The bug playoff game is Saturday and the injury reports are out, so it means time for a simulation. Madden 16 was used to sim the NFC divisional playoff game and see what the artificial intelligence has to say. Unlike other games in which Madden doesn't seem to appreciate the Cardinals, this time it had Carson Palmer throwing for 380 yards and the Packers turning the ball over three times in a 35-21 Cardinals victory.
The game didn't start out good. Arizona had the ball first and Carson Palmer was sacked and hurt, having to leave the ball game. Drew Stanton came in and threw one complete pass and handed the ball off a couple of times, but Chandler Catanzaro's missed 50-yard field goal spoils the chance to get on the board.
The two teams would exchanges a pair of punts until Green Bay finally gets on the board early in the second quarter, taking a 7-0 lead on a four-yard touchdown run by Eddie Lacy.
Green Bay would force a three-and-out by the Cardinals, but on the punt, the Packers cough it up and Justin Bethel recovers in Green Bay territory. Arizona would methodically get the ball down the field and rookie running back David Johnson would punch the ball in from one yard out to tie the game.
Green Bay's next possession would end badly. On fourth down, they would try to punt the ball only to have the ball bobbled and the punter tackled for a seven-yard loss. After a 15-yard penalty on first down, Carson Palmer would hit Michael Floyd for a 15-yard score to give the Cardinals a lead they would never relinquish.
Catanzaro would miss a chip shot 19-yard kick on their next drive, but the Cardinals took a 21-7 lead into the second half.
The Cardinals would increase the lead to 28-7 in the third quarter on a two-yard touchdown run from Johnson. Both teams turned the ball over to one another on fumbles and Green Bay would try to rally in the fourth quarter.
Aaron Rodgers connects with Randall Cobb for a six-yard touchdown pass to pull within 14, but the Arizona would basically put the game on ice.
After Green Bay's score, the Cardinals answered with an Andre Ellington rushing touchdown and then Justin Bethel intercepted Rodgers. Palmer found Larry Fitzgerald for an 18-yard score to put the game away.
Green Bay would score on their next possession, but were unable to recover the onside kick and the Cardinals ran the clock out.
35-21 and the Cardinals move on to the NFC Championship Game.
Carson Palmer was 29/37 for 380 yards and two touchdowns.
David Johnson rushed 23 times for 72 yards and two scores.
Larry FItzgerald led the way with nine receptions for 124 yards and a score, while Michael Floyd had five for 105 and a TD, John Brown had four for 77 yards, and even Jermaine Gresham had six catches.
Defensively, Bethel had the interception and Deone Bucannon had a sack. Rashad Johnson led the team with 11 tackles.
Aaron Rodgers was very good, completing 31 of 48 passes for 305 yards and two scores, but he had the one crucial fourth quarter interception to Bethel.
Eddie Lacy had 21 carries for 89 yards and a touchdown.
Randall Cobb had a big game, catching 11 balls for 115 yards and a score, while James Jones had eight for 118.
Julius Peppers and Mike Neal each collected sacks. Peppers forced Palmer out of the game briefly, while Neal forced a fumble.