Sunday, November 04, 2012

Packers vs. Cardinals: who wants it more?

Today's game at Lambeau Field between the Green Bay Packers and the Arizona Cardinals is one of those games which could very well be a trap game of sorts for the Packers. The team comes off a lackluster win against the hapless Jacksonville Jaguars last Sunday; favored by 15 points, they managed to win 24-15 in a game that always seemed much closer that that.

Today, the Packers are favored by 10-1/2 points. They come into the game -- as they did last week -- with many injuries to key players and back ups. The team's bye week follows this game. Head coach Mike McCarthy has offered an incentive to his weary team: win today and they get the whole bye week to themselves. That would seem to be a pretty good incentive, along with going into the bye at 6-3 instead of 5-4, which will make a whole lot of difference on the other side of the bye as 5 of the 7 remaining games come against NFC North Division opponents. The Packers need to win this game at home today. Period.

The Cardinals need this game even more than the Packers do. They come into this game 4-4 and desperate for a win to keep pace in their division. They are a team that, despite lesser talent even given the Packers' injuries, will give the Packers everything they have. The Packers don't need a perfect game to win today, but they will need to play with more energy than was the case last week; if they let Arizona hang around as they did with the Jags last Sunday it could be an upset in the making. But I think after hearing about their poor performance from the coaches, fans and even inside their own locker room, the players will be more on their game.

Plus, expect to see a bit more of RB James Starks today. While coach McCarthy feels Alex Green has earned his time at starting running back, Starks will get his share of reps today as well. That could definitely help out the passing game, which was also stuck in neutral most of last week's game. WR Jordy Nelson is expected to be a game-time decision. My guess is that he will be held out of this game to give his hamstring plenty of time to heal up, especially with the bye week added in.

So, bottom line prediction...I realize I didn't go into as much depth and analysis here today as is sometimes the case with these posts, but lack of time necessitates me cutting to the chase...Packers 27 - Cardinals 17.

Go Pack Go!!!