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First Look At The Packers

What to expect from the Cardinals' foe in the NFC Divisional Round


Cardinals linebacker Dwight Freeney sacks Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers in the first meeting between the teams in Week 16.

The Cardinals' NFC Divisional Round foe is set, as they will face off with the Packers, a team they dominated in Week 16. The victor moves on to face the winner of the Panthers-Seahawks matchup in the NFC title game. Multi-platinum recording artist Flo Rida will perform at halftime of the Cardinals game. Green Bay made it here by rallying from an 11-0 deficit to defeat Washington, 35-18, on Sunday in the Wild Card Round. Here is a look at the Packers heading into Saturday night's matchup:

Season record: 11-6

Packers on offense: Green Bay has star quarterback Aaron Rodgers, which is always a frightening proposition, but the unit struggled for much of the season's second half. The Packers averaged 23.0 points per contest in the regular season and finished 23rd in total offense. Rodgers finished with his lowest passer rating (92.7) since becoming the starter in 2008, as the preseason torn ACL to Jordy Nelson left him short on impact wide receivers. The running game and offensive line play were inconsistent, but Green Bay did put it all together in the playoff win against Washington. If Eddie Lacy and James Starks can get consistent yards on the ground, it makes the Packers much more effective.

Packers on defense: Green Bay stayed afloat late in the year because of its defense, which gave up 20.2 points per game. The Packers held up well against the pass, but allowed 4.5 yards per carry during the regular season. Green Bay tied for seventh in the NFL with 43 sacks in the regular season and had six in the win over Washington, so keeping Julius Peppers, Clay Matthews and Co. away from Carson Palmer will be key for the Cardinals.

Packers on special teams: Green Bay is solid but not spectacular on special teams. Veteran kicker Mason Crosby is reliable, but the Packers don't have a game-breaker in the kickoff or punt return game. That was a big problem for the Cardinals in their season finale when Seattle's Tyler Lockett broke free for three big punt returns in the first half.

Injuries to watch: Packers cornerback Sam Shields missed his fourth straight game with a concussion. Left tackle David Bakhtiari sat for the third straight game with a knee injury. Wide receiver Davante Adams left the Wild Card game with a knee injury.

Week 16 rewind: The Cardinals had their best performance of the season against Green Bay, dominating on both sides of the ball in a 38-8 victory. The defense, in particular, stood out, registering nine sacks, four turnovers and a pair of touchdowns. Rodgers finished the game 15-of-28 passing for 151 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Palmer threw for 238 yards and two touchdowns in the first half as the Cardinals jumped out to a 17-0 lead and then scaled it back the rest of the way. Running backs David Johnson, Andre Ellington and Kerwynn Williams combined for 123 rushing yards and a touchdown on 24 carries. Wide receiver Michael Floyd had six catches for 111 yards.

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