Football

NFC GameDay: Green Bay Packers at Arizona Cardinals

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers watched much of the first meeting with the Cardinals from this position. He’ll need to change his perspective to have a chance against Arizona in Saturday’s playoff.
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers watched much of the first meeting with the Cardinals from this position. He’ll need to change his perspective to have a chance against Arizona in Saturday’s playoff. AP

5. Green Bay Packers (11-6) at 2. Arizona Cardinals (13-3)

TV: 7:15 p.m. Saturday, KXAS/5 Line: Cardinals by 7

Playoff records: Packers 32-20; Cardinals 6-8

Last playoff game: Packers won wild-card game 35-18 at Washington, Jan. 10, 2016. Cardinals lost wild-card game 27-16 at Carolina, Jan. 3, 2015.

2015 leaders: Packers: QB Aaron Rodgers 347-572 for 3,821 yards, 31 TDs, 8 INTs; RB Eddie Lacy 187-758, 3 TDs; WR James Jones 50-890, 8 TDs. Cardinals: QB Carson Palmer 342-537 for 4,671 yards, 35 TDs, 11 INT; RB Chris Johnson 196-814, 3 TDs; WR Larry Fitzgerald 109-1,215, 9 TDs.

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Notable: Familiarity counts, but cuts both ways. Green Bay is in the postseason for a seventh consecutive season, matched only by New England. That’s a positive. But these teams met in the desert after Christmas and the Packers were no match for Arizona, losing 38-8, gaining 178 yards, with season-highs in turnovers (4) and sacks (9) and playing at times without four starting offensive linemen. The Cardinals’ season-ending blip against Seattle (a 36-6 home loss) spoiled a run of nine consecutive wins and is a taste they’ve waited two weeks to rinse away. Green Bay suits up six days after beating Washington, and it’s doubtful that Pro Bowl cornerback Sam Shields (concussion) will be available against an Arizona team that set club records for wins (13), points (489) and total yards (6,533) this season. In a 12-year career that includes 259 touchdowns and more than 40,000 passing yards, QB Carson Palmer has played only two postseason games. He was in for one play before a horrible knee injury in a loss to Pittsburgh in 2006, and a full-game loss to the New York Jets in 2009. Palmer’s chance of reaching a Super Bowl will never be better.

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