Bengals vs. Packers: Defense faces first big test of the season

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CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 14: Chris Smith #94 of the Cincinnati Bengals celebrates with Carlos Dunlap #96 and Carl Lawson #58 after a sack against the Houston Texans during the first half at Paul Brown Stadium on September 14, 2017 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 14: Chris Smith #94 of the Cincinnati Bengals celebrates with Carlos Dunlap #96 and Carl Lawson #58 after a sack against the Houston Texans during the first half at Paul Brown Stadium on September 14, 2017 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
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Week 3 is upon Bengals Nation. The defense will be faced with their biggest test of the young season. They face Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay attack.

If there’s one bright spot to the Bengals’ dismal start, it has definitely been the play of the defense. Just as promised, the young studs from the draft have been putting pressure on the opposition. After the first two weeks of the season, the Bengals D is holding its own. Granted, both the Houston Texans and Baltimore Ravens were banged up on offense, there was still reason to be happy with the results.

To be honest, things could be much worse. Even though the Bengals are sitting in the basement of the AFC North at 0-2, there’s still a glimmer of hope. The Cincinnati defense is sitting pretty at No. 7 overall in the NFL. As far as scoring defense, they occupy the same slot but share it with the Detroit Lions.

The Who And What

When the Bengals waltz into Green Bay, they will be playing a legend. Aaron Rodgers is more than the goofy pitchman for State Farm. The Discount Double Check could easily be a pass play that burns the Bengals’ defense if they lose containment or give him too much time to complete connections downfield. Safety George Iloka is well aware of what has to be done to keep things under control. 

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"“He’s consistent. He’s got a high completion percentage. Every time he throws it is caught. For us we can’t look too much into that. We have to limit the completion yardage if that makes sense. He’s able to extend plays with his feet. As a secondary you have to cover a little longer and give your D-line time to get there.”"

In other words, there can’t be the big mistakes of the first two weeks. Against the Texans, the defense was caught off guard and rookie Deshaun Watson turned a 3rd-and-15 into a 49-yard touchdown run. The resulting groan could be heard throughout Paul Brown Stadium. But, the score was only 10-3. Needless to say, the offense didn’t do much to change the tone of the evening.

Funny. Each time Houston beats the Bengals in primetime, there’s a rookie involved. Can the NFL please stop manufacturing this rivalry?

Essentially, the first mistake was a simple slant route that turned into a 48-yard TD for the Ravens. Those kinds of mental breakdowns can’t happen against the Packers.

The Why

Rodgers will be facing a Bengals’ defense that has a point to prove. Most of the talk is about how Cincinnati’s defense won’t be able to keep up. But, remember, this is a group that has been rejuvenated with youth and speed.

In essence, there will no doubt be a steady dose of Carl Lawson and Jordan Willis. Throw in a nice helping of Chris Smith, Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap to make the onslaught complete.

Next: Who Dey Notes: Eifert, Ross

Dunlap offers another key to getting inside Rodgers’ head.

"“Get after him. Hit him. He doesn’t like to be hit. That’s the case 16 weeks out of the season but some guys more than others don’t like to be hit,” Dunlap explains. “He throws the ball quick and is ready to get in there. If you can’t hit him get your hands up and try to get a hand on the ball.”"

In all, if the Bengals can keep Green Bay’s Hall-of-Fame quarterback from getting into a rhythm, they’ll have a chance to turn a few heads on Sunday.

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