Packers vs. Cardinals: How the NFC playoff teams match up

Packers vs. Cardinals: How the NFC playoff teams match up
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) was sacked eight times when they played the Cardinals on Dec. 27, including this one by linebacker Kenny Demens. (Jeff Haynes / Associated Press)

The Arizona Cardinals are looking to rekindle the past.

The past, as in, three weeks ago.


The Cardinals play host to Green Bay in an NFC divisional playoff game at 5:15 p.m. PST Saturday, welcoming back a team they beat last month, 38-8. The game will be televised on NBC.

Arizona sacked Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers eight times in that game and returned two of his fumbles for touchdowns.

Rodgers, disappointed as he was, predicted the Packers would play a lot better if a rematch were to happen.

"This was a playoff-style game and we played terrible," he said at the time, "but we have won a lot of games here. When you play long enough you are going to be on the wrong side at times, but I am confident that we have guys and myself that, when it matters for all the marbles, guys will show up."

The Packers have the most road wins (11) in postseason history.

The Cardinals are favored by seven points, but Green Bay Coach Mike McCarthy said he has reason for optimism after a 35-18 first-round victory at Washington.

"I feel very good coming off the performance we had Sunday and being able to turn right around and just keep going," McCarthy said. "We have a lot of energy and confidence right now."


Always a catch

The Cardinals don't have a robust history in the postseason, but receiver Larry Fitzgerald has some pretty impressive playoff numbers. He has nine touchdown receptions in his postseason career.

Fitzgerald needs one more touchdown catch to become the seventh player in NFL history with at least 10 in his career. Fred Biletnikoff, Antonio Freeman and Randy Moss all had 10. Former Pittsburgh great John Stallworth had 12.

It will be awfully tough to catch the leader in that category. Jerry Rice had 22.


Top shelf


The Cardinals have won at least 10 games in each of Coach Bruce Arians' three seasons. The NFL's two-time coach of the year is 34-14 since coming to Arizona, the most victories during a three-year span in club history.


By the numbers

How teams compare statistically. All stats are per-game averages, except for turnover differential, which is for the season (league rank in parentheses):


Points scored: 23.0 (15) | 30.6 (2)

Points allowed: 20.2 (12) | 19.6 (T7)

Pass offense: 218.9 (25) | 288.5 (2)

Rush offense: 115.6 (12) | 119.8 (8)

Pass defense: 227.6 (6) | 230.4 (8)

Rush defense: 91.2 (5) | 91.2 (6)

Sacks: 43 (T7) | 36 (T20)

Penalty yards: 56.6 (15) | 47.4 (1)

Turnovers: +5 (T10) | +9 (4)


Farmer's pick

This game figures to be closer than Arizona's 30-point blowout of the Packers in December, but Green Bay's issues haven't gone away. The Packers are still going to have problems protecting Rodgers. Watch for a big game from Cardinals rookie running back David Johnson.