Game Scout: Arizona Cardinals (2-9) At Green Bay Packers (4-6-1)
SERIES HISTORY: 72nd regular-season meeting. Packers lead series, 44-23-4. Green Bay is 7-0 against Arizona at Lambeau Field, and the Cardinals haven't won a game in Wisconsin since earning a 39-17 win in Milwaukee in 1949.
KEYS TO THE GAME: The Packers have lost four of their last five games to fall to the brink of elimination. The offense, once one of the elite units in the NFL, has been more problem than solution. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers, a two-time MVP, owns one of the lowest completion percentages in the NFL. For a struggling unit, the Cardinals are arriving at the right time. Opposing quarterbacks have completed 69.0 percent of their passes against Arizona. Rodgers should have a big day, so long as they can protect him against a defense that is No. 1 in sack percentage.
On the other side of the ball, Green Bay's injury-plagued defense should feast on the worst offense in the NFL. The Cardinals are last in scoring, last in rushing, last in passing, last in total offense and last on third down. The key will be tackling. The Packers have missed double-digit tackles each of the last three games, and the Cardinals have some playmakers in running back David Johnson and rookie receiver Christian Kirk. Barring an abundance of self-inflicted wounds, Green Bay's defense should win this matchup.
The Cardinals have been doing a better job of utilizing Johnson, both as a runner and as a pass catcher. Look for that trend to continue in Green Bay. Rookie quarterback Josh Rosen hasn't had much time to throw and that figures to be the case again against a Packers defense that loves to blitz.
FRIDAY INJURY REPORT
--OUT: LB Deone Bucannon (chest)
--QUESTIONABLE: S Budda Baker (knee), S Rudy Ford (heel), T D.J. Humphries (knee), LB Haason Reddick (neck), WR Chad Williams (ankle)
GREEN BAY PACKERS
--OUT: S Kentrell Brice (ankle, concussion), RB Tra Carson (rib), DE Mike Daniels (foot), W Trevor Davis (hamstring), S Raven Greene (ankle)
--QUESTIONABLE: T David Bakhtiari (knee), CB Bashaud Breeland (groin), WR Randall Cobb (hamstring), CB Kevin King (hamstring), G Lane Taylor (quadriceps)
MATCHUPS TO WATCH
--Cardinals CB Patrick Peterson vs. Packers WR Davante Adams. Adams is on pace to set Green Bay's single-season records for receptions (112), receiving yards (1,519) and receiving touchdowns (18). Peterson has been one of the league's best shutdown corners, but hasn't shadowed as many receivers this season as he has in the past. Look for him to return to one-on-one, man coverage with Adams throughout Sunday's game at Lambeau Field.
--Packers LT David Bakhtiari vs. Cardinals DE Chandler Jones. This will be a must-see clash, so long as Bakhtiari is able to play through the left knee injury sustained at Minnesota. Bakhtiari is one of the NFL's premier left tackles and Jones is one of the NFL's premier rushers. He led the NFL with 17 sacks last season and has 11 this season. He rushes almost exclusively from the defense's right side, meaning he'll face Bakhtiari, who's allowed only three sacks this season, according to STATS. If Bakhtiari can't play, Jones will have a huge advantage over backup Jason Spriggs. Spriggs gave up a sack in a short stint against Minnesota's Everson Griffen last week.
PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald. In what could be his final NFL season, it's worth keeping an eye on Fitzgerald. He has five touchdowns in his last five games and he's scored at least one in all five games he's played in his career against the Packers. Fitzgerald has three touchdown receptions in three regular-season games against Green Bay and three TD catches in two postseason games against the Packers.
FAST FACTS: CARDINALS QB JOSH ROSEN (rookie) aims for his 6th in row with pass TD. ... RB DAVID JOHNSON has 516 scrimmage yards (129 per game) & 2 TDs (1 rush, 1 rec.) in his past 4. Has 100+ scrimmage yards in 3 of his past 4. ... WR LARRY FITZGERALD had rec. TD in Week 12. Aims for his 3rd in row with TD. Has 5 TD catches in his past 5. Has 6 rec. TDs in 5 career games vs. GB (incl. postseason). ... Rookie WR CHRISTIAN KIRK has 2 TDs in his past 4. Is 1 of 3 NFL rookies with 40+ catches (40), 500+ rec. yards (536) & 3+ TD catches (3) in 2018. ... LB CHANDLER JONES has 4.5 sacks in his past 3. In 5 career games vs. NFC North, has 6.5 sacks, 9 TFL, 2 FFs, 2 PD & returned blocked FG 58 yards for TD. Ranks 4th in NFL with 11 sacks in 2018. Since 2016, leads NFL in sacks (39) & TFL (52). ... DT ROBERT NKEMDICHE had career-high 2.5 sacks & 4 TFL last week. ... DT RODNEY GUNTER has 2 sacks & FF in his past 3. Aims for his 5th in row with TFL. ... PACKERS QB AARON RODGERS has 1,489 pass yards (297.8 per game) with 9 TDs vs. 1 INT for 101.3 rating in 5 home games this season. Has 12 pass TDs vs. 4 INTs for 97.4 rating in 5 career meetings (incl. playoffs). Aims for his 3rd in row at home vs. NFC West with 300+ pass yards. ... RB AARON JONES had 93 scrimmage yards (72 rush, 21 rec.) & rush TD in Week 12. Has 539 scrimmage yards (107.8 per game) & 6 TDs (5 rush, 1 rec.) in his past 5. Aims for his 4th in row with TD & his 6th in row with 85+ scrimmage yards. ... WR DAVANTE ADAMS had 69 rec. yards & TD last week. In his past 7, has 49 receptions for 737 yards (105.3 per game) & 7 TDs. Aims for his 4th in row vs. NFC West with 130+ rec. yards. ... LB BLAKE MARTINEZ led team with 13 tackles last week. Ties for 2nd in NFL with 97 tackles in 2018. ... DL KENNY CLARK had sack in Week 12. Has 5 sacks in his past 6. ... CB JAIRE ALEXANDER (9) & CB JOSH JACKSON (5) are only pair of rookie teammates with 5+ PD each in 2018.
PREDICTION: A get-well game for Rodgers and the floundering Packers, who may be content to rely on the ground game more and simply outscore the Cardinals, who average a league-worst 14.1 points.
OUR PICK: Packers, 27-16