|Packers Pass Offense||7|
|Cardinals Pass Defense||23|
|Packers Pass Offense||9|
|Cardinals Pass Defense||12|
I've been using the official NFL rankings (based on yardage) most of this season, but the rankings from Football Outsiders are more interesting.
Fun Fact: While QB Aaron Rodgers has been sacked 50 times this season, he's only been sacked 9 times in the last 7 games. What happened? In the last 7 games, veteran tackles LT Chad Clifton and RT Mark Tauscher have been healthy and started all 7 games.
The complete analysis is after the jump.
I was listening to the Aaron Schatz on the BS report and one of the many great points he made was that the Cardinals aren't especially good in any one area. And that appears to be the case as they rank just above average in pass defense.
The official NFL stats are actually more favorable to the Cardinals, showing they forced 21 INTs and held opposing QBs to only a 76.4 QB rating. They rank only 23rd (based on yardage) according to the NFL because their opponents have attempted 593 passes against them this season (2nd most behind the Titans). Football Outsiders actually pushes them down somewhat because they've played against a collection of some of the worst QBs in the NFL this season including all 6 divisional games (49ers, Rams, Seahawks) plus games against the Lions, Bears, and Panthers. The best QB they faced at home this season was QB Peyton Manning and he threw for 379 yards and 4 TDs.
QB Aaron Rodgers finished the season as one of five QBs with a QB rating of over 100 (103.2). So then why is he ranked 9th by FO? The short answer is strength of schedule. He didn't face any of the Top 5 pass defenses this season (Jets, Panthers, Bills, Broncos, and Eagles) and played five games against four of the five worst pass defenses in the NFL (Lions, Seahawks, Browns, and Rams). The only bad pass defense he missed was the NFL's worst Jaguars. According to Football Outsiders, he's the lowest rated QB who threw for over 4000 yards. The best pass defenses he faced on the road all season were the Steelers (No. 13 according to FO) and he did just fine against them (383 yards and 3 TDs), and the Cardinals (No. 12) last week (235 yards and 1 TD).
What does it all mean? Rodgers hasn't had a bad game since the offensive tackle situation settled down and the revolving door otherwise known as RT Allen Barbre was planted firmly to the bench. His worst game in the last 7 weeks was the game against the Ravens (No. 7 best pass defense according to Football Outsiders) when he threw for 263 yards, 3 TDs, and 2 INTs. And that was on a freezing cold Monday night game at Lambeau when neither QB had any accuracy on their deep passes. And I don't expect the conditions will be the same in Arizona, under a closed roof, on a Sunday afternoon. What it means is that he'll be able throw against the Cardinals and the only question is whether they can hold him to under 300 yards and 3 TDs.