Vegas Spread: Packers by 9.5
Bengals Offense vs. Packers Defense: The Packers defense might be better than the Broncos, but I have a feeling Cincinnati is going to score more than seven points this week. Look for a lot of Chris Henry, who could be an X-factor after playing in less than 50-percent of the offensive snaps last week. Nate Livings is out at left guard, and Evan Mathis will likely be taking his place. That’s not great news for a running game that wasn’t all that impressive last week. I’d like to see the Bengals throw the ball more than they did last week, with a few shots downfield as well. I believe that this team will have to pass to set up the run – I just hope Palmer doesn’t get killed in the process. If the Bengals have an advantage here – and it hinges on the protection of the offensive line – it will be in Henry and Andre Caldwell matching up against the Packers safeties and nickel corners.
Packers Offense vs. Bengals Defense – I’m not enamored with Green Bay’s offensive line, but I fear the receivers. If Cincinnati can pressure Aaron Rodgers on a regular basis, they may prevent themselves from getting gashed in the passing game. But if Rodgers has time to throw, someone is going to get open. I’m especially troubled by Cincinnati’s nickel cornerback, who seemed to be rookie Morgan Trent in the opener. I’ve been clamoring for an upgrade at that position all summer (nothing against Trent, but he’s just too young), and the Packers are a perfect team to exploit it. I don’t like Cincinnati’s chances with Trent – or even Geoff Pope for that matter – matching up on Jordy Nelson or James Jones. The Bengals need some serious pressure this week and a turnover or two to have any chances for an upset.
Final thoughst: An 0-2 start would be frightening with Pittsburgh headed to PBS in Week Three. It would be nice if karma swung in Cincy’s favor this week, but the football gods never seem to be Bengals fans. So the team will probably have to do everything on its own, starting with some big plays from Chris Henry and a healthy pass rush from our front four. The team needs a flagship win that will re-direct this season. This game could be it. And it wouldn’t hurt my King of the Hill pool either, in which a lot of people are picking the Packers.
Let’s have it. Who Dey.