Boy oh boy, the special teams for the Packers give me nightmares. Two games in a row, the right side of the field goal unit has collapsed. The game-winning kick in San Francisco was almost blocked and then the Steelers blocked a kick at the end of the first half last week that would have been a game-changer if Joe Haden had not been called offsides. I’m not even sure he was really offsides. Either way, the right side of the field goal unit has to get things figured out.
On the positive side, Mason Crosby is a cold-blooded stud. That’s all I need to say about him.
The Packers seem to have finally found a punter as well. A lot of fans weren’t too happy when the Packers traded draft capital for a punter, but after four weeks, I think we can all say it was well worth it. Corey Bojorquez has been a stud so far. He is averaging 47.5 yards per punt with a long of 63 yards. He has pinned the opponent inside their own 20-yard line five times this year on 13 punts with no touchbacks. He’s been a weapon for the Packers.
The coverage units continue to be a problem, but that’s nothing new in Green Bay.
I will admit, I’m not the most knowledgeable guy when it comes to other teams’ special teams units. But the stats can usually paint a pretty accurate picture.
Their kicker, Evan McPherson, has very similar stats to Mason Crosby. Both have attempted six field goals this year. McPherson has hit five-of-six, while Crosby is perfect. McPherson has a long of 53 yards, compared to Crosby’s long of 54. Both are 11-of-11 in extra points. So we’ll call this matchup a wash.
Their punter, Kevin Huber, is also similar to Bojo. He has punted the ball 17 times this year with an average of 46.5 yards per punt and a long of 61 yards. He has pinned his opponent inside their 20-yard line seven times with just two touchbacks. I think I’ll have to give the slight edge to Bojo and the Packers.
I don’t know a lot about their coverage unit, but I’m going with the Bengals because the Packers are just that bad.
Again, I don’t know a ton about special teams, but with kicking and punting, both Cincinnati and Green Bay are close. I think coverage units make a big difference in games and the Packers just haven’t figured it out yet.
Advantage: Bengals, but by a tiny amount
Overall, I think think the Packers’ offense is the biggest difference in the game. When they are on a roll, it makes the opposing offense one-dimensional, something the Packers’ defense can work with.
I like Cincinnati’s defense, but even very good defenses struggle with Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. I have faith that LaFleur will come up with a game plan that will work with what the Packers have that will limit the strengths of the Cincinnati defense.
I think the Bengals make it a game, especially at home, but in the end, the Packers pull out a close one.
Packers 24 – Bengals 20