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Packers Primer: NBC26 previews Packers vs. Bengals

Posted: 11:54 AM, Sep 23, 2017
Updated: 2017-09-23 12:54:40-04
Packers Primer: NBC26 previews Packers vs. Bengals

The Packers take on the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday at 3:25 p.m. We've got you covered with everything you need to know about this game. 

Storylines to watch

  • What will the Bengals' supposedly new offense look like? The Bengals have not yet scored a touchdown this season and already have fired their offensive coordinator, Ken Zampese. Through two games, Bengals QB Andy Dalton has completed only 54.5 percent of his passes for 394 yards and no scores, along with tossing four picks. But with just Clay Matthews and Ahmad Brooks likely on the edges and no Mike Daniels or Nick Perry, can the Packers defense effectively rush Dalton? Additionally, Bengals rookie back Joe Mixon could be a potentially dangerous weapon on offense, and the Packers defense - stifling against the Seahawks in Week 1, but terrible at stopping Falcons Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman - should test what neutralizing the run would translate to for Cincinnati's offense. At the end of the day, though, this game is about how the Packers rebound after Atlanta. So we'll get to the good stuff...
  • Will we see more or less of Ty Montgomery? With Randall Cobb out and Jordy Nelson returning from a minor quad injury, Ty Montgomery will yet again be a huge part of the Packers' successful formula on offense. The Bengals are almost dead-last in rushing yards allowed and 22nd in yards per carry, with 4.2. Montgomery has been versatile as a runner and receiver in 2017 so far, ranking sixth in the NFL in yards from scrimmage (203) and tied for third-most touchdowns in the league (three) as well as third among NFL running backs with 114 receiving yards. Montgomery also tops the NFL yards after catch with 133 - one of his best assets. The Packers must put up big plays, as the Bengals have shown it's hard for their defense to get off the field on third downs.
  • Who will protect Aaron Rodgers? (Part II): A familiar storyline for the third week, as there again are questions along the banged-up offensive line. Bryan Bulaga could play, but David Bakhtiari is out again on Rodgers' blind side. For all their woes on the offensive side of the ball, the Bengals' pass rush has been steady, anchored by All-Pro DT Geno Atkins and Pro Bowl end Carlos Dunlap. After originally being listed on the injury report, Atkins should be good to go, and that's not a good thing for the Packers. (Google a video of Atkins' decimating blow of a sack to Deshaun Watson last week.) Atkins was the NFL's top defensive player last week, and his play looks a lot like Mike Daniels' disruptive style, shown by his 66 combined sacks and QB hits since 2015.
  • How will the secondary bounce back to cover another elite receiver? Packers fans still want to see that Green Bay's 31st-ranked secondary has improved since 2016, although Week 2 in Atlanta didn't make much of a case for that. Watch how the unit handles Bengals receiver A.J. Green, who's among the best in the NFL and very similar in size, speed and style to Julio Jones, who racked up 108 yards on five catches last week against Green Bay. Which leads us to our next question...
  • ...Will Kevin King see more playing time? In a word: Yes. He handled the Falcons game as best a rookie can, and his confidence has grown through limited snaps in the first two games. His measurables obviously pop out on paper: 6-foot-3, 32-inch arms, 4.43 40-yard dash. He was more successful than Damarious Randall in Atlanta and gives the Packers that dash of speed and size they lack in the secondary. Most importantly, the Packers have begun to realize his development is key now for his performances to come in January; after six snaps in Week 1, he took 46 against the Falcons. Both Defensive Coordinator Dom Capers and Head Coach Mike McCarthy said he deserves to see more playing time, and he should. King especially matches up well against Green this week.

Crunching some numbers

  • -5: Bengals' turnover margin so far this season
  • 1998: Last time the Packers won against the Bengals
  • 178: How much the Packers have outscored AFC opponents since 2006 at Lambeau Field, which is best among NFC teams and No. 7 in the NFL
  • 15: Seasons Marvin Lewis has been the Bengals' head coach. He is one of the longest-tenured coaches in the league, alongside McCarthy and Bill Belichick.
  • 0: How many times Aaron Rodgers has beaten the Bengals 
  • 0: Times the Bengals have made it into the end zone this season

Series storylines

  • Last regular-season meeting: Sept. 22, 2013, Bengals won, 34-30, at Paul Brown Stadium
  • Bengals lead all-time series, 7-5 (regular season)
  • Cincinnati has won the last three regular-season contests (2005, 2009 and 2013)
  • Six of the last seven games between Green Bay and Cincinnati have been settled by seven points or less, including each of the last four.
  • The Bengals play in Titletown for just the sixth time ever and the first time since 2009

What they’re saying in Cincy

What they’re saying in Titletown

Quick hits

  • The short game: The Packers will play two games in five days, as the Bears come to town for a matchup at Lambeau Thursday night. It'll be the third consecutive Thursday night game between Chicago and Green Bay.
  • Chance at history: At 74 sacks after Week 2, OLB Clay Matthews is one sack away from passing Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila (74.5) as the all-time Packers franchise sacks leader. Interestingly, he recorded his first sack as a rookie in 2009 against the Bengals.
  • Blast to the past: Sunday's game is the Packers' annual alumni game, featuring a handful of Packers Hall of Famers as well as 40 alumni. Read full details on the Packers' website .

Injury report: Packers

  • Questionable: RT Bryan Bulaga (ankle, illness), WR Jordy Nelson (quad)
  • Doubtful: LT David Bakhtiari (hamstring), S Kentrell Brice (quadricep/knee), DT Mike Daniels (hip), WR Randall Cobb (chest), CB Davon House (quad), LB Nick Perry (hand), LB Jake Ryan (hamstring/concussion)
  • Unlisted: DT Montravius Adams (foot), LB Ahmad Brooks (concussion), G Jahri Evans (groin)
  • Injured Reserve: T Jason Spriggs (hamstring)

Injury report: Falcons

  • Questionable: DE Michael Johnson (concussion/stinger), CB KeiVarae Russell (hamstring), S Derron Smith (ankle)
  • Out: TE Tyler Eifert (back), G Trey Hopkins (knee), WR John Ross (knee)
  • Unlisted: DT Geno Atkins (shoulder), OT Jake Fisher (illness), OT Cedric Ogbuehi (illness), DT Pat Sims (elbow)

How to watch

CBS broadcasts the game at 3:25 p.m. NBC26 will have full team postgame coverage beginning in its 10 p.m. newscast with Charlie Sokaitis, Chris Barriere and Kelly Price.