Tale Of The Tape: Green Bay Packers At Cincinnati Bengals
- QuarterbackAaron Rodgers has been on top of his game through the first two weeks of the season, throwing for 813 yards and seven touchdowns. While the Bengals have plenty of defensive talent and could present some problems, there’s no reason to think that Rodgers won’t continue to function at a high level. Rodgers’ quick release and accuracy separate him from his competition.Andy Dalton is inspired when he goes up against the best quarterbacks in the NFL. The sight of Rodgers on the other side of the field should mean that Dalton will be at his best. Dalton’s best attribute may be his ability to stay cool under fire and deliver the ball in a place where his receiver can make a play and out of the defender’s reach.
- OffenseThe Packers broke their long drought of not having a 100-yard rusher—45 games-- when backup running back James Starks powered through the Redskins defense for 132 yards. Starks moved into the No. 1 role when rookie Eddie Lacy suffered a concussion. Starks is likely to get the call against the Bengals. James Jones is a versatile receiving threat while Jordy Nelson simply will not drop the ball.The Bengals know that they have a reliable running back in BenJarvus Green-Ellis, but he is not going to break long runs. As soon as they decide to trust rookie Gio Bernard, the Bengals will become much more explosive. A.J. Green is capable of dominating any defense because he can make the tough catch, come down and reach full speed in one stride.
- DefenseThe Packers appear to be a bit more competitive on defense than they were a year ago. Notice how many punishing hits they deliver as they are not content to merely bring the ball carrier down. B.J. Raji is once again tying up blockers in the middle of the line, while Sam Shields was all over the field against the Redskins with eight tackles in Week Two.The Bengals probably have the best pair of defensive tackles in the league in Geno Atkins and Domata Peko. That pair should be able to shut down the interior run against Green Bay. James Harrison has upped the meanness quotient on the Bengals defense.
- Special TeamsThe Packers gambled in the offseason because they decided to give shaky Mason Crosby another crack at the placekicking job after a miserable 2012 season. Punter Tim Masthay is an average punter who does a decent job at kicking away from opposing returners. Randall Cobb is a decent threat as a return specialist.Mike Nugent is a decent placekicker, but no better than middle of the pack. Kevin Huber has a big leg and can flip the field position with his booming kicks. Adam Jones may no longer be a game-changing return specialist, but he is above average.
The Packers were embarrassed with the way the 2012 season ended. After being blown out by the 49ers in that game, they appear much more physical than they were a year ago and they should have a good chance of outlasting the Bengals in this game. -Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports contributor