TEMPE, Ariz. — The Arizona Cardinals will meet a familiar foe in the NFC divisional playoffs on Saturday night.
But they won’t expect a one-sided affair over the Green Bay Packers like the previous time they met.
Green Bay won at Washington 35-18 on Sunday to earn a rematch with the Cardinals after losing 38-8 at Arizona on Dec. 27.
The Cardinals sacked Aaron Rodgers eight times, clinching a first-round playoff bye with the win. The Green Bay quarterback fumbled twice and both were returned for Arizona touchdowns.
But the Packers’ recent offensive woes vanished and Rodgers looked like his old MVP self in the win over the Redskins. Green Bay outscored Washington 35-7 after falling behind 11-0.
"It’s huge for us," Rodgers said. "I talked a lot the last couple of weeks about turning it on, and a lot of you probably thought that was lip service. But we needed a game like this to get our mojo back and get our confidence going."
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The Cardinals (13-3) were routed at home by Seattle 36-6 in their regular-season finale, a performance the team and coach Bruce Arians wrote off as an aberration in a game that meant nothing in terms of playoff positioning.
The Cardinals enter this week’s practices with a game plan for Green Bay virtually completed.
Arians said last week that the staff had a plan ready for any of the three potential opponents. The Cardinals devoted each of last week’s practice sessions to each of those possible foes — Green Bay on Tuesday, Minnesota on Wednesday and Washington on Thursday.
The Arizona players had the next four days off and won’t resume practice until Tuesday.
The Cardinals opened as seven-point favorites over the Packers (11-6).
Arizona would have faced Minnesota had the Vikings made that last short field goal and beat Seattle in Sunday’s wild-card game.
This is the Cardinals’ first playoff bye in their history, which doesn’t include many postseason appearances.
But Arizona did meet Green Bay in the playoffs once, and that 2010 matchup at University of Phoenix Stadium was a memorable one.