If the Arizona Cardinals plan on winning this weekend in order to stop their four game skid, they will need to remember one thing.
Aaron Rodgers is a beast.
The guy can dominate any team on any given night through the air. Personally, I see him as the best quarterback in the NFL. He is shifty, he can throw accurately deep or short and he can even run the ball himself. He is an all-around threat.
So if the Cardinals want to beat the Packers, they will need to take the ball out of his hands. Making him hand it off to Alex Green or any of the other running backs they play will be necessary. If they don't, Rodgers and his mighty air attack will haunt them all afternoon.
Looking at the matchups, things are a bit cloudy right now. What we do know is that Greg Jennings will not play. He recently had surgery on his abdomen and will still be sidelined for a few more weeks. Across from him is normally Jordy Nelson, another questionable piece in the lineup. He did not participate in Thursday's practice with a hamstring injury.
If Nelson is out as well, that would leave Randall Cobb, Jermichael Finley, James Jones and maybe Donald Driver, who is dealing with various injuries to his neck and thumb. Even though the team is down their top two receivers, don't think that will keep them from passing the ball around. Rodgers loves to distribute the rock to his team pretty evenly, no matter who is on the field. Cobb, Jones and Finley will assuredly get touches.
I expect Nelson to play as a game time decision, which means Patrick Peterson will have his hands full yet again. Nelson is a burner and a skilled route runner, so mishaps that Peterson had last week will not be acceptable. The same goes for William Gay on Cobb. His speed is what makes him so valuable.
The safeties may be playing deep more than we Cardinals fans are accustomed to given the deadly air attack of Green Bay. They normally love to blitz up near the line of scrimmage, but I don't see that as being something they do as much. It will be imperative, however, that the pass rushers do get pressure on Aaron Rodgers, disallowing him to have all day in the pocket to make his reads.
I am not sure how well this matchup bodes for Arizona. I think they are outmatched on nearly every level, with the exception on Peterson vs. Nelson. The thing is, Peterson will have to play to his full potential for that to be true. The Cardinals may have it coming for them on Sunday, but if they want to win, they will have to ground the air assault of the Packers.
Allowing an 18/19 passing day to Rodgers as they did to Alex Smith last week against the 49ers will not bode well for them...