A week after closing out the regular season against each other, the Packers and Cardinals meet again Sunday in Tempe for a much more meaningful contest.
Green Bay routed the Cards 33-7 at University of Phoenix Stadium last week in a game that had no playoff implications for either team. Packers coach Mike McCarthy chose to play quarterback Aaron Rodgers and many other starters through three quarters, while Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt played his Cards a little closer to the vest by pulling Kurt Warner in the first quarter.
The Green Bay-Arizona matchup has drawn the biggest line movement of the four playoff games this weekend. The Cardinals were originally favored by 2.5 points, but Green Bay moved to a 1-point favorite in some spots Saturday. The original total of 48 moved to 47 almost immediately.
Whisenhunt might be wishing he pulled some of his other star players as quickly as he yanked Kurt Warner last week. Receiver Anquan Boldin (ankle), cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (knee) and defensive end Calais Campbell (thumb) all went down with injuries Sunday and they are all listed as questionable for this weekend. Rodgers-Cromartie and Campbell both practiced during the week, but Boldin did not and will be a game-time decision.
"I'm doing everything within my power to make sure I'm on the field Sunday," Boldin told reporters Friday. "If I'm not able to go, trust me, it won't be anything I didn't do."
The Packers also didn't escape the regular-season finale unscathed. Pro Bowl cornerback Charles Woodson, who returned an interception for a touchdown earlier in the game, strained his shoulder before halftime. He is probable for Sunday, however.
"I'll be fine," Woodson said. "I could've gone back in if I had to."
Super Bowl hangover
History isn't on the Cardinals’ side as they begin defense of their NFC championship.
No team that lost the Super Bowl has returned to the big game since the Bills made four straight losing appearances in the early 1990s.
Arizona at least managed to make the playoffs this year, something the previous two Super Bowl losers - the Patriots and Bears - failed to do the following season.
Mr. Rodgers' neighbourhood
Neither game was significant in the standings, but Rodgers has already shredded the Arizona secondary twice this season in Tempe.
The Cal product threw for 258 yards and three touchdowns as the Packers rolled up 38 first-half points against the Cards in their final preseason game last fall. Rodgers then completed 21-of-26 passes for 235 yards and a score in last week's shortened outing.
Rodgers, who is making his playoff debut, isn't putting much stock in his previous performances against the Cards.
"It's going to be a different game for sure," he said. "They're going to play way different on defense. We're going to play different on offense."
The line is fine
Don't be fooled by the fact that Green B