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(Sunday, January 3rd)
Final Score: Green Bay 33, Arizona 7
Glendale, AZ (Sports Network) - Aaron Rodgers threw for 235 yards and a touchdown and ran for another score, as the Green Bay Packers dominated the Arizona Cardinals, 33-7, in an NFC playoff preview.
The Packers, who had clinched a wild card berth, are locked into the fifth seed and will travel back to Glendale next Sunday to meet the fourth-seeded Cardinals at 4:40 p.m. (et).
Ryan Grant also rushed for a score for Green Bay (11-5), which will enter the playoffs having won seven of its last eight. The only loss in that stretch was a one-point setback at Pittsburgh on December 20.
"I thought it was clear our football team needed to continue to stay on the pace, continue to make progress," Packers head coach Mike McCarthy said. "We wanted to come out here to win the game, keep us razor-sharp and gain some momentum going into the playoffs."
Kurt Warner played the first quarter for the NFC West-champion Cardinals (10-6) and finished 4-of-6 for 31 yards. Matt Leinart got the bulk of playing time at quarterback and was 13-of-21 for 96 yards with two interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown by Charles Woodson, as Arizona had a two-game win streak snapped.
Also for Arizona, cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie suffered a left knee contusion after being spiked early in the game, but is expected to play next week. Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt said health was his team's biggest concern, adding that Calais Campbell suffered a thumb injury and wide receiver Anquan Boldin had an ailing ankle, on top of Rodgers-Cromartie's bruised knee.
"Obviously that happening on the third play of the game really was kinda scary from the standpoint of a good player," Whisenhunt said of Rodgers-Cromartie. "One thing you're trying to do is keep from having somebody get injured. Hopefully we'll have good news on these guys as we go forward."
The Packers opened the game with a scoring drive, which Grant capped with a one-yard run off the right end with 8:45 left in the opening quarter. Though the initial extra point was blocked, a defensive penalty was called and Green Bay got the point after to take a 7-0 lead.
After Arizona punted, Green Bay drove for another score, mostly thanks to a 51-yard connection between Rodgers and Jordy Nelson that got the ball to the one-yard line. Rodgers ran into the end zone on the next play to make it 14-0.
Leinart took over for Warner as the Cardinals took the ball at their own two shortly into the second quarter. Leinart was intercepted on the drive's third play, but a holding penalty in the end zone resulted in a safety for Green Bay, which got a 26-yard field goal from Mason Crosby on the ensuing possession to take a 19-0 lead.
Several plays into the Cardinals' next drive, Woodson picked off Leinart at the Arizona 45 and returned it up the sideline for a score, diving across the goal line.
Green Bay took the 26-0 advantage into halftime and continued to dominate, going on a 14-play, 94-yard drive that took up half of the third quarter. Rodgers ended it with a five-yard TD pass to Jermichael Finley.
Rodgers sat in the fourth quarter as Matt Flynn replaced him under center.
The Cardinals got their lone score after Ralph Brown intercepted Flynn late in the fourth quarter. Brian St. Pierre then found Larry Fitzgerald for a three- yard touchdown with 2:59 left, the first TD pass of his career.
Boldin finished with three catches for 38 yards to go over the 1,000-yard receiving mark for a fifth season...Woodson's interception was his ninth of the season, a career high. He has returned three for touchdowns this season, also a new career best...Cardinals punter Ben Graham had three punts inside the 20-yard line Sunday, giving him 42 this season to tie an NFL record. The 49ers' Andy Lee also had 42 in 2007...Fitzgerald's TD reception was his 13th of the season, a career high.
01/03 22:53:48 ET