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NFL Bargain Bets for Wildcard Weekend
January 6th 2010 - Old Man Winner             

This week's games are tough, especially since three of them are repeats from last weekend. How weird is that? I see no game that totally jumps off the page and screams - "pick me, pick me"

That said, this game seems to be the best of the bunch. Green Bay is streaking having won 7 of their last 8 and covering the last 6 in a row. They seem to be peaking at the right time which is critical during the playoff run. Arizona, again this year, is slides sideways into the playoffs having lost 3 of their last 6 games (although having lost 4 of their last 6 last year didn't seem to bother them).

It just looks to me like Aaron Rodgers is your upcoming superstar and this could be the game that shows him wrestling the crown from cagey veteran Kurt Warner. Although Warner has a better cadre of receivers, Rodgers seems to have a more balanced attack and an offensive line that seems to improve weekly. He is now very comfortable in the offense and has shown the ability to use not only his primary wide-outs, but also his slot receivers, his tight ends, and his backs to march the ball downfield and consistently put the ball in the end zone. They have also out rushed their opponents in 7 of their last 8 games and were only 5 yards behind Pitt in that 1-pt. loss.

On defense Green Bay has taken serious steps forward, even without their pass rushing superstar Aaron Kampman, who went out on IR in November. Excluding the Steelers game, they have allowed their opponents an average of only 14 points over their last 10 games. With an offense like theirs, this formula works. Their younger linebackers have stepped up and are owning the middle of the field and generating a better pass rush than at the beginning of the year. I expect them to get to Warner and create some turnovers, which will be the difference in the game. If they have a weakness it is on the outside and deep - both places that Arizona has the talent to attack.

With respect to injuries, both teams have some names that are questionable, including Charles Woodson (shoulder) for GB who was carted off the field in Arizona in the first quarter last week and Anquan Boldin (ankle) and Rodgers-Cromartie (knee) for the Cardinals. I expect all of them to play, but may be limited. The Cardinals seem to be more seriously impacted on this front.

Forget the game these two played last week - it was meaningless with the exception of maybe lowering this week's spread.

Take the streaking Packers (+1.5) in a high scoring game

GB 34 Arizona 31
 



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