The last time the Green Bay Packers and Arizona Cardinals played against each other, the result was a record-setting explosion of points and yards. The Cardinals won that game, 51-45, which remains the highest-scoring postseason game game in NFL history. It was also a preview of the league's future.
They'll meet again this Sunday at Lambeau Field, but don't expect the same kind of shootout. This one might be more about defense.
The Packers are coming off their lowest yardage production in two years, and the Cardinals managed just three points in a lopsided loss to the 49ers this past Monday. Here's something else the two teams have in common: lots of injuries.
"We've got to keep working. We've got to eliminate those mistakes that are hurting us. Hopefully, we'll get some guys back from injury. It's really just staying focused on this week's opponent," Cardinals Head Coach Ken Whisenhunt said.
The Packers and Cardinals will also share a bye week following this game, and the Cardinals are especially looking forward to using that bye to get healthy and make a second-half-of-the-season run at the playoffs.
They opened the season with a 4-0 run, then followed that with an 0-4 run. The Cardinals are desperate for a win this Sunday.
"I'm not saying this is the championship game for us, but with this being the last game before the bye week, these guys are going to be all in for this week," former Packers guard Daryn Colledge said. Whisenhunt said Colledge, who left the Packers in free agency a year ago, has been the Cardinals' best offensive lineman through eight games.
"If you told me we were going to lose two tackles, two running backs, two tight ends, a guard and we'd be sitting at .500 at midseason, I'd probably tell you that would be a lie," Colledge said. "We still have a half a season to go and we need to step up, but we've got a tough schedule ahead of us. You've got to hit your stride at the right time. We need to have a good game this weekend, we need to come out of the bye week healthy and start getting the train rolling again."
The Cardinals' problems on offense continue to be rooted at quarterback, where Kevin Kolb is out with an injury and backup John Skelton has thrown just one touchdown pass and carries a 61.5 passer rating.
The Cardinals' offense is next-to-last in the league in total yards, but the defense will carry a No. 6 ranking into this game, which includes a No. 4 ranking against the pass and a No. 1 ranking in sacks per pass play.
Those are daunting rankings as they pertain to a Packers offense whose struggles in the running game have spilled over into the passing attack. What the Packers do best, the Cardinals are best at stopping.
"They know what the Green Bay Packers can do. I don't have to tell them," Colledge said.
Similarly, the Packers know what they'll be facing on Sunday, which is to say the exact opposite of what they faced in the desert in the 2009 playoffs. These Cardinals are about defense. Additional coverage - Oct. 31