Behind Enemy Lines: Cardinals look to hand Packers their first home loss

Dec 1, 2018, 9:01 PM | Updated: 9:03 pm
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers watches during the first half of an NFL football game a...
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers watches during the first half of an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)
(AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)

When the Arizona Cardinals take on the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on Sunday, Arizona will be challenging an undefeated team.

Yes, the Packers have a 4-6-1 overall record. And yes, they are on a two-game losing streak, including a crushing defeat on Sunday Night Football against the Minnesota Vikings.

At Lambeau, however, the Packers are 4-0-1, with their only blemish a tie against the same Vikings squad in Week 2.

Stopping the connection between quarterback Aaron Rodgers and receiver Davante Adams will be a key. Rodgers ranks sixth in the NFL in passing yards, while Adams ranks fourth in the NFL in touchdown receptions.

Running back Aaron Jones has at least one touchdown run in four of the Packers’ last five games.

Can the Cardinals defense solve the riddle of beating the Packers at home?

For more clues to that riddle, here is what’s happening in Packers Nation as the 2-9 Cardinals prepare to face Green Bay in the vaunted frozen tundra of Lambeau Field.

Saturday, December 1

• Can preseason star Jake Kumerow provide Packers with spark? (Packers Wire)

Only three players produced more receiving yards this past preseason than Green Bay Packers receiver Jake Kumerow.

He played in two games and caught only six passes, but his 190 receiving yards still finished fourth among all players.

Now, he’ll get his first chance to make an impact in a meaningful game.

• Packers promote versatile FB Danny Vitale from practice squad (Packers Wire)

A sixth-round pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2016, Vitale originally signed to the Packers practice squad on Oct. 22. He played 17 games for the Cleveland Browns between 2016 and 2017, catching seven passes for 46 yards and tallying 13 special teams tackles.

• 5 things Packers must do to beat Cardinals in Week 13 (Packers Wire)

The Green Bay Packers are 4-6-1 and squarely in must-win territory, with five games left to revive a sinking season and get back into the playoff race.

The revival tour must begin Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals.

Friday, November 30

• Packers’ Davante Adams: ‘I think I’m the best receiver in the NFL’ (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)

here is something Davante Adams believes to be true. Believes it so strongly he can’t — or won’t — contain it.

He is in the midst of a season any receiver would covet. The type of season that moves a receiver into elite company. No matter. Inside, something is biting at him. It has been biting for a while.

“I just want to get the respect that I deserve,” Adams said.

• Randall Cobb admits he came back too soon from hamstring injury (Packers Wire)

Maybe it was being in a contract year. Maybe it was the offense’s struggles. Maybe it was a lack of experience dealing with the injury.

Whatever it was, Green Bay Packers receiver Randall Cobb admitted Thursday he rushed through his recovery from a hamstring injury and tried to play too soon, resulting in two ineffective games and a re-aggravation of the injury.

Get-well game vs. Cardinals must also be statement game for Packers (Packers Wire)

The Cardinals’ standing in the NFL has left teams using their matchup as a change to avenge past losses and put them back on the right track as the season nears its end.

It’s no different for the 4-6-1 Packers, who are trying to remain in playoff contention.

From the story:

“When the Packers host the lowly Arizona Cardinals Sunday at Lambeau Field, the end result – and the process of getting there – needs to send a statement to the rest of the NFL and organically create the in-house confidence needed to ignite a late-season run.”

Tramon Williams on Cardinals’ wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald: ‘He’s too good to be true’ (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)

Cardinals’ wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald is a sure-fire Hall of Famer once he hangs up his cleats.

The Packers, especially defensive back Tramon Williams, respect Larry Legend.

Williams said he’s never met a guy like Fitzgerald, on or off the field.

“He is too good to be true,” Williams said. “He is that good.”

Thursday, November 29

Cobb: Rodgers ‘ready to light everybody up’ (ESPN)

Green Bay Packers receiver Randall Cobb, who has missed six of the last eight games because of a hamstring injury, believes he will return to play against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.

But that’s not the only thing he’s excited about.

He can’t wait to see what Aaron Rodgers does.

Aaron Rodgers neatly unpacks compounding issues hurting Packers offense (Packers Wire)

At his locker Wednesday afternoon, Aaron Rodgers treated his offense like a matryoshka doll, neatly unpacking the smaller issues tucked inside the larger problems that continue plaguing the Green Bay Packers.

The offense needs more plays. Which means the offense needs to convert more third downs. Which means the offense needs better execution on third down.

Everything is tied together, one issue of smaller detail lurking inside another.

Justin McCray remains ready and willing to do it all on Packers’ offensive line (

If there’s one thing the Packers have learned about Justin McCray over the last two years, it’s that the versatile offensive lineman is always ready to play.

Any spot. Any play. Anywhere.

