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Packers travel to the desert for potential playoff preview

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Both the Packers and Cardinals have clinched a playoff spot. The only thing left is to battle for seeding, and this game will have a big impact.

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Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

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Yes, it is only Week 16, but Sunday's matchup with Arizona will have a playoff feel. The Cardinals are the one team standing in the way of the Packers and a first-round bye, and the Cardinals can clinch that bye with a win on Sunday. With a win and a Vikings loss, the Packers can wrap up the NFC North.

Sunday's showdown will be a tale of two offenses. Carson Palmer commands the third best passing attack and rookie running back David Johnson has surpassed all expectations for Arizona. Green Bay, meanwhile, has looked lost on offense all season, especially in the passing game. The biggest difference between these two offenses is the big play ability. Palmer ranks second in the league with 8.82 yards per attempt, while Rodgers is 28th at 6.76 YPA. The downfield passing game is what made Green Bay's offense so deadly in previous years, but they have not been able to find an adequate replacement for Jordy Nelson this year.

As if the league's most efficient offense wasn't enough to prepare for, the Arizona defense has also been stellar in 2015. As a unit, they give up the seventh fewest yards and sixth fewest points. It has been made painfully clear this year that the Green Bay offense has more success when the run game is clicking. Whether it be Eddie Lacy or James Starks, the offense lacks rhythm and direction without them. Success on the ground will be a big key this week for more than one reason.

Beyond being a more dangerous offense with an effective rushing attack, it will also keep Palmer and company on the sidelines. Arizona is a team you do not want to get in a shootout with. The best way to contain an offense that can score from anywhere on the field is to not let them see the field.

A lot of things will need to go right in order to take down one of the hottest teams in the league, but it is something we have seen the Packers do. They are capable of shutting down offenses, although San Francisco and Dallas are a far cry from Arizona. They have been able to dominate on the ground, with the Dallas game being the most recent example. With Aaron Rodgers under center, they rarely lose the turnover battle. All of this will need to tilt in the Packers favor on Sunday if they want to leave with a win.