Both the Arizona Cardinals (12-2) and Green Bay Packers (10-4) are in the playoffs, but the two will meet in Week 16 at Lambeau Field fighting for more than just a seat at the table. A road win would lock up second place in the NFC for Arizona and give them a first-round bye. For Green Bay, a win and a Minnesota loss would clinch the NFC North for a fifth straight year.
Carson Palmer’s comeback season continued as he threw for 274 yards and a touchdown in last week’s 40-17 win over Philadelphia, the Cardinals’ eight straight victory. Palmer’s 4,277 yards and 32 touchdowns are good for No. 3 in the league and one more touchdown pass will set a single-season career-high for the 36-year old. His target of choice is Larry Fitzgerald, who has gone over 1,000 yards receiving for the seventh time in his career and needs five receptions to give himself a career-high 104 in a season.
Questions have also been answered in the Arizona backfield as rookie David Johnson has emerged, averaging 5.4 yards per carry in his three starts. Johnson totaled 187 yards on 29 attempts and three touchdowns in the win over the Eagles and has taken over the starting job after injuries to both Andre Ellington and Chris Johnson. Arizona ran for a total of 230 yards last week, their tenth game surpassing 100 yards. Green Bay has allowed over 100 yards on the ground in four straight games.
The Cardinals offense ranks No. 1 in yards (422.9) and No. 2 in points (31.8) per game. The Packers rank No. 5 in scoring defense (18.9) and have given up more than 20 points just once in the last six games.
Green Bay won their third game in a row when they beat Oakland 30-20 on the road last week. Aaron Rodgers threw for 204 yards and a touchdown, his fifth straight game throwing for under 300. He also threw his sixth interception, three of which have come in the last four weeks. Rodgers still has 29 touchdown passes and leads the No. 10 scoring offense in the league (24.8 points per game). This week, he gets the NFL’s No. 15 pass defense without standout defensive back Tryann Matheiu, a Pro-Bowler who tore his ACL last week.
The Packers’ No. 9-ranked ground game is headed by Eddie Lacy and James Starks, who both average 4.1 yards per carry. The duo led the way for 103 yards last week, 230 the week before and four out of five games surpassing 100 rushing yards. This week they meet the No. 4 rush defense in Arizona, who allows just 86.7 yards per game.
Something has to give as Arizona is 3-0 against the NFC North and Green Bay is 3-0 against the NFC West this season.
Start Time: 4:25
TV Channel: FOX
Betting Odds: Arizona -5.5