Even at 3-1, the Cincinnati Bengals continue to be doubted and underrated around the NFL. With a win against one of the league’s Super Bowl favorites, the Green Bay Packers, in Week 5 the Bengals could open a lot of eyes.
This is a game that presents many opportunities for players all across Cincy’s roster. It felt like the Bengals’ Week 3 win over Pittsburgh was a statement win. While it was huge for divisional purposes, the Steelers have not been very good.
Green Bay is without a doubt a Super Bowl contender playing very well right now with an elite quarterback in Aaron Rodgers. Winning against the Packers will not yield the same results as Cincinnati’s win in Pittsburgh – Beating Green Bay will make the Bengals’ presence known.
To make a statement across the NFL, Cincy will need to perform in several key areas.
1. Slow down the Packers run game
The Packers are one of the better offenses in the NFL with weapons like Davante Adams and Aaron Jones led by Aaron Rodgers. One clear way to slow down good offensive attacks is to make them one-dimensional.
Now, doing that against Green Bay is tricky because Rodgers is always going to get his in the passing game barring a strange performance such as the one he had in Week 1. To truly make the Packers one-dimensional, that leaves stopping or slowing down the run. Just like limiting Rodgers, stopping the talented Jones is easier said than done.
Cincy does matchup well here as they are the ninth rushing defense in the NFL allowing only 93.5 rushing yards per game. This is proven further when they limited both Dalvin Cook and Najee Harris this season. However, the Bengals rush defense has a chink in its armor after giving up some chunk plays to the Jaguars in Week 4.
Outside of making the Packers one-dimensional, slowing down their run game is also important for the time of possession battle. One of the best ways to stop high-powered offenses is by simply keeping the ball out of their hands. Sustaining long, time-consuming drives becomes a lot more difficult if you cannot run the ball.
It would be a luxury for the Bengals if they could slow down the run without stacking the box. Putting your linebackers up by the line of scrimmage is not a great idea against Rodgers. Cincinnati can avoid stacking the box if the defensive line dominates, especially the defensive tackles. The interior d-line has been tremendous this season and that must continue.
Halting Green Bay’s rushing attack will be the first step in slowing down this offense led by Rodgers.