Packers Cardinals Playoff Preview
GREEN BAY MUST SOLVE ARIZONA RIDDLE OR THEY'LL GET ROUTED AGAIN!
The next-to-last week of the NFL regular season saw the Green Bay Packers get absolutely slaughtered 38-8 by the Arizona Cardinals. The final margin was a little inflated because the hosts scored two fumble return touchdowns. But...Arizona won total yardage by a 381-178 count, and yards-per-play by an even more dominant 6.8 to 2.8. It was a legitimate blowout...one that could repeat this Saturday when the two teams meet in the same field in the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs.
Can Green Bay solve the Arizona riddle? Can they figure out how to move the ball downfield without averaging less than three yards-per-play and losing the ball FOUR times? A win in Washington last week provided some hope. But...that victory was largely a result of the Packers running at will through the pathetic Washington defense in the second half. Arizona's defense is much better, and extremely unlikely to get bullied.
Let's review the regular season numbers in JIM HURLEY'S key indicator stats to paint a picture of best expectations this Saturday night.
Green Bay: 10-6 (#9 ranked schedule according to Sagarin)
Arizona: 13-3 (#16 ranked schedule according to Sagarin)
Arizona was a legitimate 13-3 because that record came against a league average schedule. Green Bay maybe would have gone 11-5 vs. a league average schedule. But, the Packers offense struggled so often down the stretch vs. anyone with a defense that you have to worry about their chances of matching up. Remember that Arizona had a week off to get healthy and focused. Green Bay has to hope that Arizona spent the week getting nervous about playoff pressure!
Green Bay: 5.1 on offense, 5.5 on defense
Arizona: 6.3 on offense, 5.2 on defense
This is huge. Green Bay was NEGATIVE for the season in differential. Now they're playing on the road against a fresh team that knows how to make big plays. Things could really get nasty again if the Packers can't get things figured out. Maybe it won't be 38-8 because it's tough to replicate defensive scores. Take those away and it's still 24-8 with dominant stats. This YPP category shows you why Arizona should dominate GB in the stats. Green Bay has to face a 5.2 YPP defense. Horrible news if you're a Packers fan.
2015 Turnover Differential
Green Bay: +5
It was a tribute to the savvy of Aaron Rodgers that he could avoid turnover troubles with a struggling offense this season. Unfortunately, he couldn't do that on this field vs. this defense! When he has to force things, then interceptions and fumbles off of sacks come. It's vital that Green Bay move the chains on the ground while trying to shorten the game this week. It will be very tough to spring a road upset if they lose this turnover category.
2015 Market Performance
Green Bay: 9-7 ATS (5-11 to the Under)
Arizona: 9-7 ATS
Both teams made money this season. Green Bay is now 10-7 ATS if you count their Wildcard win. We're using regular season only in our previews this week to keep everyone at the same number of games in the stat sample size. Note that the market did consistently overestimate Green Bay's scoring potential during their down times. And, that first meeting stayed Under 50 even with two non-offensive scores!
Current Line: Arizona by 7, total of 50
Odd to see a 50 still up here given what happened in the first meeting. That tells you that some in the betting markets still believe Rodgers can at least make this a shootout. The projected score of 28.5 to 21.5 suggests three touchdowns on the board for the Pack. Optimistic unless the Cardinals defense loses a step because they become too cautious.
JIM HURLEY and his full team of experts will make sure clients get the best side and total Las Vegas betting options in all of this week's NFL action. You can purchase the final word each game day right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions about extended service through the NFL Super Bowl and college basketball's March Madness, please call us in the office at 1-800-323-4453 during normal business hours. If you haven't tried out the baskets yet, now is a great time to do so. You can build some bankroll Thursday and Friday so you'll have more in your pocket to invest in weekend football!
More big game previews coming up in the NOTEBOOK...
Weekend: NFL Wildcard Preview...Pittsburgh at Denver
Monday: College Basketball Conference Summary...the ACC to prepare for Syracuse at Duke
Tuesday-Wednesday: NBA TV Preview...Golden State at Chicago Wednesday night on ESPN
Thursday: NFL Conference Championship Preview (Game #1 of Doubleheader)
Weekend: NFL Conference Championship Preview (Game #2 of Doubleheader)
Read handicapping tips here in the NOTEBOOK...then link up with JIM HURLEY'S NETWORK for BIG, JUICY WINNERS!
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