Behind Enemy Lines: Part 2

Scout.com insiders Amberly Dressler and Bill Huber continue their breakdown of Round 2 of the Packers-Cardinals doubleheader. Did Mike McCarthy make the right decision last week? Is an all-out aerial assault in the cards? That and much more inside!

We go Behind Enemy Lines with Amberly Dressler of AZRedReport.com and Bill Huber of PackerReport.com. If you missed Part 1, click here.

Amberly: The Packers and Cardinals obviously took two different approaches to last week's game. Coach Mike McCarthy gave the traveling Packers fans a much better show than the home team did. What did you make of the Packers' decision to play their first team until after the half? And what impressed you most about the Packers' performance?

Bill: If there was a right or wrong way to do things, then every team would do it. You've got to do what you think works for your team, and since McCarthy spends endless hours around his players, I assume he knows more than I do.

I went into the game saying that the Packers should treat it like a third preseason game, and in turns out, that's exactly what McCarthy did. He's got a young team, so keeping the legs fresh wasn't as big a factor as it might be for some other teams. That his team has been on a roll, why mess with success?

Regardless of who wins this weekend, it doesn't mean one coach took the right approach and one took the wrong approach. One reason why McCarthy and Ken Whisenhunt have been successful is they know their players. So, if the Cardinals lose, that doesn't mean Whisenhunt should have played Warner for three quarters.

What impressed me about the Packers? They dominated up front, regardless of who was in the game.

Amberly: Much is made of momentum in this league. If momentum is the deciding factor, than the Packers have it on their side. That said, McCarthy proclaimed it's up to the media to decide whether Green Bay is one of the hottest teams in the NFC right now, so have at it. ... Are the Packers playing better football than the other playoff-bound NFC teams?


Ryan Grant scores last week.
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Bill: Sure, the Packers are playing the best football in the NFC. At 7-1 in their last eight games, that's the best record in the conference, and the loss was a last-play defeat to Pittsburgh that probably build more confidence than it lost.

Now, what does it mean? Probably not nothing but I don't put too much stock into momentum. How much did the Cardinals have last year? How much did the Steelers have after getting beaten soundly at Tennessee to lose a chance at home field? The Giants lost two of their last three the year before that. The Colts lost three of their last five before that. So, there's your last three champions and I can't say any of them was roaring into the playoffs.

Amberly: There is a possibility of a Packers-Vikings matchup down the road. Is this on the Packers radar? Do they fear this story line or welcome the challenge?

Bill: The Vikings absolutely aren't on the radars. It would make for a great story line — the national folks would love it — but there's no way the Packers are looking past the Cardinals. All the coaches have to do is put on the film of the Cardinals trouncing the Vikings to catch everyone's attention.

Amberly: The Cardinals' defense is fretted by some and laughed at by others. Inconsistency is to blame. Do you think the Packers are planning an all-out aerial assault with Donald Driver, Greg Jennings and Jermichael Finley? How much will rely on their only producing running back, Ryan Grant?


Donald Driver
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Bill: I'm guessing it's going to be all-out aerial assault by both teams. All year, the Packers have felt that nobody can match up with their four receivers (don't forget James Jones and Jordy Nelson). Part of that thinking is what got the team in trouble when the line couldn't protect Aaron Rodgers. Those problems have been cured, and the Packers' receivers — while battling some drops on occasion — ranked fourth in the NFL in yards after catch and Jennings (12) and Driver (11) ranked in the top 10 in the league in receptions of 25-plus yards.

For all that's said about there not being many good quarterbacks in the NFL, the cornerback situation around the league is pretty poor, too. Just like the Packers don't have enough good corners to match up with the Cardinals' receivers, the Cardinals don't have enough corners to match up with the Packers receivers and Finley. Playing in the controlled atmosphere of a dome probably furthers the probability that the Packers will come out firing. It won't be 10 degrees and windy inside, obviously.

Amberly: You cover this team day in and day out, what do you think the Packers' chances of getting to the Super Bowl are, and why? Does Aaron Rodgers give Green Bay a better shot than Brett Favre did in the past few seasons?

Bill: Sorry for the total copout answer to your first question. Mathematically, each team in the NFC has a 16.67 percent chance of reaching the Super Bowl. On the field, I'd say that percent is about the same. I wouldn't be surprised to see the Packers reach the Super Bowl. Nor would I be surprised to see the Cardinals win by a couple touchdowns. With the Vikings and Saints limping home, you can throw the six teams in a hat and pick — that's as good a system as any to find the eventual NFC champion. All six teams have big-time quarterbacks. Have one of those and you've always got a chance.

Rodgers vs. Favre in the playoffs? All things being equal, I'd take Rodgers right now. I realize he doesn't have playoff experience, but he's played well in the big games this year. Look, I understand Favre is an all-time great, but he hasn't gotten to a Super Bowl since following the 1997 season. No, that's not all on Favre. A quarterback can only do so much. He can't play defense and he can't block and he can't catch his own passes. But since losing in Super Bowl XXXII, Favre has 16 touchdown passes, 18 interceptions and a 3-6 record in the playoffs. Those are not big-game credentials. Half the battle is just not losing the game, and I think Rodgers is ahead in that regard.


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