The Green Bay Packers (5-3) take on the Arizona Cardinals (4-4) at home in a game they are widely expected to win. Currently the point spread stands at anywhere between 9.5 and 10.5 points.
Last week the Packers failed to cover the spread, having a harder time than many predicted knocking off a wounded Jacksonville Jaguars team. Arizona is a tough team. After a fast 4-0 start the Cardinals have lost four straight. But it is a record that belies a decent defence capable of getting after a passer, stopping a running game and covering receivers down field.
Look for Arizona cornerback, Patrick Peterson in defence and special teams. The former first round pick is an excellent coverage corner and an explosive returner. He will take on whomever the Packers top wide receiver will be this week. The banged up Green Bay receiver core is still recovering and receiver, Jordy Nelson may be able to play. If so he will be quarterback, Aaron Rodger’s leading target.
Meanwhile special teams is likely to have a significant role in this game. Last week, the Packers blocked a punt and returned it for a touchdown for the first time in over a decade. Cardinals punter, Dave Zastudil is an experienced veteran who has not had a punt blocked in seven years. It will be interesting to see whether Green Bay can make it two weeks in a row. But the really interesting matchup happens on the other side of special teams play when the Packers attempt to contain Peterson on Arizona punt returns.
On defence, the Cardinals have one of the worst offensive lines in the league, perhaps one of the worst of all time. Look for the line to struggle with blocking all-pro linebacker, Clay Matthews. Cardinals quarterback, John Skelton is not going to have an easy game. He is not helped by the Cardinals’ complete lack of a running game. This is partially due to the inability of the line to block but is also because their backfield is led by the less than spectacular LaRod Stephens-Howling. The less famous law firm has not made much of an impact since being drafted in the seventh round out of Pittsburgh four years ago.
All in all, it is unlikely to be a win for Arizona when they head up north. But that being said, the Cardinals have the ability to keep the game close. All it takes is a decent performance from their defence and a couple big plays from all-pro wide receiver, Larry Fitzgerald, who has not been shut down for most of the year.
The game will be shown at 1 PM EST on FOX. The southwest, northeast and Mississippi valley will be able to watch the game on local channels. Anyone else will have to find alternative means.