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first_img Comments   Share   When most people talk about the matchup between the Arizona Cardinals and Green Bay Packers the focus eventually turns to each team’s stars.For Arizona, that list includes quarterback Carson Palmer, receiver Larry Fitzgerald and cornerback Patrick Peterson, while for the Packers there is QB Aaron Rodgers, receiver Randall Cobb, defensive lineman Julius Peppers and linebacker Clay Matthews.Other players will undoubtedly have an impact on the game. Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling ESPN.com’s Field Yates, in an Insider piece, tried to pinpoint players who will do just that. Going over the X-factors for each team in the Divisional Round, he pointed to safety Rashad Johnson as the player who could come up big for Arizona.The Cardinals lost their most versatile defensive back, Tyrann Mathieu, in a Week 15 win against Philadelphia, but the secondary still has the personnel to keep this defense rolling. Johnson is among them, as he’s a steadying presence with excellent field vision and on-ball production.He had five interceptions this season and is getting back to 100 percent after missing a pair of games late in the season due to an ankle injury. The 30-year old is just a steady playmaker on whom Arizona will rely to try to smother Green Bay’s passing attack for a second time this season.Johnson did not play in the first meeting between these teams, which the Cardinals won 38-8 just a few weeks ago.On the season, the veteran has tallied 75 total tackles and 16 passes defensed to go along with his five interceptions. As Yates notes, Johnson is one of the team’s defensive leaders and someone who helps keep the rest of the team calm and ready to play. The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Arizona Cardinals free safety Rashad Johnson (26) tackles Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Mohamed Sanu (12) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 22, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)center_img For the Packers, Yates cited cornerback LaDarius Gunter and offensive lineman J.C. Tretter as players who could swing the game in Green Bay’s favor. Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Top Stories last_img


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