clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Cardinals-Packers: More Points To Ponder

The Cardinals crushed Minnesota and handed them their second loss of the season when people were saying the Vikings were the most complete team in football, beat the Giants and handed them their second loss of the season when people were saying they were the best team in football, and lost to Green Bay when they weren't playing.

The Packers lost to Minnesota twice in what were arguably their two most meaningful games of their year, beat Dallas when the Cowboys were playing their worst ball of the year, and lost to a Pittsburgh team that couldn't beat Oakland, Kansas City or Cleveland in the weeks leading up to their matchup.

These are some of the reasons I like the Cardinals chances to come out on top this weekend.

Arizona's Special Teams has excelled this season in key areas. Kicker Neil Rackers has only one missed field goal all season, though he was near the bottom in attempts in part because the Cardinals are No.1 in red zone TD percentage.

Though he was snubbed for the Pro Bowl, punter Ben Graham has had a Pro Bowl-caliber, NFL record-tying year with 42 punts inside the opponents' 20 to tie the 49ers' Andy Lee for most in one season, while averaging 47 yards per punt which was good for seventh-best in the league.

"The Hyphen" LaRod Stephens-Howling has totaled over 1,200 return yards on kickoffs and while returning all but two of the Cardinals kickoff returns this season, one of which he ran back for a 99-yard TD, not to mention his stellar downing of punts and tackling in kick coverage.

For the green and gold, kicker Mason Crosby has missed nine field goals, punter Jeremy Kapinos has placed only 15 punts inside the opponents' 20, and the Packers have used nine different players on kickoff returns.

Although Anquan Boldin will either play gimpily or not at all, second year WR Early Doucet is starting to come into his own and show why he was considered a relative steal in the third round of last year's draft. He overtook Jerheme Urban as the fourth receiver by mid-season, and has shown more confidence in recent weeks. If Q can't go, look for Doucet to be in position to make some crucial plays for us on Sunday.

Beanie Wells and Tim Hightower have amassed almost 1,400 yards and 15 TDs while averaging 4.36 YPC collectively.

And those are some more random points to ponder.