The Green Bay Packers (11-6) have gone through some tough times this season, but they were still able to punch their ticket to the Divisional round after a 35-18 victory over the Washington Redskins last week. Now, they face a much tougher opponent in the Arizona Cardinals (13-3), a team that dominated them 38-8 just three weeks ago. So should we expect anything different as these teams meet in the playoffs?
Our betting line at GTBets seems to suggest so, with the Cardinals “only” favored by -7. So who’s got the advantage when it comes to the spread this time around? Let’s discuss how either team can cover the spread along with our final analysis below.
GTBets.eu Line (Jan 16, 8:05pm EST)
Green Bay (-108)
Arizona -7 (-112)
Game Over 49.5 (-110)
Game Under 49.5 (-110)
Why Arizona will cover the spread
The best evidence why Arizona will soundly cover the spread and move on to the NFC Championship game happened three weeks ago. The Cardinals sacked Aaron Rodgers eight times and held him to just 151 passing yards. They also returned two of Rodgers’ fumbles for touchdowns en route to a 30-point blowout.
Arizona is also 9-1 in their past 10 games, and they’ve beaten opponents by an average of 9.8 PPG during this span. This is especially impressive when you figure that their regular-season finale 36-6 loss to the Seattle Seahawks is included in this stat.
Obviously Arizona didn’t end the regular season how they wanted to. However, the fact that their per-game point differential is almost +10 points over the second half of the season shows they stand a good chance of covering against Green Bay in University of Phoenix Stadium.
Why Green Bay will cover the spread
Maybe Washington isn’t the cream of the NFC crop, but they were a hot team with a solid defense playing at home. And this is exactly the type of stepping stone that Green Bay needed to get their confidence back.
Following a 6-0 start that included plenty of Super Bowl talk, the Packers slumped into the postseason with a 4-6 record the rest of the way. Aaron Rodgers’ uninspired play certainly didn’t help matters either. But in the Redskins game, he played pretty decent with 210 passing yards, 2 touchdowns and, most importantly, no turnovers. The running game also got going, with Eddie Lacy (63 yards, 1 TD) and James Starks (53 yards, 1 TD) providing a nice two-headed attack.
There are too many offensive pieces missing for Rodgers to revert to his MVP self when Green Bay plays Arizona this Saturday. But he and the team might just have enough confidence – and revenge on their minds – to make this a close contest.
While the Packers got crushed three weeks ago, it’s rare to see a quality NFL team take this kind of beating two times in a row by the same opponent. Maybe Green Bay won’t beat Arizona this time around either, but don’t expect them to be totally embarrassed either. The Cardinals should win thanks to reliable play by Carson Palmer and the defense, however, the victory will be by less than a touchdown.
Final Score Prediction: Arizona 26 – Green Bay 20