Sunday, January 03, 2010

Packers - Cardinals Preview

It's difficult to preview a game such as this when it may or may not mean a lot to one team and really doesn't mean all that much to the other.

By kickoff time, though, the Cardinals will know whether they are playing for something or not. That all depends upon whether or not the Giants are able to upset the ViQueens in the Humpty Dump in the early game today. If so, the Cards can be playing for a better seeding. If not, well, in all likelihood these two teams will be seeing each other again next weekend in Arizona in the first round of the playoffs.

If the latter is the scenario that plays out, the game might be more like an exhibition game, with starters playing a while to keep sharp but not wanting to play too long to get exposed to possible injury. That might be the scenario the Packers roll with today regardless, despite all the words from the coaches and the players that they will be playing to win. Although that begs the question: win which's or next week's?

If the the 'Queens lose and the Cards have something to play for, they could win by a good margin as it's likely the Pack will not want to put their key starters at risk very long today. If you see them go a full 3 quarters that would be about the most to be expected. If both the Pack and Cards aren't playing for anything, it will be a vanilla game and it could go either way.

For all these reasons, I just call it as a "pick 'em" game today. The Packers' target is clearly the next game, not this one. Still, getting backup players some game time today would be a big help going forward.

Playoff Scenarios

The Packers will play Arizona if:
the Packers win
or the Packers lose and the Cowboys win

The Packers will play Dallas if:
the Packers lose, the Vikings lose and the Cowboys win

The Packers will play Minnesota if:
the Packers lose, the Vikings lose and the Cowboys lose

More records today?

While there isn't much to play for in terms of playoff seeding, yes, getting to 11-5 would be nice. But there are also some individual and team records that could be set today...depending.

WR Donald Driver needs 4 yards to reach 1,000 yards receiving for the season, which would extend his own franchise record to a seventh overall season with 1,000 receiving yards. And if Driver makes just one catch today, he will have caught at least one pass in 126 consecutive games. Go Donald Go!!!

Also, when that happens, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, NFL history will be made. It would be the first offensive unit in league history to produce a 4,000-yard passer (Aaron Rodgers), a 1,200-yard rusher (Ryan Grant) and two 1,000-yard receivers (Driver and Greg Jennings) in back-to-back seasons.

Now really, how cool is that?

As Packer fans know, QB Aaron Rodgers last week became the first passer in NFL history to throw for more than 4,000 yards in his first two seasons as a starter. Rogers needs 260 yards against Arizona today to break the single-season franchise mark. Probably not likely given how long Rodgers might play. But you never know. Still, building the kind of stats Rodgers has over his first two seasons as a starter makes it a lot easier to forget Ol' #4...what was his name again...???

RB Ryan Grant became the third running back in team history to post back-to-back 1,200-yard seasons. He already has a career-high 10 rushing touchdowns and is two yards short of a career yardage mark. Grant not only doesn't get the respect he deserves in the league but he also is underappreciated by most Packer fans. He's not flashy, but as we were reminded last week, give the man a hole to run through and he can go the distance.

WR Greg Jennings went over the 1,000-yard mark in receiving against the Seahawks last weekend, becoming just the fifth player in Packers' history to do so in consecutive seasons.