Green Bay fans aka Cheeseheads don't need any reasons to watch their beloved Packers take on the Cardinals for the first preseason game, but here are some compelling reasons to watch and bet on this matchup.

  • Aug. 19, 2011, at Lambeau Field; Packers won, 28-20
  • QB Aaron Rodgers connected on 9 of 12 passes for 97 yards and a TD (126.0
    passer rating).
  • WR Chastin West led Green Bay’s offense with 134 receiving yards on five
    catches (26.8 avg.), highlighted by a game-winning 97-yard TD grab from QB Matt
    Flynn early in the fourth quarter that gave the Packers a 21-20 lead.
  • Flynn completed 5 of 6 passes for 141 yards and a TD for a perfect 158.3
    passer rating.
1. David Bakhtiari.
In most preseason openers, Packers coach Mike McCarthy plays his starters only a few series. But look for new starting left tackle Bakhtiari to stay on the field even after the rest of the No. 1 offensive line retires for the night.

“He needs to learn to play the position at this level and speed and see the things he’s going to see in Week 1,” McCarthy said.

McCarthy tabbed the fourth-round pick from Colorado to start after Bryan Bulaga
sustained a season-ending knee injury, and so far the 21-year-old from the University
of Colorado has performed well.

“To his credit, he has picked things up really nicely and done a
good job for being book smart, but he transfers that onto the field,” Packers
offensive line coach James Campen said. “He’s the type of guy who’s
very cerebral and can go out there, see it in the meeting, take the information,
process it and put it on the field.”

2. The kickers.
Special teams coach Shawn Slocum could not have been put it any more
directly when asked about veteran kicker Mason Crosby’s on-going struggles.

“It’s time to make some field goals,” Slocum said this week.

Of course, he said the same thing last season when Crosby went through a horrible
stretch in which he missed 12-of-24 field goals on the way to an NFL-worst 63.6
percent conversion rate. Crosby had another woeful performance in last
Saturday’s scrimmage, when he made just 3-of-8 field goals. He bounced back with
a 3-for-4 performance in the lone field goal period during practice this week
but is just 15-of-23 so far in training camp.

The challenger, unproven first-year kicker Giorgio Tavecchio, can’t match Crosby’s leg
strength but has been far more accurate (19-of-23). Fundamentally, they are
completely different kickers. The right-footed Crosby use a two-step approach,
while the left-footed Tavecchio uses a three-step approach.

“I’ll tell you this, I’m going to withhold my judgment until we see these games start to
occur,” Slocum said. “That’s the biggest stage we can evaluate with right now,
and that’s where we’ll do that.”

3. Vince Young. If McCarthy and quarterbacks coach Ben McAdoo had enough time,
they would probably make significant changes to Young’s footwork and throwing motion.
But with only three days of practice after Young signed a minimum contract with the Packers on
Monday, a complete overhaul is out of the question.

Instead, they have tried to give Young enough instruction to allow him to function. Though it
looked ugly at times in practice – he threw an interception during a half-speed,
jog-through period on Thursday – Young is expected to play against the Cardinals
because the Packers need to begin evaluating whether the 30-year-old former
first-round draft pick would be an upgrade over backups Graham Harrell and B.J. Coleman.

“It’s definitely a challenge; it’s not easy,” McAdoo said. “It’s a lot easier to do it with a
veteran than a rookie coming in at this point. He has some background. He’s
played some football. He’s won some games in this league and has played well.
That’ll help.”

4. The return game. The Packers will continue to explore options so that they don’t have
to put Randall Cobb, one of their top receivers, at kick returner. With Cobb perhaps out
Friday night because of a biceps injury, it means Jeremy Ross should get the first crack at the
returns. Slocum has little doubt about Ross’ ability, but ball security
continues to be a concern. Ross had a 49-yard kickoff return in Saturday’s
scrimmage but muffed a punt in practice three days later.

The Packers have used several returners in practice, but many of them are unlikely to make
the roster. Ross is a good bet because of his improvement as a receiver. So is
rookie running back Johnathan Franklin, who has almost no experience
as a returner but has been working on it in practice.

5. Running backs. The unquestioned star of last Saturday’s scrimmage was rookie
Eddie Lacy, who had explosive runs of 16 and 20 yards.

It would be an upset if Lacy isn’t the Week 1 starter, especially considering Franklin is
off to a slow start and DuJuan Harris (knee) remains out. The only thing
that could hold back Lacy is an injury, and sure enough he had a hamstring
tighten up on him this week and might not play against the Cardinals.

  • The Green Bay Packers’ 2013 season officially kicks off Friday night when
    they welcome the Arizona Cardinals to Lambeau Field, the first time since 2010
    that Green Bay has opened its preseason slate at home.
  • It marks the third time in the past five years that the clubs have squared
    off in the preseason, with the last meeting between the teams coming in 2011 at
    Lambeau Field (Aug. 19).
  • The teams have met 22 times before in the preseason, with the Packers
    holding a 16-6 lead in the all-time series. The clubs’ first preseason meeting
    came on Aug. 16, 1950, when the Packers hosted the Chicago Cardinals in Green
    Bay. The teams went on to play each other every year in the preseason from
    1950-58 (twice in 1957).
  • The Packers have won each of the last six meetings between the clubs in the
    preseason. This marks the first time that Green Bay has opened the preseason
    against the Cardinals since the teams squared off in New Orleans on Aug. 8,
  • This will be the fourth preseason meeting between the clubs (2002, 2009,
    2011) since the Cardinals moved to Arizona in 1988.
  • The Packers hosted the Cardinals last season in Week 9, a 31-17 Green Bay
    victory highlighted by QB Aaron Rodgers
    four TD passes.
  • One of Green Bay’s finest offensive efforts in the preseason came in 2009 at
    Arizona when the Packers racked up 38 points and 357 yards of total offense in
    the first half of their eventual 44-37 victory.
  • The Packers enter Friday night’s contest having won six of their last eight
    preseason games at Lambeau Field.
  • Green Bay’s next preseason contest comes a week from Saturday when it
    travels to St. Louis to face the Rams on Aug. 17.