The Packers will play the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium Sunday. It’s tough winning on the road and the Packers will have to bring their A-game to win this one. Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports photograph
The Green Bay Packers, like every team in the National Football League, is searching for an identity and they put that search on the line again this week when they matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals in Ohio.
So far, this has been a team with a Jekyl and Hyde persona. In week one, they had flashes of offensive brilliance and moments of offensive brain freeze. That seemed to have been corrected last week when they exploded for more than 500 yards of total offense.
In week one, the Packers did a great job in containing the 49ers run game, but seemed lost in the defensive backfield when Anquan Boldin made them look silly. Last week, the Packers played a strong first half in building a 24-0 first half lead and then sat back and allowed a lot of garbage yards in the second half.
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton will have to raise his level of play to beat the Packers. Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports photograph
So, as Green Bay heads into Cincinnati this weekend, we hope the Packers can put in four quarters of consistent football against a team that many have tabbed as a playoff team at the least and a potential Super Bowl entrant at best.
Going into this game, there are reasons why the Packers will win, but on the flip side, there are reasons that the Packers will come home for the bye at 1-2.
First, we take a look at the reasons the Packers win:
The Packers are coming off one of the team’s most impressive offensive showings in recent memory. But the Bengals offer their own challenges for the Packers – challenges that could be overcome by three factors: Aaron Rodgers, the defensive backfield and special teams.
The Packers will win at Cincinnati by allowing Aaron Rodgers to do what he does best: complete passes at a high percentage. But to do that, they have to keep him upright. He was sacked four times in last Sunday’s game, the bulk of the sacks coming in the first two series. After that, Rodgers was unconscious – he found every open receiver and rarely missed. In every game, each time he steps on the field, the Packers have a chance to win. His presence again gives the team that chance.
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green catches a 45 yard touchdown pass over Chicago Bears cornerback Tim Jennings during the second quarter at Soldier Field. Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports photograph
The defensive backfield has a huge challenge against this group of Bengals receivers. The talent on the Cincinnati offensive side of the football is undeniable. However, if Green Bay contains those receivers and keeps them out of the end zone, the Packers chances for a win increase dramatically.
Lastly, if the Packers are to win this game, the special teamers must tilt the field toward the Packers. Packers punter Tim Masthay has been incredible as a punter, but also in his handling of the kickoffs. He has been consistently placing the ball out of the end zone, forcing teams to start at the 20. That will be huge come Sunday. In addition, the Packers must be consistent in the return game and must stay away from turnovers.
Why the Green Bay Packers will lose to the Cincinnati Bengals
If the Packers fail in getting defensive pressure on Andy Dalton, they could be in for a long day.
If the Packers offensive line doesn’t protect Aaron Rodgers or open holes for the running game, the team will be in for a long day.
If the Packers allow the Bengals receivers to run wild, they will be in for a long day.
If Aaron Rodgers can’t get the ball to his wide receivers, they will be in a long day.
If the Packers can’t continue the momentum they gained last week against the Washington Redskins, they will be in for a long day.
The bottom line is that the offense must control the amount of time on the field. The defense must control the big receivers from Cincinnati and the Packers must get some turnovers, while the special teams also get into the act.
Without dominating the trenches and the clock, the Packers will have a tough time winning on the road.
So, that’s what I think – If you want to hear what our panel of staffers thing about last Sunday’s game and what the team faces this weekend, check out our weekly podcast … head on over to blogtalkradio.com to give it a listen