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In The Playoffs: Larry Fitzgerald Reigns Supreme

One X-Factor for the Cardinals is WR Larry Fitzgerald. While he's one of the best during the regular season, and he's been so for a while, he turned it up to 11 during the playoffs last year. 

Game Rec Yds TD
vs. Falcons 6 101 1
at Panthers 8 166 1
vs. Eagles 9 152 3
Steelers 7 127 2

It might not matter if the Green Bay Packers have the better offense and defense overall if Fitzgerald takes over the game. That also makes the likely matchup of CB Charles Woodson vs. Fitzgerald one of the marquee matchups of the playoffs. Based on what I've seen over the past 16 Packer games, I'll take Woodson in that matchup.

In response to my article that QB Kurt Warner has few options outside of Fitzgerald or WR Anquan Boldin, one Cardinals' fan emailed to point out that Warner did just fine without Boldin last year:

The Cardinals were without Boldin until the Super Bowl throughout their entire playoff run and they had no problem winning those 3 games without him.

Actually Boldin did play earlier in the playoffs. And as good as Fitzgerald was, he might have not gotten past the Falcons if it weren't for Boldin. From the Falcons at Cardinals game log from last year's first round playoff game:

(9:10) (Shotgun) 13-K.Warner pass short left to 81-A.Boldin for 71 yards, TOUCHDOWN.

That long 2nd quarter TD put the Cardinals up 14-3. The final score was 30-24, so Boldin's TD was the difference in the game. Here's how Warner did in the four playoff games on completions to receivers other than Fitzgerald or Boldin:

Game Comp Yds TD
vs. Falcons 11 98 0
at Panthers 13 54 1
vs. Eagles 8 93 1
Steelers 16 166 1

The Cardinals need big games from Fitzgerald and/or Boldin to defeat the Packers.