Cardinals vs. Packers 2012 preview: Struggling Arizona visits streaking Green Bay in Week 9

Scott Boehm

Winners of three straight, the Packers will try to go into their bye week on a good note when they host the slumping Cardinals in Week 9 on Sunday.

Since falling to 2-3 after a loss to the Indianapolis Colts, the Green Bay Packers have reeled off three straight victories. With their bye week on tap, the Packers will try to make it four in a row against an Arizona Cardinals team that began the season 4-0 but has dropped its last four contests, including a Monday-night 24-3 loss at home against the NFC West division-leading San Francisco 49ers.

Green Bay is 3-1 at Lambeau Field so far this season while Arizona is 1-2 on the road, as kickoff for this game between teams streaking in opposite directions is set for 1 p.m. ET and will be televised on Fox.

Meet the Green Bay Packers

The Packers have endured their fair share of injuries this season, as mainstays Charles Woodson and Greg Jennings remain out. B.J. Raji, who missed time earlier, returned to action in last week's 24-15 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, while wide receiver Jordy Nelson sat the contest out.

While their running game ranks 26th in the league, averaging 90.1 yards per game, MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers and a slew of receiving threats continues to carry the dangerous Green Bay offense. Rodgers has thrown for 21 touchdowns and four interceptions with 2,165 passing yards this season. Defensively, the Packers are allowing 342.1 yards per game on average, good for 13th in the league.

Meet the Arizona Cardinals

During their four-game losing streak, the Cardinals have lost to the Buffalo Bills in overtime, the St. Louis Rams, the Minnesota Vikings and the 49ers last week. Arizona's struggles have mostly come on the offensive end, where they rank 31st in the NFL with an average of 15.9 points per game.

Both Kevin Kolb and John Skelton have been inconsistent as starting quarterbacks, and the rushing attack, with an average of 79 yards per game, ranks 31st in the league.

Local Takes: Packers

Devin Shanley from Acme Packing Company says the Packers need to establish a consistent pass rush:

Bottom line for this part of the defense is that we need that pass rush back. If the Packers are able to get Nick Perry back in the lineup that would be a huge upgrade over Walden. It also wouldn't hurt to see more Dezman Moses. He may not always have the smartest of play, but he does hit hard and can get after the quarterback.

Local Takes: Cardinals

Randy Fields from Revenge of the Birds says Monday night's loss to the 49ers pointed out the need for major changes to the Cardinals:

In an embarrassing loss to the 49ers the Cardinals continue to add fuel to the skeptic's fire who claimed the Cardinals 4-0 start to the year was a fluke. After dropping four games in a row, the last in a tragic nationally televised defeat, the Cardinals should preparing for drastic changes to rescue the season.

Follow the Fun

Be sure to check out SB Nation's team blogs, Acme Packing Company and Revenge of the Birds, for more analysis and highlights from the game.

Add these fine follows to your Twitter timeline:

@acmepackingco

@revengeofbirds

@RobDemovsky - Green Bay Press-Gazette sports reporter

@kentsomers - Azcentral.com Cardinals reporter

Prediction

From the Week 9 picks:

Remember when the Cardinals were 4-0? That was fun. They'll go from sweeping September to a sub-.500 record all within the span of two months.Aaron Rodgers has thrown for 11 touchdowns to no interceptions in his last three games, all Packers victories.

The pick: 35-13, Packers.

Odds

According to OddsShark, the Packers opened the week as 10½-point favorites, but the line has since moved to favoring Green Bay by an even 12 points. The over/under total for combined points is currently at 43½.

Next Week

Both the Packers and Cardinals will enter their respective bye weeks after Sunday's contest. In Week 11, Green Bay goes to Detroit to face the Lions, while Arizona will visit the Atlanta Falcons.

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