Green Bay Packers on the as-yet-unfrozen-tundra of Lambeau Field tonight. The MNF crew Green Bay Packers on the as-yet-unfrozen-tundra of Lambeau Field tonight. The MNF crew

Monday Morning Hangover: It’s On Tonight!

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The Bengals face the Green Bay Packers on the as-yet-unfrozen-tundra of Lambeau Field tonight. The MNF crew seems a bit surprised by the team from Cincinnati. Mike Tirico isn’t a believer, contending that the window has shut due to “slippage” from injuries and off-field troubles. But they don’t have the right attitude for that, Tony Kornheiser counters. The team’s optimism, he says “almost seems genuine. It’s almost like, ‘We didn’t have much the last two years, but the core is good here and we can get it done.’ That’s a little surprising.” Jaws thinks the team can still win:

"“Oh, the window is still very wide open,” he said. “The defense is going to be improved if I’m getting the right vibes. Chris Perry is an excellent receiver out of the backfield and a powerful runner if he can stay healthy, and Ben Utecht gives them a dimension they’ve never had with the receiving tight end and that will complement the receivers. You put T.J. (Houshmandzadeh) and Chad on the outside and if you keep those linebackers on the inside, they’ll get some big windows to throw into.”Jaworski is a big fan of new defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer and says it sounds as if the players have bought in to his “gap discipline, footwork, no free releases for the receivers, breakdown timing. You get a feeling the defense is going to be better.”"

Put me in Jaws’ corner. Injuries murdered the Bengals’ chances last season, and while the team’s gotten its share of dings in training camp, it’s been nothing like last year’s hospital ward. And for once, I agree with James Walker, who says there’s no reason to play a gimpy Chad Johnson tonight. If the Bengals can stay healthy — and a couple key players will be back on the field tonight — watch out.

Around the Bengals blogosphere, The Bengals Blitz turned its attention to the cornerback position. I agree that this ought to be Johnathan Joseph’s coming-out year, and Leon Hall, who got thrown into the fire and burnt early on as a rookie, will be better thanks to the experience gained. CB ought to be a strength for the Bengals in 2008. Over at WDR, the guys issue a summary of their various thoughts on personnel this year versus last. Their conclusion? The Bengals are slightly better than last year.

In former Bengals news, traitorous bastard Takeo Spikes will be joining that other traitorous bastard, Justin Smith in San Francisco. And no, I haven’t gotten over those two games yet. Screw the 49ers.

AFC North Watch: Browns WR Braylon Edwards will spend some time on the sidelines after needing stitches in his foot. Apparently he was running around the field in socks while other guys were running around in cleats and…ouch. Dumbass.

Baltimore RB Willis McGahee is getting his knee scoped and may miss the season-opener against the Bengals.

The Steelers have signed Byron Leftwich to fill the backup QB role in the wake of a collarbone injury to Charlie Batch.