Green Bay at Cincinnati

After coming off a dominating performance against the RedSkins the Packers head to beautiful Ohio to take on the Bengals.  Cincinnati  is coming off an offensive-shootout (heh-heh) win against the Steelers this past Monday night.  Cincinnati took awhile to get going against the Steelers but ultimately took over the game in the second half.

For those that didn’t catch the Cincy game on Monday, Andy Dalton got off to a slow start.  Cincy put themselves in numerous 3rd and pass situations, putting the pressure on Dalton to convert.  The Bengal WR’s were able to get separation early but Dalton was a bit off early in the game; many of his passes were sailing high early on.  Dalton would eventually settle down but Cincy’s struggles on 3rd down(7 for 17) will need to be addressed if they’re going to have success against Green Bay’s defense.

Green Bay comes into the game with a very banged up secondary that’s had their fair share of struggles these first two weeks.  In week 1, it was Boldin and Davis; in week 2, it was Garcon (catch-up ball).  Green Bay’s secondary will have to find an answer for Green as he’s one of the best WR’s they’ll see all year.  Green Bay will also need an answer for Jermaine Gresham, who’s proven he’s a big play threat as well.  Look for Dom Capers to throw timely blitzes at Dalton with various looks on the back-end to try to confuse him and get Rodgers a few short fields to work with.

Up front, Green Bay’s run defense has been stout the first few weeks.  They committed to stopping the run vs. the 9ers and gave up chunks to the ‘Skins late but ultimately they’ve been impressive the first two weeks.  Cincinnati boasts one of the leagues more impressive offensive lines so the trench game shapes up to be an interesting one.  In my opinion, Cincinnati must stay two-dimensional on offense if they’re going to hang around given Green Bay’s high octane passing game.

Offensively, everyone knows Green Bay’s game plan.  They’ll look to keep the Bengals honest with Starks coming off a big week vs. the ‘Skins.  If Green Bay establishes an effective run game it could prove to be a long day for the Bengals, look for Peko and Atkins to be very active early in an attempt to take away the Green Bay run game.

On the back-end, Cincy will have their hands full.  Jones, Cobb, Nelson, and Finley are all big play threats.  Hall, Newman, Jones and the safeties will be busy all day, look for Zimmer to throw various coverage looks and timely blitzes at Rodgers to keep him guessing.  Zimmer will be preaching the importance of limiting the big play this week as Green Bay has 12 catches of 20+ yards.

Final thoughts:

  • Special teams will be a big part of this game, field position will be critical
  • Jeremy Ross has been sub-par on his kick returns so far averaging only 13.5 yds a return
  • Tim Masthay is killing the ball on kickoffs
  • Pacman is always a threat on punt returns
  • Green could have a monster day
  • Weather looks to be high 60’s with little to no wind and sunny

Prediction:  Green Bay 30, Cincy 24

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