During Sunday’s matchup in Minnesota, McCray entered the game at right guard under somewhat comical circumstances after Byron Bell’s cleat came off. The veteran then heaved it to Green Bay’s sideline – making the side judge duck – in an effort to stay on the field before finally leaving to have the equipment staff put the shoe back on.

Packers RB Aaron Jones meeting Joe Thomas’ rushing efficiency goal (Packers Wire)

Former Wisconsin Badgers and Cleveland Browns offensive lineman Joe Thomas has a smart way of evaluating the run game in the NFL. Instead of only looking at a player’s rushing average, Thomas prefers to dig into a player’s rushing efficiency.

It’s a simple process: Any play gaining four yards, achieving a first down or scoring a touchdown is a success. And a great running game succeeds at least 60 percent of the time.

Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones isn’t just leading the NFL in yards per carry at 6.0, but he’s hitting Thomas’ rushing efficiency goal.

Wednesday, November 28

• Aaron Rodgers may take more chances for struggling Packers (

Aaron Rodgers doesn’t think his fundamentals are out of whack. Nor does he think he’s playing any differently than in years past.

However, the two-time NFL MVP quarterback acknowledged that with the Green Bay Packers at 4-6-1 and barely alive for the playoffs, it might be time to play a little different, perhaps even take more chances.

“Yeah, why not?” Rodgers said Wednesday. “If we lose, you guys are just going to write us off, so might as well let it all hang out these last five [games].”

• Desperate Packers focus on fixes, tune out noise (Associated Press)

The Green Bay Packers must make a stand just to stay in the playoff conversation.

The injury list is growing. Their postseason hopes are in serious jeopardy. They’ll need breaks to go their way with teams ahead of them in the wild-card chase.

Tune out the outside noise and criticism of what might be wrong, David Bakhtiari said.

• A ton of Packers from the 1996 Super Bowl team will be in Milwaukee for a reunion on Saturday (including Brett Favre) (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

Thirty players who were part of the Super Bowl XXXI championship Green Bay Packers team will be at Wisconsin State Fair Park on Saturday, part of a reunion autograph show hosted by Ball Four Sports Collectibles.

Brett Favre, former general manager Ron Wolf and pretty much every other player you remember from that 1996 team will be there, including Desmond Howard, LeRoy Butler, Antonio Freeman, Mark Chmura, Frank Winters, Keith Jackson, Chris Jacke, Gilbert Brown, Santana Dotson, Sean Jones, Don Beebe, Dorsey Levens, William Henderson, Craig Newsome and Andre Rison.

Admission into the event, hosted at the Wisconsin Products Pavilion at 640 S. 84th Street in West Allis, is $7 for adults and seniors, with children under 5 and members of the military admitted for free. The event runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

• Unpopular Opinions: Aaron Rodgers’ Packers will make playoffs (’s Adam Rank gives his latest take on an unpopular opinion. His newest rendition was the Green Bay Packers make ing the playoffs.

Rank, as a Bears fan, cites that he’s seen this “play out way too many times.”

Tuesday, November 27

• No victory Monday, but Packers take day to regroup because … why not? (

It’s hard to have a victory Monday without a win on Sunday, but Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy felt his team needed a mental and physical break after a grueling stretch of four road games — three of them in prime time — in five weeks.

So that’s what he did after Sunday night’s 24-17 loss at Minnesota.

Analysis: Faulty footwork undermining Aaron Rodgers’ mechanics (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

Aaron Rodgers’ injuries might be taking a toll on him, not physically but mentally.

How else to explain the occasional breakdown in his throwing fundamentals? Rodgers has not been the same quarterback this year as in the past, and one of the reasons is he too often is throwing off his back foot when he could step into his throws.

• Green Bay Packers’ next opponent: Arizona Cardinals present a ‘get well’ game (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

The Green Bay Packers have lost four of five — all on the road — and they return home to Lambeau Field to take on an Arizona Cardinals team that has lost three straight. Under first-year coach Steve Wilks, the Cardinals are 2-9 and in the running for the No. 1 overall draft pick in April after a 45-10 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday.

 Packers poll: Playoff appearance or top-10 draft pick? (Packers Wire)

The 2018 season of the Green Bay Packers will trend one of three ways over the final five games.

Mike McCarthy’s team can make another successful run at an unexpected playoff appearance, sink toward a top-10 pick in next year’s draft or toil somewhere in between.

Run the table was so 2016; Packers have less reason for optimism (

When Aaron Rodgers said two years ago that he thought the Green Bay Packers could run the table even though they sat at 4-6 with six games to play, his claim was not without merit.

The Packers quarterback had just gotten one of his weapons, tight end Jared Cook, back from an ankle injury. In the game before “run the table” became a thing, Cook caught six passes for 105 yards and a touchdown in his first action since Week 3.

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Behind Enemy Lines: Cardinals look to hand Packers their first home loss