Green Bay Packers (11-6) at Arizona Cardinals (13-3)
The Cardinals clobbered the Packers 38-8 at home just 3 weeks ago back in week 16, so people don’t seem to be giving the Packers much of a chance. However, as the Vikings showed last week, even though a team blew you out recently, you still have a good chance to beat them in the playoffs. Teams are 30-15 ATS since 2001 in the playoffs in a same season, same site, non-divisional rematch against a team that beat them previously, including 15-7 ATS if the previous margin was 10+ points. Like the Vikings, the Packers are healthier this time around, getting left tackle David Bakhtiari back from a 3 game absence and cornerback Sam Shields back from a 4 game absence. Plus, I think it’s important to not get too caught up in a team’s best or worst performance of the season. The last time these two teams played, it was the Cardinals’ best and the Packers’ worst.
That being said, I think the Cardinals were the best team in the NFL last season, as they ranked 1st in rate of moving the chains differential. The Packers, meanwhile, were down in 10th. However, the Cardinals are missing defensive back Tyrann Mathieu, who was having an All-Pro caliber season before tearing his ACL and going down for the season week 15. That’s definitely going to matter at some point. The Packers, meanwhile, are as healthy as they’ve been all season and coming off a strong performance in Washington last week. Home teams in the divisional round are just 8-16 ATS since 2001 against a team that is coming off of a road win in the wild card round. Seven and a half points is a lot, so I’ll take it easily.
Arizona Cardinals 27 Green Bay Packers 24
Pick against the spread: Green Bay +7.5
Confidence: Pick of the Week