Green Bay brings the NFL’s No.1-ranked offense to Paul Brown Stadium today, and the Cincinnati Bengals defense – and offense – are braced for the challenge that Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and his receivers present.
“When you’ve got a quarterback like they do – Aaron is one of the best in the game – our offense has to come to play this week,” Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton said. “We’ve got to do whatever we can to keep scoring, keep drives going, get some long drives against them to keep their offense off the field.”
Rodgers threw for 480 yards and four touchdowns last week in a 38-20 victory against Washington, making him just the second quarterback in NFL history (Y.A. Tittle) to throw for 480 yards and four touchdowns without an interception.
The 480 yards tied a Green Bay record, and Rodgers set another one with 81 percent completion rate (34 of 42).
The Packers became the first team in NFL history to have a 450-yard passer and 125-yard rusher (James Starks, 132) in the same game. And their 580 yards of total offense was the second-most in franchise history.
The Bengals rolled up 407 yards of their own in Monday night’s win against Pittsburgh, but they only converted that production into 20 points. And it is likely going to take more than that to beat a Green Bay team that has scored at least 20 points in 38 of its last 41 games.
All three of Rodgers’ top targets rank in the top 20 in receiving yards – Randall Cobb (third, 236), Jordy Nelson (15th, 196) and James Jones (19th, 178) — and they will be facing a banged-up Bengals secondary.
“It’s going to be tough,” Bengals cornerback Leon Hall said. “(Rodgers) has a lot of talent around him. They’ve been together for a while. You try to keep him contained and have to play great as a team together. The defensive line is going to have a great game along with the linebackers and the secondary.”
The last time Cincinnati faced the Packers in 2009 at Lambeau Field, the Bengals sacked Rodgers six times in a 31-24 victory. Rodgers has been sacked 11 times in his last three regular-season games, and Bengals defensive end Michael Johnson, who is coming off a career-best 12.5 sacks in 2012, will line up against rookie left tackle David Bakhtiari.
But Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis said the defensive line has to be disciplined with its rush because Rodgers is just as dangerous with his legs as with his arm, averaging 4.7 yards on his 308 career rushes.
“Aaron had great physical tools when he came out (of college), so he’s got some speed to him,” Lewis said. “He can scamper and get the first down, or he can run out there and bide time and, if you’re not sound and in the right spots, make a big play against you. We’ve got to do a really good job.”
Who: Packers (1-1) at Bengals (1-1)
When: 1 p.m.
Where: Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati
TV: Ch. 19, 45
Radio: 1530-AM, 102.7-FM, 104.7-FM