Aaron Rodgers, like every week, will be the difference-maker against the Bengals.
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Everyone loves to make predictions, especially when it comes to the National Football League – and when it comes to this week’s Green Bay Packers vs. Cincinnati Bengals matchup, many like the Packers.
That’s what I found on at least one website, Zoneblitz.com – where I was recently asked to contribute some thoughts … but before clicking on that link, read on because what I have to say below is a great precursor to what you will find over at that great site …
While there are many reasons the Packers SHOULD win Sunday, most point to the guy under center – Aaron Rodgers.
The Green Bay $120 million man pulls the trigger and it’s his presence on the field that week-in and week-out gives the Packers the chance to win. Rodgers alone is the difference-maker.
Which brings us to this game … one that has me worried at several levels. Cincinnati is an up-and-coming team. They’ve made the playoffs two years running. However, they still don’t get the respect many feel they deserve. They have played in the shadows of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens for far too long and they have been the red-headed stepchild for much too long.
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton is still an unkown. Many say he hasn’t raised his game to elite level yet. We’ll know more Sunday afternoon. Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports photograph
Well, they do have their own red head in the form of Andy Dalton – and he’s one of the pieces that worries me. For far too long we’ve seen the Packers defense schooled by quarterbacks who haven’t been seen as among the elite. Year-in and year-out there have been games the Packers have gone into as the favorites, only to be embarrassed by either a has-been quarterback or one on the cusp of notoriety. Sometimes they’ve been beaten by the dregs of the quarterback society, too, but we won’t even go in that direction.
So, where does Andy Dalton sit? We’ll find out tomorrow, but in the meantime, his potential disturbs me. If he gets a hot hand with his tight ends, the Packers defense may be dragging their tongues on the ground by game’s end. Of course, that’s not my hope, but it is a possibility.
Secondly, the Bengals front seven is beastly. Yes, the defensive backfield in Cincinnati is in disarray, but will Aaron Rodgers get the opportunity and the time to test them? With David Bakhtiari and Don Barclay manning the tackle positions, they will have their hands full once again with a defensive line that’s seen as one of the best in the league. However, they have played the past two weeks against two other defenses that have been seen as pretty good, too – though you might argue that Washington’s is apparently way overrated given that they’ve allow about 80 points in two games.
But getting back to the Bengals’ state of mind coming into this game. Because this team has finished in the depths of the standings for so many years, nobody’s watching (unless they saw “Hard Knocks”), and nobody really takes them seriously.
This game could be a turning point for the franchise – beat Green Bay and everyone takes notice. Beat Green Bay and all of a sudden you’re the wonderchild of the league. Beat Green Bay and you’re all of a sudden a Super Bowl contender.
So, while the pressure seems to be on Green Bay to win a game they should, we have to consider that more pressure is on the Bengals to win a game everybody says they can’t.
With all that said, I direct you to the zoneblitz.com website where I was asked to come up with reasons why the Packers will win and reasons why the Packers will lose. My reasonings are coupled with those put together by Jason Marcum, editor over at Stripe Hype, our sister fan site that is also under the FanSided.com umbrella of NFL sites.
The narration by both of us is similar, yet dissimilar – but the end result of both of our reasonings is the same: The Packers will win this game.
Tomorrow, the staffers here at Lombardiave.com will provide our predictions. I won’t make you wait for my prediction – I think you already know what it is. But you should click or tap on over to the Zoneblitz site to read this piece. I found it really interesting and I hope you will, too.
And while you’re at it, check out our weekly podcast over at blogtalkradio.com – click here and be sure to head on over to blogtalkradio.com to give it a listen.