Arizona and Green Bay—Cat and Mouse Chess Match, Poker Style

Most of the playoff seeding scenarios end with the Cardinals and Packers more than likely having to face each other in consecutive weeks at University of Phoenix Stadium.

Assuming the Vikings don't lose again, and the so-and-so's win, and the yada yada yada's crumble under pressure.

Honestly I don't get too caught up in the possibilities, I am content to watch the realities unfold in Week 17.

The only things that are certain is that of these NFC playoff teams, the Cardinals are West Champs and the Packers are a wild-card, and one will be 10-6 while the other will have earned their eleventh victory of the 2009 season.

Will it be because they played all of their starters, and used the game as a final tune-up for the playoffs? Or will it be because the other team rested all of its key players with not enough to be gained from a victory to risk injury?

That is why the final game of the season for Arizona and Green Bay holds so much intrigue.

It will either be an instant classic, or one with the feel of a preseason game—an all-vanilla bore-fest. It all depends on what the prevailing strategy ends up being out of both camps come game time.

It will either be a fantastic game to watch with a playoff atmosphere, or it will be a study in the ultimate cat and mouse chess match, poker style.

How will the teams approach this game?

If it is anything like the Colts' Week 16 game, I will be disappointed. Bill Polian called Indy's decision to rest their sports cars with a 15-10 lead on the Jets a "football decision", but I thought football was synonymous with "playing to win the game"?

Pulling the starters at that point in the contest is too conservative. It is telling your players, we will not go for the gusto. I think it softens their edge.

With the possibility of achieving a higher seed, Ken Whisenhunt's Cardinals may choose the other route—to attack the Packers with long bombs and blitzes in hopes of getting fully in sync.

They just achieved their first season with 40 or more sacks since arriving in the desert, good enough to be tied for third best in the NFL this season, and Aaron Rodgers—if he plays—has been sacked 50 times after all.

Beanie Wells and Tim Hightower could always use more practice running the ball, on a team that ranks 29th in rushing attempts this season, and Anquan Boldin and Steve Breaston are both finally fully healthy while Larry Fitzgerald will sit with an elbow contusion. Can't think of a better time to try and oil up the passing machine.

What can we expect from the Packers who on the surface have less to gain? They are locked in as a wild card no matter what.

RB Ryan Grant has been molding back into playoff form, and has quietly had a solid year.

Will it be Rodgers to Driver and Jennings and Finley and that juggernaut attack or will it be a quick look at backup QB Matt Flynn, as we watch Mike McCarthy throw bluff after bluff into the mix?

This article also appears on Undrafteds.com

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