Saturday, September 19, 2009

Packers - Bengals pre-preview

After a week's worth of blissing out over the Pack's win versus Da Bearz, finally getting around to taking a look at the upcoming game with that team from The Queen City, the Bengals. (BTW, do you know that there are a heckuva lot of cities in the U.S. that use this same nickname? And do we really want to know why it has that nickname? I think not...moving along...) There will be more in the actual game preview. But as the headline says, this is the pre-preview. So, let's get on with the pre-, shall we?

For starters, the Packers are currently installed as 9 point favorites. That sounds about right. Not ready to predict a score yet, but we're comfortable with that spread.

One of the things to keep in mind is that the Bengals will not be in awe of the 3-4 defense. They see it frequently. And done well. Particularly from that team in Pittsburgh wearing the Super Bowl rings from last season. So Cincy QB Carson Palmer won't be flinging passes around like the deer-in-the-headlights Jay Cutler, although he did toss 2 INTs in last weekend's heartbreaking loss to the Broncos. The problem Palmer will have, however, is his offensive line just isn't very good. Hence, if the Pack's front 3 can enable the linebacking corps to do their slash 'n' grab job, Palmer could be under pressure a good part of the afternoon. And that can make all sorts of things happen. The Bengals do have a running back in a supposedly rejuvenated Cedric Benson. Granted, getting out of Chicago would rejuvenate anybody. Apparently, even a draft pick bust. And, let's not forget Cincy's Mr. Goodtime receiver, Chad Ochocinco. He gives Palmer that downfield threat. Don't be surprised if they try to exploit safety Aaron Rouse, this week's starter by virtue of the sprained knee to Atari Bigby who will be out at least a month.

Oh, one other thing about Ochocinco, especially for those Packer fans who will be sitting in the endzone seats...especially in the first rows: Mr. Ocho-etc. said this week that if he scores a TD at Lambeau he will be doing a Lambeau leap. Now, the general sense from most of the sports folks about this is that Ocho-etc. doesn't plan to do this out of any maliciousness, such as a Terrell Owens or Randy Moss might. Rather, Ocho-etc. just wants to have some fun. And apparently won't mind if a lot of beer is dumped on him. So, in the event that Ocho-etc. does happen to make it to the endzone, firstly, do not let him even get up on the wall and, secondly, let him enjoy what might have been by virtue of a beer baptism. Again, since he apparently is doing it good-naturedly, Packer fans should oblige in kind...just havin' fun. But the best alternative of all, of course, is for the defense to just shut him out of the endzone altogether.

For the Packers, the obvious area of improvement over last week has to be on the offensive line. It was apparent to one and all, especially the coaches and players, that a repeat performance would likely land their starting QB on the barely-able-to-stand list. While all the line members had problems last week, new starting right tackle Allen Barbre was the focal point of discussion. He will get the start once again. But if he struggles, things might get interesting. Last week, backup right tackle Breno Giacomini was on the game day inactive list. If he is active this week, that might mean a short leash for Barbre. Barbre did pick up his play in the second half against Da Bearz. Let's hope he continues that upgrade this week.

Guard Daryn Colledge is supposed to play this weekend despite a sprained ankle. Will have to keep an eye on that as the game progresses. The other sprained ankle of note, that of rookie NT B. J. Raji, is also supposed to be good to go this weekend. Look for Raji to get his first NFL regular season play, although it will no doubt be limited to avoid aggravating the injury.

Kicker Mason Crosby pulled an abdominal muscle lifting weights early in the week and didn't kick for a day or two, but he'll be good to go Sunday. WR Greg Jennings had a wrist injury and also was limited in practice this week. Good news was that CB and returner Will Blackmon returned to full practice and will resume his duties as the primary punt and kick returner.'s that for a pre-preview? Good enough until game day.