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Saturday, January 16, 2016

NFL 2015 NFC Divisional Round (Packers vs Cardinals)

The Green Bay Packers are battle-tested. During the regular season, they played 6 of the 12 teams that qualified for this year's NFL playoffs. They won 3 and lost 4 of these games. They won 7 of their other 9 games.

Tonight the Packers face the Arizona Cardinals, one of the playoff teams that beat them. It was the Packers' worst loss of the season, a 38-8 drubbing where neither team bothered to score in the fourth quarter. This late season game further convinced people the Cardinals could come out of the NFC, and made more doubters for the Packers.

It reached such a level where many thought the Washington Redskins could defeat the Packers in last week's Wild Card matchup. The Packers shook off whatever self-doubt they had after losing their last two regular season games, failing to win the NFC North division for the fifth straight time.

This matchup - Green Bay At Arizona (-7; 49.5) - is all about the Packers defense. For the season, the Arizona Cardinals have won every game (13) where they scored 23 or more points.

The most telling loss was Week 6 to the Pittsburgh Steelers, where Carson Palmer threw 2 INTS and only 1 TD, while throwing for 414 Yards. The Steelers limited the Cards to Field Goals and stopped the run, on way to a 25-13 victory.

The Cardinals have an explosive offense - passing and rushing. They couple that with an opportunistic defense that bests the Packers defense when it comes to Interceptions and Fumbles.

Though the onus is on the Packers defense, the offensive game plan will determine much of its success. Packers simply have to take the air out of the ball and convert on third down.

The numbers favor the Cardinals (.684) while giving the Packers a puncher's chance at  .316.

So, I take the Cardinals (UNDER) because there is just too much for the Packers to overcome. Pick wisely, and check out the pick for the other playoff games.

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