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NFC Divisional Round Preview

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After an entertaining wild-card round, the NFL playoffs are approaching the divisional round. The NFC divisional round will have two rematches this weekend. The Green Bay Packers will travel to Arizona to face the Cardinals on Saturday night and the Seattle Seahawks will face the Carolina Panthers on the road on Sunday.

#5 Green Bay Packers (10-6) at #2 Arizona Cardinals (13-3)

The Packers and Cardinals played in Week 16, and it was obvious that the Cardinals’ defense was the key in a 38-8 blowout victory over the Packers. But, after last week’s 35-18 win over the Washington Redskins, it looks like Aaron Rodgers and the offense are starting to click again and this playoff game could come down to the wire.

Following the Cardinals’ first-round bye, they will send a rested top-ranked offense and fifth-ranked defense onto the field to face Green Bay. If the Cardinals are able to consistently pressure Rodgers and stop the running back duo of Eddie Lacy and James Starks, they will have an advantage with all the weapons they have on both sides of the ball.

The biggest factor for the Packers is whether the wide receivers consistently catch the ball to move the chains. If they are able to do so, they will be able to put pressure on the Cardinals and quarterback Carson Palmer. But if there are several drops by Packers’ receivers, this game has the opportunity to get ugly quick.

Given the experience that Rodgers has in playoff games opposed to Palmer’s, Green Bay might have a slight edge in the mental aspect of the magnitude of this game. But, the Cardinals played on a different level and their intensity seemed to ramp up in big games in 2015.

Arizona 31 Green Bay 17

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