22

September

Packers Periscope: Eyeing the Enemy (Bengals)

After easily dumping the Washington Redskins last Sunday in their home opener, the Green Bay Packers once again hit the road and tomorrow face the Cincinnati Bengals.

The Bengals, like the Packers, are 1-1 and are tied for first place in the AFC North with the defending world champion Baltimore Ravens.  Cincinnati was the chic pick by many to win the AFC North and after an opening day loss to the Chicago Bears, they bounced back nicely against the Pittsburgh Steelers Monday night, defeating their archrival by a score of 20-10.

Despite some accuracy issues by quarterback Andy Dalton, the Bengals were able to move the ball in the second half and a depleted Pittsburgh team just couldn’t keep up.  Rookie running back Giovani Bernard took some of the pressure off of Dalton and helped put the Steelers away.

The last time we met

The last time the Bengals and Packers met, the game ended in heartbreak for Green Bay.  During their Week 2 game in 2009, the Bengals edged the Packers 31-24 after Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers failed to stop the clocked in a frantic last minute drive to score the game-tying touchdown.

This also was the same game former Cincinnati receiver Chad Ochocinco/Johnson performed the Lambeau Leap he was promising/threatening all week. Carson Palmer was able to move the ball down the field almost at will with Green Bay still adjusting to their new 3-4 defense.

The Bengals lead the overall series between the two teams, 6-5.

What’s up in the ‘Nati

The Cincinnati offense has tremendous potential, especially with the acquisition of Bernard in the draft, but like many NFL teams it has a question mark at quarterback.  Since the team went its separate ways with Carson Palmer the Bengals have placed their faith in Andy Dalton, the third year quarterback out of TCU.

Dalton’s performance thus far has been rather, well, average.  To date, he has thrown 50 touchdown passes in his career to 31 interceptions.   Dalton is one of those solid yet unspectacular quarterbacks, much like Kyle Orton when he was with the Chicago Bears.  There remains a lot of doubt about whether or not Dalton can take the Bengals to the next level, especially with how much talent is now around him on the offense.

23

August

Packers – Bengals Preseason Preview: The Dress Rehearsal

Cedric Benson

This time, RB Cedric Benson will be suiting up in Green and Gold.

The third week of the preseason is upon us, which is also known as the “dress rehearsal” for the starters before the real games begin in earnest.

That means we will get to see a full half of Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers’ starting offense tonight as they face off against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium.  The starting offense showed some signs of life last week against the Cleveland Browns, but still struggled in some areas.

Same goes for the Packers’ starting defense.  Tackling seemed to be improved, but the defense still was swallowed up in coverage by rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden.  This week, they face off against Andy Dalton and a Bengals offense that struggled at times in the 2011 season.

As for the backups, this is a big game for Graham Harrell.  Confidence in him as the backup behind Aaron Rodgers hit an all-time low after the 35-10 loss to the Browns in which Harrell failed to lead the offense to a touchdown in roughly three quarters of action.

Here’s what to look for in tonight’s game:

Turnovers

It’s starting to sound like a broken record, but the Packers must start taking better care of the football.

As a team that is traditionally near the top of the NFL in turnover ratio, the ball handling the Packers have displayed in the preseason has been one of the biggest surprises to the start of the 2012 season.  Wide receivers coughing up the ball (here’s looking at you, Randall Cobb) and running backs putting the ball on the ground are inexcusable.  Having the best quarterback in the game will get the team nowhere if you can’t hang onto the football.

This game is the last chance the starters have to alleviate fears of many fans.  While not all the turnovers have come from the first unit, there have been enough to at least raise some eyebrows.

The debut of Cedric Benson

With James Starks and Brandon Saine not playing in the game, this is a chance for Benson to show he still has what made him a consistent 1,000 yard rusher.   Some took the signing of Benson as putting Starks on notice and many believe Benson will supplant Starks as the Packers’ starting running back.