Welcome Jaylon!

Review~ that was a solid team win vs. a hungry Pittsburgh team.  I hate complaining about officiating, yet again, the non-OPI call on the TD that Jaire “gave up” was obvious.  There’s a reason Jaire missed the ball, let alone was in prime position to intercept it, and came up empty?  Ok…

After that initial possession, Green Bay took over the game, and again owned the line of scrimmage—which allows the QB a large margin of error in order to win the game.  Rodgers does one thing really well…he’s turnover-adverse, especially in the regular season.  This fit well for how the team has performed over the last 3 weeks. 

Injuries are mounting up—which was inevitable based on the health of this team the previous 2 seasons, but with how loaded the roster truly is, they’ve been able to withstand them so far.  Losing Jaire Alexander for an extended period of time is crushing, considering he’s (arguably) the best corner in the NFL, and no, he didn’t “give up a TD on the first drive of the game,” but that’s already been covered (pun intended). 

Kenny Clark continues to receive zero recognition, other than the Packers extending him last year…he’s virtually unblockable with 1 offensive lineman, and vs. Pittsburgh was pushing double-teams into the backfield causing havoc—that too will be needed come January if this team wants to actually accomplish anything of significance (winning a Super Bowl). 

Lastly, the offensive line did more than hold their own, they created running spaces and the WRs (led by Allen Lazard) can block, and block extremely well.  There were multiple times where you saw Lazard (#13) and rookie Amari Rodgers (#8) blocking downfield, and giving the ball carrier plenty of opportunity to gain extra yards…often.  A great sign to see, and something that LaFleur’s offense which is predicated.

Preview~ While signing Stephon Gilmore would’ve been ideal, especially with the injury to Jaire Alexander, signing Jaylon Smith (formerly from the Cowboys) may be an even better addition for the long-term.  Smith is 26 years old, with likely his best football ahead of him.  Why many of the “experts” think he’s a replacement for Za’Darius Smith (edge rusher), Smith is a true Inside Linebacker (ILB), and can cover a decent amount.  Think of him as a far better Blake Martinez.  The guy is athletic, fast (4.44 forty-yard dash), and can tackle (154 tackles in 16 starts last year, avg. 139 tackles/season in the previous 3-full seasons, which he started all 16 games).  He could be an incredible pick-up for a defense that hasn’t had a GREAT inside linebacker since Desmond Bishop.  Hopefully he’ll get some snaps this week in Cincinnati, but likely will be inserted into the Krys Barnes slot of playing, and may be asked to rush the passer from all over the field.  Good players are easy to find methods in which to use…he’s one of those players.

Matchup~ the Packers’ and Bengals’ record (3-1 apiece) shows to be an accurate description of the strength of each team.  They’ve beaten lesser teams, and each team dropped a game (with hindsight) they probably shouldn’t have. 

2021GB Off.vs.Cin Def.
Rush92.5 (24) 93.5 (9)
Pass225.5 (24) 229.5 (13)
Total318.0 (25) 323.0 (7)
Points23.8 (14) 18.8 (8)
 GB Def.vs.Cin Off.
Rush102.0 (12) 98.0 (22)
Pass209.5 (8) 227.5 (23)
Total311.5 (6) 325.5 (22)
Points25.0 (19) 23.0 (20)

As you can see, just based on rankings, the defenses have the edge for each team.  I think this may be the dictator for the outcome.  Again, turnovers.  Whichever team wins the turnover battle, that team will likely win the game.  With Rodgers being Turnover Adverse, that plays well into the Packers’ favor.  Also, the lone loss for the Bengals this year, Joe Burrow (#9) had interceptions on 3 consecutive passes.  Should anything like that occur, it’s hard to imagine the Packers not capitalizing on those and scoring 10-14 points, at least.  Also, that could be a 14-point swing.  The issue at hand is an obvious one…the Packers rank 24th in the NFL with 7 total sacks – and 18th vs QB passer rating (100.2).  That’s with Jaire Alexander…now remove the best corner in the NFL and all of a sudden, we have an issue.  Couple that with Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase (#1) re-connecting from their LSU days, this could be the difference-maker in the game should Chase get free.  The Packers must get a pass rush and limit Cincy’s run game if they’re gonna come out of the Jungle a winner.

I think Rodgers makes 1-2 more plays (or less-killer plays) than the youngster Burrow.

Packers 23
Bengals 20

Season: 2-2
Overall: 71-38

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