are all reasons why Arizona may be able to make this game competitive, but as far as the Packers are concerned, this game is a statement about where this season is going to go. Are they going to go through the motions and win a close game against the Cards? Or, will the Packers finally grab a sense of urgency and blow out Arizona, a team they absolutely win handily against.

Much of that will be up to the quarterback, who hasn't met his usual standard of excellence this season. On paper, Rodgers is a having a great year. He's completing 61 percent of his throws; he has 20 touchdowns and only one interception. Yet, his QBR is 52 and 50 is around average. Basically, he's been an average player and that's why Green Bay is 4-6-1. Well, one reason anyway.

The past few weeks, his failure on third down has been startling and his wide-open miss to Davante Adams in the end zone, on the final drive vs Minnesota, made you wonder if he was trying to fail on purpose. Literally, it was that bad of a miss.

Looking back to Seattle, on a key third down, instead of hitting a wide-open Aaron Jones for a first down and maybe a touchdown, when he had plenty of time -- he took a sack. Green Bay kicked a field goal, went up four instead of eight and lost. That was a microcosm of this season and much of it has to do with the two-time MVP.

Rodgers and the Packers have often started slow and when they have started fast, they haven't been able to finish, such as in both Minnesota games, Seattle, the Rams and New England are all examples of that too. 

After the loss to the Vikings Rodgers said he needed to play better and he's right, he does.

If that starts against Arizona, Green Bay will win the game. It's that simple. But it will take more than Rodgers. He needs McCarthy to call a good game and avoid making terrible calls like the play he dialed up on 4th-and-1 against Minnesota. I mean, it shouldn't take a genius to know that running a dive, behind a journeyman offensive lineman on 4th-and-one, against a stout run defense, probably isn't the best call. But hey, we all have bad days.

The Packers have had a lot recently. At home, they have been a solid team, even though the inconsistency has followed. At least they have been able to win. On the road, the Packers are 0-6 this season. 0-6. That means they are unbeaten at home, which is another bad sign for the Cardinals.

Arizona also has the worst offense in the NFL and ranks 26th on defense, so on both sides of the ball, the Packers should be licking their chops and as long as Mike McCarthy hasn't completely lost this team, it should be an easy win.

Why Green Bay might lose

If the Packers lose it will because the team has, in fact, quit on McCarthy. There really would be no other way to explain it. Yes, Arizona has some dudes. I mean some big-time dudes. However, the quarterback is still just a pup and against Mike Pettine's defense, he should have some issues. Rodgers should be able to play circles around him. 

If Green Bay doesn't come out of the gates, grab an early lead and cruise to a double-digit win this week, it's just never going to happen. 

I am of the opinion that this team needs a change at head coach. However, if McCarthy can rally the troops again, maybe he is worth keeping. Yet, he still has to be able to turn this thing around and right now, there is no evidence that it will happen. 

It has to start somewhere and if it doesn't start tomorrow, the season will be over and so will the tenure of McCarthy. 

__________________________

Chris is a sports journalist from Montana and has been blogging about the Packers since 2011. Chris has been a staff writer for CheeseheadTV since 2017 and looks forward to the day when Aaron Rodgers wins his second Super Bowl. Follow him @thepackersguru

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (40) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Lare's picture

Simply put, the Packers (from the head coach on down) just need to quit making mistakes. This team isn't good enough to cover up for them, especially with all the injuries.

Nick Perry's picture

I have a solution...RUN AARON JONES!!!!!! Not only will he gain TONS of yardage but it will help keep the defense OFF the field. I'm all for a new HC in 2019 but there's no way I'll feel good about THIS team if they lose to the Cardinals and Josh Rosen.

UGH!!! The Thought! I wanna see a blowout and then watch Brady completely dismantle the Vikings. What an awesome way to end the weekend!

John Galt's picture

You said:

"I am of the opinion that this team needs a change at head coach. However, if McCarthy can rally the troops again, maybe he is worth keeping. "

What?

The coach has got to go but if the Packers beat a team
that is tied at 2 wins and 9 losses for the worst record in the NFL, he can stay?

Daren726's picture

Careful what you wish for. A new HC doesn’t guarantee a hit. It may take a couple years to figure out we got a dud. Even a good head coach will take a couple years to get rolling. Mcvay’s are not easy to find. Need a little luck. And Rodgers may be done by then?

Samson's picture

Again with the changing head coaches is a "risky" move.
Nagy seems to be doing fairly well in Chicago (1st year).
Pederson led Philly to the SB crown (2nd year).
Even Lombardi was "Coach of the Year" in his 1st season as Packer's HC. --- He took them to the NFL Championship game in season two as HC.
GB with MM as HC hasn't been to a SB since season 2010 with arguably the best QB in the NFL during the last 8 seasons.

