Last week against the Washington Redskins, the Green Bay Packers proved they were the better team, shredding the Redskins’ defense through the air and on the ground. A dominating win like that can build a ton of momentum for future weeks. This week, the Packers travel to Cincinnati to take on the 2-0 Bengals. The Bengals are coming off of a short week after they defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday night.
Last week against the Redskins, quarterback Aaron Rodgers had a career day passing the football, throwing for 480 yards and four touchdowns. During that game, the Packers also found a running game. After Eddie Lacy was taken out of the game with a concussion, James Starks took over as the lead running back and did not disappoint. Starks ended the Packers streak of not having a 100-yard rusher in 44 games by rushing for 132 yards against Washington’s defense. That, and the fact that Lacy won’t be at full health because of his concussion, is why Starks was given the starting job for this Sunday’s game.
The Packers defense will have their work cut out for them as the Bengals have big time playmaker A.J. Green. Green has shown his ability to make the big plays since the Bengals drafted him in the first round in 2011. After snagging Green, the Bengals got a steal in the second round when they drafted quarterback Andy Dalton out of TCU. In the two years that Dalton has been the starting quarterback, he has led the team to the playoffs, both times resulting in first round exits to the Houston Texans. Unlike what the Packers have dealt with the first two weeks of the season, Dalton is not a quarterback that likes to run the read-option. Instead, he likes to do his damage from the pocket, so it will be important for the Packers’ pass rush to force Dalton into uncomfortable situations.
Unfortunately for the Packers, this will be their last game before their bye week, so ending this game on a positive note will be key as the bye week looms. On the bright side for the Packers, after their bye, it’s the start of divisional play as the Detroit Lions come to Lambeau. First things first, the Packers need to take care of the Bengals. A road win against a high caliber team would be huge this early in the season. As long as the offense keeps clicking and the defense plays smart, Green Bay will be a happier place during the bye week.