Packers get another shot at Cardinals

Weston Hodkiewicz
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Packers linebacker Clay Matthews sacks Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins in the first quarter of an NFC playoff game in January.

LANDOVER, Md. -  The Green Bay Packers are getting another crack at the Arizona Cardinals.

Sunday’s 35-18 win over Washington in the wild-card round of the playoffs means the Packers have a chance at redeeming themselves Saturday night when they travel to face the Cardinals, who pummeled Green Bay 38-8 when the teams met last month at University of Phoenix Stadium.

Aaron Rodgers was sacked eight times before coach Mike McCarthy pulled his MVP quarterback with 9:56 left in regulation. The offense managed a mere 178 yards, while Carson Palmer and the NFL’s most efficient offense feasted on a secondary playing without cornerback Sam Shields.

Surprisingly, the Packers actually have momentum on their side after Sunday’s 35-point showing against Washington. After after its huge win over Green Bay, Arizona was humbled in a 36-6 home defeat at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks during its regular-season finale.

As sweet as Sunday tasted, the Packers haven’t forgotten the loss to Arizona.

“That was one of the most embarrassing losses I’ve been a part of,” right guard T.J. Lang said. “We’re happy to get another shot at those guys. We know it’s going to be a tough one. … They’re a hell of a team. They’re coming off two weeks rest. Coming off a pretty bad loss from Seattle, so we know they’re going to be hungry to show what they got.”

Packers show life in playoff win

Despite Arizona's loss of Tyrann Mathieu (torn ACL), the Packers and their receivers struggled to gain any separation from all-pro cornerback Patrick Peterson and the Cardinals’ secondary. Green Bay was doomed by four turnovers, including two third-quarter fumbles returned for touchdowns.

Several players in the postgame locker room said they’d like to get another shot at the Cardinals. When asked afterward why the outcome might be different, Packers linebacker Clay Matthews said: “Can’t be any worse than that.”

“You just have to remember how you felt walking off that field when we got blown out,” receiver Davante Adams. “It’s the type of thing, they say have a short memory but with things like that you want to keep something like that in the back of your mind to bring a little bit extra dog out of yourself.”

The Packers, who’ll enter as the fifth seed, understand they likely will be the underdogs the rest of the playoffs after their losses to second-seeded Arizona and top-seeded Carolina, which beat Green Bay 37-29 in November.

“We’re probably going to be everybody’s underdog from here on out. That’s fine with us,” Lang said. “That’s a title we’ll be happy to carry. We’ll just keep our heads down and keep fighting. Just keep moving forward and see what happens.” and follow him on Twitter @WesHod

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