The Cincinnati Bengals really don’t have an easy open to the season. The Bengals open the season on the road against the Chicago Bears and then return home to host the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Green Bay Packers in weeks two and three, respectively. Luckily for the Bengals, they won’t have to play one of the strongest teams in the NFL late in the season.
It might seem a bit unfair of me to write off the hopes of the Bengals in my first paragraph, but I know that everyone else is thinking the same thing. This is definitely going to be a playoff season for the Bengals, and I think that it will also be the season that the Bengals win a playoff game for the first time since 1990. I’m also going to go out on a limb with this preview article and predicting that the Bengals are going to win the AFC North in 2013. It’s not that the Baltimore Ravens don’t have what it takes to bring home another Super Bowl — maybe they do — but I think that the Bengals will have their two tight end system in full swing by the Bye Week and will become a wrecking ball by the time the end of the season comes.
So let’s rewind back to week 3. The Bengals have just taken on a Steelers’ team that is not going to come into their own for probably another four games and as a result, the Bengals will be unjustifiably confident playing at home against the Packers, another strong team. Unfortunately, that overconfidence will manifest itself as cockiness by the time Sunday rolls around and this will be their downfall.
Before I continue, I’m not saying the Steelers game is going to be an easy game because there are no easy games in the NFL, but unless the Steelers pull something dramatic off during the offseason, the Bengals should be in the driver’s seat for the entire game. The Steelers let go of their no. 1 and no. 2 running backs after issues with both of them and replaced them with rookie Le’Veon Bell. They also allowed receiver Mike Wallace to leave to the Miami Dolphins, also replacing him with a rookie — Markus Wheaton. With rookies in the top spots and an aging defense that is in the process of re-tooling, the Bengals should be able to take that win with humility, but given that it’s a division rival, it’s not likely they will — but I digress.
In walks Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. With 4,295 yards, 39 touchdowns, only eight interceptions in 2012, and coming off a win against the Washington Redskins in Week 2, he will likely be in flying form and looking to add to their 1-1 record with another mark in the left-hand column. Rodgers has a receiver corps at his finger tips that is hard to parallel. Receivers like Randall Cobb, Jordy Nelson and James Jones have a great ability to take teams apart and unless the Bengals defense is on top form going into this game, it could end badly.
The Packers have also gotten themselves a steal of a running back in the 2013 NFL Draft. The packers were very fortunate that Crimson Tide running back Eddie Lacy fell as far as the 61st pick of the draft and with the Packers’ offense being largely a passing offense, Lacy will be a weapon that defenses will have enormous trouble trying to keep out.
Green Bay Packers 31 – 24 Cincinnati Bengals
Simon Greene – Cincinnati Bengals Writer. Be sure to follow Simon on Twitter @simongreene88