“I don’t think it’s a distraction,” McCarthy said of Christmas falling two days before the Packers’ big game in Arizona. “I think it’s a big dose of positive energy. It’s the way it’s supposed to be. Those types of things make you dial in and focus. I think it’s a complete jolt of positive energy we’re all blessed to have at this time of the year.”
The Packers will face the 12-2 Cardinals on Sunday, in a game that could determine the No. 2 seed in the NFC playoffs. With a win, the Cardinals will clinch the No. 2 seed. A Packers win would allow them to grab the No. 2 seed with a win over the Vikings and a Cardinals loss to the Seahawks in Week 17.
“I think Arizona is an excellent football team. Very balanced on offense. Carson Palmer is playing great. They play excellent team defense. They’re very aggressive and they’re doing a great job of taking the ball away,” McCarthy said on Thursday.
The Cardinals will be without cornerback and leading interceptor Tyrann Mathieu, who was lost this week to a torn ACL.
“Mathieu is a dynamic football player. Our focus is on how are they going to adjust to it,” McCarthy said.
Injury update: McCarthy said the playing status of LT David Bakhtiari (ankle) and CB Sam Shields (concussion) would be determined on Saturday, after the team practices in Arizona. Both players missed practice again on Thursday.
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