Cardinals demolish Packers and earn first-round playoff bye

Sun Dec 27, 2015 10:18pm EST
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(The Sports Xchange) - Quarterback Carson Palmer passed for two touchdowns, rookie running back David Johnson accounted for 127 yards from scrimmage and a score, and the Arizona Cardinals registered nine sacks en route to a 38-8 home victory over the hapless Green Bay Packers on Sunday.

Two of the sacks on Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers resulted in fumbles and touchdown returns by the Cardinals' defense.

With their ninth straight victory, and a franchise-record 13th of the season, the Cardinals secured no less than the No. 2 seed in the NFC and with it, a first-round bye in the playoffs -- another franchise first.

If Carolina loses next week at home to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Cardinals beat the visiting Seattle Seahawks, Arizona (13-2) would claim the No. 1 seed over the Panthers by virtue of a better conference record.

"It's too early for that," Cardinals defensive tackle Calais Campbell said when asked if Arizona is the best team in the NFL.

"It's just one game. We still have a lot more to do moving forward. It doesn't really matter to us who the best team is now because at the end of the year there is only one team that gets crowned."

The Packers (10-5) never got going against the league's seventh-ranked defense, which harassed Rodgers all afternoon.

Not only did Green Bay, which had won three straight, squander a chance to capture the NFC North title, but they lost two more starters during the game.

Already playing without left tackle David Bakhtiari and cornerback Sam Shields, Green Bay had nose tackle B.J. Raji leave the game in the first half with a concussion and right tackle Bryan Bulaga exit in the third quarter with an ankle injury.   Continued...

Dec 27, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer throws a pass in the first half against the Green Bay Packers at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Packers 38-8. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports