One of the great things about being a sports writer and covering the NFL, is being able to write about teams that excite me.
No, I am not talking about the Jacksonville Jaguars this time.
The Cincinnati Bengals excite me. The Green Bay Packers and Aaron Rodgers excite me. When two great tastes… oh, sorry wrong commercial.
Seriously, when one of the best teams in the league currently is playing against arguably the team with the best upside in the league, you get the feeling this is a huge game all around.
We all know what Rodgers, the modern-day Johnny Unitas, can do on the field with his host of complementary receivers. We all can see what Andy Dalton has the ability to do with A.J. Green and Mohamed Sanu and two great tight ends at his disposal. Throw in Giovani Bernard and the offense is stacked.
Ken Anderson was never this lucky, and I don’t think I am exaggerating when I say this could be a Super Bowl preview.
The Packers are loaded on offense and getting better on defense and still need to work on their consistency (as do the Bengals). If they can put it all together, they should still be a serious playoff contender.
Here are three bold predictions for this game.
The best versus the best
According to Yahoo! Sports, ”A.J. Green, Andy Dalton and the Bengals try to keep up with Aaron Rodgers and maybe the league's best receiving corps as Green Bay's top-ranked offense heads to Cincinnati on Sunday.”
Yes the the Bengals' offense is improving, the defense is one of the league's best and could challenge a Packers team averaging a league-high 482.5 yards. None of the last five teams to visit Cincinnati have scored more than 20 points while averaging 290.8 yards.
The Bengals (1-1) are giving up 300.5 per game to rank seventh in the NFL after finishing sixth last year and compiling 51 sacks. The team needs to apply more pressure on the quarterback because they only have two sacks this year - both in Monday's 20-10 win over Pittsburgh
They face a Packers offensive line which has allowed 57 since the start of 2012 after giving up four in last Sunday's 38-20 win over Washington. Even with the pressure last week versus the Redskins, Rodgers still threw for a career-high 480 yards and four touchdowns.
James Starks rushed for a career-best 132 yards and a score. As Starks became the first Green Bay running back to crack the century mark since Brandon Jackson.
The Packers claim they became the first team in NFL history to have a 450-yard passer and a 125-yard rusher in the same game.
Youth is served
Cincinnati wins this game and takes a major step forward as the best in the AFC North. Bernard runs through the Packers’ defense and Sanu becomes the main target in the passing game. He catches eight passes for 130 yards and a score. Bengals win 33-30.