Game Day: Maintaining momentum will be key for the Packers against Cardinals
GLENDALE, Arizona — Maintaining the momentum will be key for the Green Bay Packers — set to face the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.
Kickoff is set for 7:15 p.m.
The Packers last faced the Cardinals on December 27th in the desert. The Packers lost the game, 38-8.
Heading into Saturday night’s game, the Packers are coming off a 35-18 win vs. the Washington Redskins this past Sunday, January 10th.
The Packers win came after the loss to the Cardinals, and subsequent loss to the Minnesota Vikings at Lambeau Field in the NFC North Division title game.
The Packers are well aware of what the Cardinals did to them when the teams met on December 27th. The Cardinals pinned the Pack’s ears back — winning by 30 points.
The team hopes to reap the benefits of their win over Washington leading into Saturday night’s rematch.
We’re in the playoffs, leading up to the Super Bowl, and this time of year, the best teams get it going and keep it rolling.
Are the Packers one of those teams? Can they keep the momentum going after the win in Washington?
“For us, the momentum is big. We played that last game, and coming in playing this game, it just keeps everything fresh. You don’t have the week off, so everything is just fresh in your mind. You can come out and play faster,” Mike Neal, Packers OL said.
“We turned it on last week. I said that the previous week — that we could flip that switch. I felt confident we would, and we did. Our defense is playing so well, and getting a lot of sacks. When we go up two scores on a team, it really makes it difficult on them. We’ve played these kind of games before. We’ve won these kind of games before. We’re going to rely on that experience and that passion we played with last week to hopefully carry over,” Aaron Rodgers, Packers QB said.
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Meanwhile, the Arizona Cardinals are preparing for a team they beat pretty good just two weeks ago.
“The last game really has no bearings on this game — and it`s win or go home,” Bruce Arians, Cardinals head coach said.
“You know, we`re focused on the 2016 Green Bay Packers. That was the ’15 Green Bay Packers. Things have changed a little bit. There`s not a lot of confidence carrying over from that game. We`re focusing on this team. Things have changed a little bit here and there — but it`s the playoffs. It`s different — so we can`t rely on what`s happened a couple of weeks ago,” Carson Palmer, Cardinals QB said.
The Packers know they can’t have a repeat of last month’s performance in Arizona. The Packers turned the ball over four times — and the Cardinals defense scored more points than Green Bay’s offense!
So what changed about the Packers offense in Washington?
“I think we’re going to play up tempo like we did last week. Try and get as many plays off as we can, as quick as possible and make them adjust,” Rodgers said.
“Once we get a first down, it’s hard to stop us. Once we get our tempo going — that’s just the way we play. That’s the way we practice. When we get in the huddle, when we get to huddling up, that’s not our tempo. We’re not good when we do it,” James Jones, Packers WR said.
“Definitely — it’s a key. It’s been a key since last year. The no huddle up tempo offense that we do well when we’re doing it. It’s going to be key for us this week,” Corey Linsley, Packers center said.
A lot of the Packers offensive tempo is controlled by the offensive line. If they’re on, the run game goes. If they’re on, Aaron Rodgers has time to control the air attack. Two weeks ago, the O line was really banged up — and it showed. Rodgers was sacked eight times vs. the Cardinals!
Last week vs. the Redskins, Rodgers was sacked just once. His blockers looked unstoppable.
Have the Cardinals noticed the difference?
“They look much better with their offensive line and obviously Aaron was pretty sharp — but the running game is what got them going,” Coach Arians said.