5 Things Green Bay Packers Must Do To Defeat Arizona Cardinals
5 Keys to Victory against Arizona Cardinals
The Green Bay Packers (5-3) will host the Arizona Cardinals (4-4) at legendary Lambeau Field this Sunday at 1:00 PM ET. Green Bay cannot take Arizona for granted as there are at least five things they must do if they want to come out winners.
The Packers are currently riding a three-game win streak and are victorious in four of their last five games. If the team could have scored more than six points in the second half against the Indianapolis Colts (4-3), they would be currently in the midst of a five-game win streak.
The Cardinals, on the other hand, started the season very strong as they turned out a 4-0 record in the first quarter. However, since then they have slumped badly in which all phases of their game has suffered. In the second quarter of the season, Arizona posted a 0-4 record with no hope in sight. The Cardinals must travel to Green Bay and then to the Atlanta Falcons (7-0) the following week in which the team could be facing a six-game losing skid on Nov. 18.
Green Bay has no choice but to keep winning games as the Chicago Bears (6-1) currently sit atop the NFC North. The Packers cannot afford to drop any further back at the midway point of the season. With a bye week following the game against Arizona, Green Bay must take care of business and then recharge the battery in preparation for a brutal schedule in the second half of the season.
Michael is a MLB and NBA Featured Writer for Rant Sports, but covers topics for various teams in baseball, basketball, and football. Make sure to follow Michael on Twitter @MichaelTerrill and on Facebook.
Keep the Pressure On
The Packers must keep the pressure on in two different ways. For starters, the Cardinals have surrendered the most sacks in the NFL with 39. This is nine more than the second place team, which just so happens to be Green Bay. The Packers’ defense is also tied for the most sacks in the league with 26, which means Clay Matthews and company should have a field day. However, the Cardinals are the other team with 26 sacks and that could mean trouble.
I have already mentioned Arizona currently has a four-game loss streak. The Packers must do everything they can to keep the pressure on the entire Cardinals team. If Arizona gets down early or feels they are unable to win the game, they may fold like a deck of cards before the second half even starts.
Establish Alex Green
Head coach Mike McCarthy stated that he expects more from Alex Green after the second year running back did not play well against the Jacksonville Jaguars. McCarthy has already given Green a boost of confidence by not trading for a veteran running back. Now, Green must prove his worth and show why he deserves the starting job.
The Packers rank 26th in the NFL in rushing yards (90.1) and desperately need to improve this number to help keep pass rushers off of Aaron Rodgers. The only way to do this is to establish Green and open up holes so he can rush for more than 2.9 yards per carry. Green has the talent to have a break out game and he may never get a better chance than against an Arizona team that allows 119.9 yards per contest, which is good for 21st in the league.
Pass Game Must Get Going Early
Rodgers and the receivers have finally got the passing game off the ground, even though there were a few hiccups last week against the Jaguars. The air attack will have to be in full flight against a Cardinals team that ranks fourth in the NFL in passing yards allowed, as they have held opponents to 192.9 per game.
However, Arizona has given up nine receiving touchdowns in eight games this season. Considering Rodgers leads the NFL with 21 passing touchdowns, it could make for a very interesting ball game when Green Bay is in the red zone. The Packers’ first priority must be to complete passes early and often to set up the run.
Force the Run
The Cardinals have not been particularly good at passing or running this season, which is a main reason why they have lost four games in a row. With that being said, the Packers’ No. 1 goal on defense should be to get after John Skelton and shut down the passing game. This will force Arizona to run the ball, which they have been dreadful at this season as the Cardinals currently rank 31st in the league in rushing yards (79.0).
In fact, the San Francisco 49ers held Arizona to seven total rushing yards last week. Green Bay may not have a run defense that is as good as San Francisco but they certainly can prevent the Cardinals from running more than their season average.
Eliminate Larry Fitzgerald
Another way to force Arizona to run is by eliminating their top wide receiver, Larry Fitzgerald. What the average fan may not realize is that Fitzgerald may have the most receiving yards (511) on the team, but Andre Roberts actually averages more per reception (12.6) and has two more touchdowns (5).
However, Fitzgerald is known to breakout and take over games like nobody’s business. His six receptions for 20-plus yards so far this season can attest to that. Not to mention, Packers’ fans do not need to be reminded about when he caught six receptions for 82 yards and two touchdowns in the 2009 Wild Card playoff game.