Change can work but only if you're bold enough to try it.

Daren726's picture

This could be a fun game to watch if what Cobb says about Rodgers is true. It could be a get right game. But I’ve been waiting for that all year. And now it’s pretty much too late. I hope I’m entertained, but I’m still ready for a replay of the 49ers game also. That’s probably more likely.

Dash Riprock's picture

I don't see some huge big game for Rodgers today. Why? It's fricken snowing out there today and the field will be white with cold wet snow, the worst kind to play and throw the ball in. Rarely do qb's put up huge stats in game with weather conditions like this. If the Packers are to win it will be the short passing game and lots of Kumerow. If they refuse to play Kumerow today shame on Mike McCarthy. Shame shame shame.

mrtundra's picture

If the Packers lose to AZ, it will be because of no depth on the O Line. Injuries and third sting level play there will make Rodgers an easy target for any pass rush. I only hope Rodgers is mobile and can elude defenders.

Bert's picture

If the Packers lose to AZ it will be because the Packers didn't show up to play.

calabasa's picture

If the Packers lose today it’ll be because they score less points than the Cards.

Sorry, had to say that.

ReaganRulz's picture

I often wonder where the Packer defenders are. It seems that every play that goes into the “flats” whether it’s a run or pass.....there are no Packers within 10 yards. Then they seem to fly in to tackle and miss the tackle a majority of the time. When you watch the Rams, Chiefs, Bears, Alabama defenses, they are flying around the entire field. We probably don’t have the athletes to do this, but it so frustrating to watch. Guarantee that David Johnson will have at least 2 runs or screen receptions that go for 20+ yards each.

Doug_In_Sandpoint's picture

Why the Packers will win: one word...Kumerow.
(Is he dressing?)

Since '61's picture

Janis 2.0 at best. Thanks, Since '61

Lare's picture

I disagree. Janis couldn't make it in the NFL because he was never where he was supposed to be on pass plays. According to Rodgers, Kumerow knows the plays and is where he's supposed to be.

The TKstinator's picture

Ranch is dressing.

Kumerow is a football player.

Dash Riprock's picture

Amen TK, Amen. It's a holy Sunday, it's snowing like a dickens out in Green Bay at the moment, you're damn right Kumerow is playing. He's the only receiver that has experience playing in the snow. Kumerow will dominate in this game unlike any other receiver. If they pass it's going to be short due to the cold wet snow. I predict Kumerow gets 6 catches for 87 yards and 1 Lambeau Leap of Faith. Fans go crazy. Twitter explodes. Listening to the news last night. The sports commentator says legend has it Kumerow, a product of UW Whitewater was "able to walk on water" according to some fans as he became the all time receiving leader in history. I am telling you folks, get ready to experience something very special. The 2nd coming is just about here. Jordy I am sure will be watching.

The TKstinator's picture

Not only does he walk on water, he runs crisp routes in snow.

Dash Riprock's picture

Yep, don't you just hate the nonbelievers here TK?

The TKstinator's picture

I just chalk it up to (how do the kids say it?) “haters gonna hate!”

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to put my cap on frontwards again.

Packers0808's picture

Wow a you really scratching to find maybe something positive for this years catastrophe!

stockholder's picture

No way they lose in front of a home crowd. But the lesser fans will keep hoping they lose. MM is their escape goat. A-Rods 61.7 completion percentage ranks 28th in the NFL. His words. " it's execution, it's the little details that puts us in the red zone, that puts points on the board. No S**t! Little gains Arron, are just as important as big ones. 28th in the NFL is not what the packers paid for. Hopefully A-Rod won't stink it up Sunday.

SJ EC's picture

We’ve seen this one before: a team that has no right hanging around has their best game of their year..,

A QB who struggles with every other game on the schedule shows up and looks like a world-beater against our defense...

Teams who can’t run/pass/defend th then etc. magically find a way to turn it on against the Packers....

I feel like the Packers win this one, but it would be nice to make a statement of some sort in the way that we win (even if it is against the 2-9 Cards)

Since '61's picture

With snow and windy weather predicted for the game and the Cardinals with nothing to play for the Packers should win this game. The only question is will the Packers show up and play.

They have numerous injuries to overcome but they should be fine at home. Given the conditions this could be a defensive battle and maybe our defense will help to carry the day for once. Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since '61

Lphill's picture

Reason they won’t win, Mike McCarthy , no other reason .

Gort's picture

They could win
+ they should win
+ they must win
= MM gone before midnight if they don't win.

The TKstinator's picture

I’d be beyond shocked if that happens before the season ends.
And
I think most of us are expecting it to happen AFTER the season ends.
I’ve never seen the walls covered with this much writing before.

Gort's picture

Probably, but remember how quickly Montgomery was gone.

