The Arizona Cardinals visit Lambeau Field this week in desperate need of a win, having lost their last four games after starting 4-0. The Green Bay Packers have won three straight and want to head into their much needed bye week at 6-3. Let’s jump into the key matchups that will determine the fate of this week’s game.
Offensive Lines vs. Pass Rush
Both Green Bay and Arizona head into this game in 1st and 2nd place, respectively, in QB sacks. Each is also surrendering more than any team. Many have already dubbed this game a “sack fest”. Of course, games aren’t played on paper as we saw last week in the Packers/Jaguars game.
Each team’s offensive line has come under fire this season for inconsistent play.
Green Bay’s unit has struggled in their run blocking as well as in spots in pass blocking. Newly acquired center Jeff Saturday hasn’t been what many Packer fans had hoped thus far. Steady right tackle Bryan Bulaga has committed more penalties than in the past.
Arizona’s line has had troubles of their own. Who could forget that week 5 game against St. Louis in which Cardinal quarterback Kevin Kolb was sacked nine times in a losing effort. Just a few weeks later, Kolb would be taken down five times by the Buffalo Bills and forced out of that game with a rib injury.
It would seem like this will become a chess match in who can more creatively protect their quarterback. Putting added protection in the backfield means less hands available at receiver. With Packer wideout’s Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson likely to miss this game, it puts each team’s receiving units at about equal. Arizona has All-Pro receiver Larry Fitzgerald on their side while the Packers have the hot hands in Randall Cobb and James Jones.
It goes without saying that the team that wins this battle likely sits in the driver’s seat to a win on Sunday.
If the Cardinals should elect to blitz Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, they better have a backup plan. Rodgers is, once again, having a stellar season throwing against the blitz. At least ten of his 21 TD passes this season have come against an added pass rusher.