The top two teams on the Cincinnati Bengals five toughest opponents list are on a different level in 2017 than the first three. Not because the other teams aren’t good in their own right. But the Green Bay Packers and the team at number one are elite teams that will unquestionably be competing for a chance at the Super Bowl in 2017. With that in mind, the Bengals need to put their best foot forward against the Packers in Week 3 to show the world they mean business.. Slowing down Aaron Rodgers will certainly be a tough task, but the Bengals also have the weapons to compete with the Packers on the scoreboard.
Let’s take a closer look at the Packers and their strengths and weaknesses as the regular season approaches.
Weakness 1) The Packers have lost several members of their interior offensive line in recent years.
T.J. Lang is gone at guard and versatile center J.C. Tretter, who was able to fill in well on any interior offensive line spot, left this offseason, too. The Packers have maintained their talented offensive tackles, but will that be enough to cover the losses in the middle? Rodgers is excellent at covering up his offensive line by the way he moves in the pocket. He also will hold onto the ball for extremely long, when he’s able, so there is a give and a take and a question of when this Packers offensive line will reach a breaking point where it is actively hurting the team.
Weakness 2) The Packers had one of the worst secondaries in the NFL last season. They made an effort to address it in the draft but, we'll need to see if the unit improves.
The Packers let Casey Hayward go in free agency after the 2015 season because they believed in their young cornerbacks. However, those young players who were so good as rookies in 2015 took a huge step back in 2016 and now the Packers are trying to fix their secondary. Of course Hayward had a career year in 2016, with the Chargers. The Packers drafted Kevin King and Josh Jones to try and fix the holes in their secondary, but King has not looked particularly good so far this preseason. This is a question mark for an otherwise very talented team and the biggest thing to watch in the lead up to the Bengals’ game against them in Week 3.
Strength 1) The Packers have a very nice set of offensive weapons with three receivers who have produced in the past.
The Packers have arguably the best trio of receivers in the league in Davante Adams, Randall Cobb, and a Jordy Nelson who finally looked fully healthy toward the end of last season. Finally, they are getting back a fully healthy Cobb, which is sure to help, too.
They also have an athletic talented tight end in Martellus Bennett who is a good blocker. At running back they have versatile Ty Montgomery who is a nightmare matchup for any linebacker to try and cover. The Bengals defense will have a very tough time even trying to slow down this offense so it will be a true test early in the season for how the unit can perform against dominant opponents.
Strength 2) Rodgers is the best quarterback in the league. The Bengals need to minimize the damage he causes, considering he is impossible to fully stop.
There is no greater strength in the league than having Rodgers as your quarterback, so there was no way he could not be included among the Packers’ strengths. Rodgers is arguably best player at his position in the league and among the greatest of all time. The Bengals defense will have a tough time even slowing him down, so this game will likely come down to the offenses. Can the Bengals defense slow down Rodgers just enough so the Bengals offense can take the lead and win? If Andy Dalton is back to his 2015 form, with a plethora of weapons, this will be an entertaining matchup of high octane offenses and elite quarterback play.
Player to watch: Linebacker Nick Perry
Perry was a guy some people considered a bust going into last season. However, he had a fantastic year in 2016 and the Packers gave him a big payday for it. Now they will be relying on him as their only above average pass rusher. If he plays up to his 2016 form he should be a tough test for the Bengals’ offensive tackles and should be a fun player to watch Jake Fisher try to stop. The Packers are a tough team to pin down for this coming season as they have several concerns. But when you have a quarterback like Rodgers, some deficiencies can be covered up. It will be interesting to see how much Rodgers can help the Packers overcome on his own.