Donster's picture

In the past few years, the Packers have allowed poor teams, with rookie or back up QB's, to shred them. Hopefully, the snow and cold will keep Rosen from having much success. Cards will run the ball as much as they can. This will cause the Pack defense problems.

A little more than a month ago many of us here stated that the tough games that were coming up would be a good measurement of how good this Packer team was. And we were very disappointed to say the least. Losing today could measure just how bad this team really is.

Coming out and showing what they are capable of doing, even with all the injuries, will help the young members of the team feel more confident in the potential for success down the road. Losing most if not all the remaining games will just cause the Cancer to grow. Will it mean MM will be gone? Maybe yes, maybe no. I think it will be yes, finally, after the constant decline of the team over the past few years. It started with TT, and MM won't change. Rodgers really needs the change to be made at head coach. And he needs to get his act together too. Yes, there are no guarantees that the new head coach and staff will take this team to the promised land. But the current staff is showing it is no longer capable of doing that. At least on offense, special teams, and the Strength and Conditioning department.

Portland Mark's picture

Chris mentions the 2010 team in this article. That team had the biggest point differential in the NFC. They had incredible depth. Back then Rodgers salary was about 6% of the total. When a team has a super star QB and pay him 15-20% of the total team salary it doesn't leave any room to add depth to the roster. Even when the Packers do draft and develop, they let the players leave when they are starting to get real good. While Rodgers may still be great at times, he'll never be as good as he was at age 27 when he was making about 6% of the total team salary. I wish they would have just blown up the salary cap and tried to load up for a run this year and then see where they are after Rodgers' contract expired. Now, it just seems that they will be overpaying for an aging QB and have their hands tied financially.

Tarynfor12's picture

Packers will likely win but from the win comes a loss. The continued denial of how bad this team is....hurting..
Cobb says that Rodgers is going to light it up...big deal.
The author here says if the Packers win big enough MM may keep his job.
Rodgers gets a win on his b'day and fans cheer but still get nothing of importance in return.
Kumerow will be the savior...until he isn't.
Rodgers is the savior or no one is.
Aaron Jones will run ,run,run..until he isn't allowed.
CM3 is worth keeping...not.
Perry will play great next season...not.
We have Kenny Clark...maybe not much longer...money.
New HC will be like____ and Rodgers will deliver...highly questionable.

The odds are better that the Packers will begin another dark age era even with Rodgers, looking older by the week, and this game vs Arizona is just a last gasp false breath of air before the______________

Samson's picture

Pretty dark assessment -- even worse -- it's difficult to dispute.

My hope is still that season 2018 was basically a 'throw-away season' that gets MM a bus ticket out of GB. -- Then the Pack will rise from the near dead to the SB in season 2019 with AR once again being mentioned in the same sentence as Starr, Montana, Brady, etc.

However, another "dark age era" may be in the cards. --- Hope not. -- I suffered through the 70s & 80s.

Tarynfor12's picture

To see the light one must get through the dark.

To get through the dark,one must accept it is and then the light will be seen and be more able to move directly toward it.

The Packers have been trying to move the light to where they wanted it to go, bad drafts,FA signings,lack of coach firings etc, being acclaimed as good,

The Packers have thrown away seasons by shining the light of glory on inept players and bad decisions.

Dash Riprock's picture

I agree Taryn. I wrote about those same fears yesterday. The dark days could be on the horizon very shortly. The decisions they make at the top will have huge implications for the next decade. They better get it right. To me this is almost like the early 70's when Bart Starr was just about done. What happened next was an absolute disaster that lasted over 20 years. Again, I hope this get this right this offseason.

Packers0808's picture

Think a really good wake up call for Rodgers by McCarthy to show who is in control would be sit Rodgers a while when game starts. That should either really make him mad and play good or pout, either way would be one hell of a lesson that he is not bigger than the team! Just a thought.

Tarynfor12's picture

Benching Rodgers would be like MM banging of Gute/Murphy's door demanding to be fired.
No way is MM that stupid no matter what he shows on the field as a HC.

Johnblood27's picture

you got some skin in the game today?

You playin GB to cover?

Tarynfor12's picture

I do but I had to tease the number down to 9.....last time I take GB this season...banking on Ari being much worse than GB.

Packers0808's picture

Totally disagree I think McCarthy would be thanked by leadership for guts that Murphy or Gute doesn't seem to have!

Rossonero's picture

We'll win if we stop beating ourselves--- wasted timeouts, stupid penalties, turnovers and poor execution.

HoLeCrap's picture

Pass D Pass D. Any team with an average passer can beat the pack. Ted T wasted picks on losers. Then we let two guys that needed to be coached up, go for almost nothing in return.
Ted is gone, Mike is now gone time to upgrade seriously

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