On paper, this Sunday’s match-up between the Cincinnati Bengals and Green Bay Packers has some things that fall in Cincy’s favor.
Pro Bowl QB Aaron Rodgers is going against the top passing defense in the NFL (allowing 104.5 yards per game). The Packers’ offensive line has surrendered seven sacks in two games and the Bengals found some edge rushers in the preseason. Green Bay is averaging just 20 points a game.
If only the game were played on a piece of paper.
The truth is, the Cincinnati Bengals haven’t looked too hot in losses to Baltimore and Houston. But given the above numbers, it’s reasonable to think they could pull off an upset against the Packers, who are favored by 7.5 points. It’s all about finding and exploiting the other team’s weaknesses. The Packers certainly have some. If the Bengals want to avoid an 0-3 start, they better do the smart thing – read this blog and plan their entire game strategy around it.
Let’s take a look at three areas where the Bengals can tip the game in their favor.
3 Keys to a Cincinnati Bengals Win
- Make Aaron Rodgers beat you. This one is probably a no-brainer. Really, name a team with Rodgers at QB who wouldn’t use him to try and beat you. But here’s the thing: Green Bay has no rushing attack. Their 71.5-yards-per-game average puts them at 27th in the league. Even the best offenses have limited effectiveness if they are one-dimensional. To boot, two of Green Bay’s wide receivers are listed as questionable (Jordy Nelson) and doubtful (Randall Cobb). Left tackle David Bakhtiari is also doubtful. Rodgers can certainly carry the load. But will he have no other option?
- Solid offensive line play. The Cincinnati Bengals O-line has been ungood so far in 2017. Their rushing totals are only marginally better than Green Bay (79.5 yards per game), and quarterback Andy Dalton took such a beating in Week 1 against Baltimore that he’s still seeing shades of purple every time he wipes. If the line can firm up and give Dalton time to throw, it will boost his confidence and keep Cincinnati in the game.
- Shake off the last two weeks. The most surefire way the Cincinnati players can lose this game is to go into it with their two losses in the backs of their minds. If they are thinking about the numbers 0 and 3, they’ll be beaten before they get a chance to call the opening coin toss. Snap and clear. Pull a Taylor Swift and shake it off. Catch a weak offensive team at a bad moment and put them in the hole.