Cardinals v. Packers: Madden 16 Simulation

Dec 27, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (right) greets Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers following the game at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 27, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (right) greets Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers following the game at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

With a huge NFC Divisional matchup between the Arizona Cardinals and the Green Bay Packers on the dock for Saturday, the decision has been made to run a Madden 16 simulation to find out who will advance to the NFC Championship game.

The Cardinals will play host to the Packers on Saturday night at University of Phoenix with a spot at reaching the NFC Championship game on the line. My thought process on the game… Why wait until Saturday to figure out who is going to win the Week 16 rematch? Solution: Madden 16 simulation.

The beginning of the Madden 16 simulation for the game started with a pair of three-and-outs for each of the two teams, but the Cardinals finally cashed in on their second drive of the contest. It was a nine-play, 74-yard drive that was capped off by a Carson Palmer 2-yard touchdown run to help the Cardinals grab an early 7-0 lead.

On the ensuing Packers drive, Jerraud Powers came off the edge and got to Aaron Rodgers causing a fumble that was recovered by newly signed linebacker Jason Babin at the Packers 21-yard line. Unfortunately for the Cardinals, they were unable to fully cash in on the terrific field position and walked away with a 35-yard field goal from Chandler Catanzaro to grab a 10-0 lead.

With a 10-0 lead entering the 2nd quarter, the Packers had some work cut out for themselves. The Packers first drive of the second frame got to the Arizona 35 yard line, but on 4th-and-2 the Packers offense remained on the field and were unable to pick up the first down.

The Cardinals took over on downs and drove all the way down to the red zone. Inside the red zone is where Palmer hooked up with Larry Fitzgerald on a 14-yard touchdown pass, putting the Cardinals up 17-0. The Packers and Cardinals exchanged field goals under the two-minute warning, sending the Cardinals to the locker room at the half with a 20-3 lead.

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On the first drive of the second half, Rodgers drove the Packers down the field to the red zone, but the drive stalled just outside the Cardinals 10-yard line. Green Bay chose to send out Mason Crosby for his second field goal attempt of the game to cut the lead to two possessions at 20-6. The two teams played some terrific defense during the remainder of the third quarter resulting in punt-after-punt over the next 10 minutes of the half.

The Cardinals began to rely on David Johnson and Andre Ellington to run down the clock with a 20-6 lead in the 4th quarter. On a drive that Arizona killed off 7:30 from the game clock, Johnson fumbled inside the red zone and the Packers returned the fumble to the Arizona 11-yard line. Crosby ended up coming on for a 23-yard field goal three plays later to cut the lead to 20-9.

With just over six minutes left in the game the Packers surprised the Cardinals by attempting an onside kick in which the Packers recovered. Six plays later, the Packers were in the end zone for the first time all game on a James Starks 22-yard run. The Packers were unable to convert the two-point conversion, leaving the score at 20-15 Cardinals with 4:45 left.

With no timeouts left for Green Bay, they decided to go for another onside kick, but Arizona recovered the Packers onside kick this time however. On a 3rd-and-1 from the Packers 32-yard line and the game essentially on the line, Palmer ran a play-action play and the Packers bit on the fake allowing Palmer to find John Brown down the sideline for a game-sealing touchdown.

The Cardinals grabbed a 27-15 lead with the Palmer-to-Brown connection and that score would stand as the final score of the contest. The Arizona Cardinals advance to the NFC Championship game.


1. Passing:

(AZ) Carson Palmer: 31/47, 327 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT

(GB) Aaron Rodgers: 33/54, 409 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT

2. Rushing:

(AZ) David Johnson: 22 carries, 81 yards, 0 TD

(AZ) Andre Ellington: 6 carries, 22 yards, 1 TD

(AZ) Carson Palmer: 2 carries, 2 yards, 1 TD

(GB) James Starks: 12 carries, 44 yards, 1 TD

(GB) Eddie Lacy: 8 carries, 12 yards, 0 TD

3. Receiving:

(AZ) Larry Fitzgerald: 11 catches, 108 yards, 1 TD

(AZ) John Brown: 8 catches, 55 yards, 1 TD

(AZ) Michael Floyd: 7 catches, 48 yards, 0 TD

(GB) James Starks: 9 catches, 93 yards, 0 TD

(GB) James Jones: 8 catches, 119 yards, 0 TD

(GB) Randall Cobb: 6 catches, 76 yards, 0 TD

4. Defense:

(AZ) Rashad Johnson: 11 tackles

(AZ) Jerraud Powers: 9 tackles, 1 pass deflection, 1 forced fumble

(GB) Casey Hayward: 6 tackles, 1 INT

(GB) Clay Matthews: 6 tackles, 3 TFL, 2 sacks

Next: Packers likely to be without WR Davante Adams

The Cardinals would happily take a 12-point victory over the Packers on Saturday. Be sure to tune into the game at 6:15 p.m. on NBC.