Packers-Cardinals: How we picked it
WESTON HODKIEWICZ (10-4)
CARDINALS 30, PACKERS 17
This will be the Packers’ biggest challenge since they got shellacked in consecutive road games at Denver and Carolina after the bye week. Arizona is producing more offense than any other NFL team. Only the Panthers are averaging more than the Cardinals’ 31.8 points per game. Green Bay wants to establish its ground game, but Arizona is the fourth stingiest defense to run against (86.7 yards per game) The Packers stand a chance if they win in the trenches. If they don’t, they could be in for a long day at University of Phoenix Stadium.
RYAN WOOD (10-4)
CARDINALS 31, PACKERS 17
It would be hard enough for the Packers to win in Arizona with Sam Shields. Without their top cornerback, it's exceedingly difficult to see how they can pull off the upset. The Packers secondary without Shields has struggled against elite receivers outside the NFC North, and Larry Fitzgerald may be their toughest challenge yet. On the other side, the Cardinals' talented secondary had the ability to dominate and overwhelm the Packers' receivers grip group. This looked like an 11-5 team before the season. A 6-0 start created higher expectations, but a loss Sunday would put them on pace to finish the season 11-5.
PETE DOUGHERTY (11-3)
CARDINALS 31, PACKERS 21
Arizona might just be the best team in the league. Cornerback Sam Shields is doubtful because of a concussion, and the thought of facing Arizona’s top-ranked offense without him has to give defensive coordinator Dom Capers the chills. The guess here is that the Cardinals are just a little too good, especially at home and with the NFC’s No. 2 playoff seeding on the line.
STU COURTNEY (10-4)
CARDINALS 23, PACKERS 20
How do you beat the high-flying Cardinals? You must take the ball away. Arizona (12-2) turned the ball over three times in both of their losses (Oct. 4 vs. St. Louis and Oct. 18 at Pittsburgh). Here's the bad news: The Cardinals are riding a four-game streak in which they haven't committed a single turnover. They will pound away on the ground with rookie phenom David Johnson and test the Packers' secondary with deep passes to speedy John Brown and Michael Floyd. The Packers must apply plenty of pressure on quarterback Carson Palmer to have any hope of springing an upset.
ROBERT ZIZZO (9-5)
PACKERS 27, CARDINALS 24
This is the game Green Bay fans will recall when talking about the turnaround that led them to Super Bowl 50. Thousands of Packers fans will invade University of Phoenix Stadium – in fact, the Cardinals are practicing silent counts on offense – and that will give Green Bay an edge in a close game that could come down to a Mason Crosby field goal at the end. This is practically a must-win for the Packers, who tend to play better in a controlled climate, if they truly are a Super Bowl contender.