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Cardinals Winning The Turnover Game

Notes: No giveaways, ten takeaways in last month brings success; silent count at home

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Quarterback Carson Palmer and the offense didn't turn the ball over for the fourth straight game against the Eagles.


Between their top-ranked offense and No. 7 defense, the Cardinals are already a handful for opponents.

If they're not turning the ball over, it's almost not fair.

The Cardinals set a new franchise record by going the past four games without a turnover. It's little surprise they've won all four of those games, positioning themselves for a chance to clinch the NFC's No. 2 seed with a win on Sunday against the Packers.

The Cardinals were even in turnover margin through the first 10 games of the season. They now sit at plus-10 as the defense has consistently taken the ball away over the past month while the offense has kept it. That turnover differential is third-best in the NFL.

"Trying to jinx us?" said coach Bruce Arians when asked about the turnover-less streak. "Carson (Palmer) has been very, very good with it, and honestly, they've dropped a couple interceptions. That's part of it. Our backs and receivers have had good ball security and the balls haven't gotten tipped and went the wrong way. But other than that, none have been on the ground. No fumbles."

As Arians said, Palmer has been fortunate in that the 49ers, Rams and Vikings each had an easy interception slip through their hands. But he's also done an impressive job of throwing mostly low-risk, high-reward passes, something that's not easy in Arians' vertical attack.

"Sometimes turnovers are just bad breaks," Palmer said. "The ball bounces the wrong way. You get back on top of it, but at the bottom of the pile you scrum for the ball and they end up with the ball. A tipped ball here or just a bad exchange. There are a number of reasons they happen, so part of it is luck. Part of it is probably a little bit more attention to detail on certain things, because like I said, they happen for numbers of reasons and we've been fortunate to hold on to it."

The Cardinals will face off with a Packers team that is also adept at keeping the turnovers to a minimum. Green Bay has an NFL-low 11 giveaways and has not turned the ball over in eight separate games this season. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers has thrown only six interceptions in 500 passing attempts and has led the NFL in lowest interception percentage twice in his career.

"Some of it is good fortune," Rodgers said. "You've got to avoid the tipped ones, the guys slipping and falling down or the guy running the wrong route. But the ones you can control, you want to make sure you're taking calculated chances."

PREPARING FOR PACKERS FANS, CARDS READY SILENT COUNT

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Cardinals don't like the idea of University of Phoenix Stadium hosting a large contingent of Packers fans on Sunday, but if it happens, they'll be ready for it. Palmer said the offense has a silent count at its disposal for the Week 16 home game.

"There's going to be a lot of Green Bay fans here and it'll be loud," Palmer said.

For the Packers, it's a unique luxury. Few, if any, NFL teams have fans that travel as well as Green Bay does.

"It's special," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. "It definitely helps from the time you pull up on the bus in front of the hotel and you've got fans there on the road. Packer Nation is just phenomenal."

ELLINGTON, RASHAD JOHNSON MISS PRACTICE

Running back Andre Ellington (toe) and safety Rashad Johnson (ankle) missed practice on Wednesday, but Arians is hoping to have both back on Thursday. Johnson's availability seems crucial this week after fellow starting safety Tyrann Mathieu was lost for the year with a torn ACL against the Eagles. Ellington is trying to find a shoe which allows him enough comfort to practice while dealing with a painful turf toe injury.

Linebacker Sean Weatherspoon (illness) and defensive tackle Josh Mauro (calf) missed practice as well, and Mauro seems doubtful to play against Green Bay. Palmer was limited in practice on Wednesday, as were cornerback Jerraud Powers (calf), tight end Jermaine Gresham (knee), defensive tackle Cory Redding (ankle), defensive tackle Frostee Rucker (ankle), defensive tackle Ed Stinson (shoulder) and center Lyle Sendlein (knee).

Palmer dislocated his finger against Philadelphia but said he normally takes limited repetitions in Wednesday practices.

For the Packers, tackle David Bakhtiari (ankle), defensive tackle Mike Daniels (hamstring), linebacker Jayrone Elliot (quadriceps), defensive tackle Letroy Guion (foot) and cornerback Sam Shields (concussion) did not practice. Those limited were running back Eddie Lacy (rib), tackle Bryan Bulaga (ankle), guard T.J. Lang (shoulder), linebacker Clay Matthews (ankle) and guard Josh Sitton (back).

Images of the seven players on the team named to the Pro Bowl



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