Cincinnati Bengals (0-2 SU, 0-2 ATS, 0-2 O/U) vs. Green Bay Packers (1-1 SU, 1-1 ATS, 1-1 O/U)
NFL: Sunday, September 24, 2017, Lambeau Field, Green Bay, Wisconsin, 4:25 pm ET
Spread: Green Bay -9; Over/Under: 44.5
It’s an inter-conference battle in week 3 of the NFL season up in the land of the cheeseheads. The Cincinnati Bengals are on the road as they head west to face the Green Bay Packers Sunday afternoon. Cincinnati dropped a 13-9 decision at home against the Texans on Thursday Night Football last week. Green Bay fell behind big in the first half and fell short in a 34-23 road loss to the Falcons on Sunday night. The Bengals have a 7-5 advantage in the all-time series between the teams with three straight victories. That includes a 34-30 home win on September 22, 2013 in the most recent matchup.
Cincinnati Bengals: A Team in Turmoil
Cincinnati slogged their way to another loss as the offense failed to deliver much. After the game, the Bengals fired offensive coordinator Ken Zampese: the team failed to score an offensive touchdown in their first two home games for the first time in franchise history. Bill Lazor takes over the play-calling duties after being the team’s quarterback coach. The Bengals held a 295-266 edge in total yards but lost the first down battle 14-12. Cincinnati allowed Houston to hold the ball for 32:15 to their 27:45 and committed the game’s lone turnover.
The Bengals have plenty of work to do offensively: they are 22nd in the league in both passing (178.5 yards per game) and rushing (79.5 yards per game) offense this season. Cincinnati is a dismal 31st in scoring offense as they average 4.5 points per game, negating the fact that they are a strong 7th in scoring defense as they give up 16.5 points per contest. Andy Dalton is 36 of 66 passing for 394 yards with no touchdowns and four interceptions while getting sacked eight times. Three running backs are splitting the workload right now with Giovani Bernard (12 carries, 50 yards), Jeremy Hill (12 carries, 43 yards) and rookie Joe Mixon (17 carries, 45 yards) each struggling to gain traction. A.J. Green leads the team with 10 receptions for 141 yards. Brandon LaFell (seven catches, 54 yards) and Tyler Eifert (four receptions, 46 yards) are other reliable targets. Randy Bullock has yet to attempt an extra point but is three of three on field goal attempts with a long of 39.
Green Bay Packers Look to Bounce Back From Loss
Green Bay was banged up before Sunday’s game started as both starting tackles, Bryan Bulaga and David Bakhtiari, were ruled out before kickoff. The makeshift offensive lineup proved costly as they struggled most of the game: they allowed three sacks and seven quarterback hits, including one that led to a scoop six that extended the Packers’ deficit to 31-7 in the third quarter. The Packers outgained the Falcons 367-364 but most of their offense came in garbage time. Green Bay had a 24-19 edge in first downs and a 31:23 to 28:37 advantage in time of possession but the Packers committed two turnovers while not forcing one.
The Packers are 4th in the league in passing offense with 297 yards per contest through the air and 27th in rushing with 71.5 yards per game. Green Bay is 15th in the league in scoring offense as they average 20 points per contest and stand 17th in scoring defense by allowing 21.5 points per game. Aaron Rodgers has hit 61 of 92 throws for 654 yards with three touchdown passes and two interceptions while adding 29 rushing yards. Tim Montgomery leads the Packers with 29 carries for 89 yards while reeling in 10 passes for 114 yards and a score. Randall Cobb leads Green Bay with 15 receptions for 145 yards while Davante Adams (11 grabs, 146 yards, TD), Jordy Nelson (seven catches, 79 yards, TD) and Martellus Bennett (eight catches, 90 yards) are all versatile targets. Mason Crosby hit all four extra points and two of two field goal attempts with a long of 40.
- Bengals are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games in September.
- Bengals are 0-6 ATS in their last 6 games after allowing more than 150 yards rushing in their previous game
- Packers are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 home games vs. a team with a losing road record
- Packers are 7-2 ATS in their last 9 games in September
The Bengals have major issues to work through at this point in time as they have yet to put the ball in the end zone. Lazor is going to have his work cut out for him trying to get the offense going. Having to go on the road against a Green Bay team that thrives at home and that is motivated to bounce back from last week’s defeat is a bad mix for Cincinnati. The Bengals are overmatched and outgunned here: Green Bay bounces back with a win to drop Cincinnati to 0-3.
Pick: Green Bay Packers -9
The Bengals have a lot of work to do if they want to look anything close to a league average offense. Cincinnati hasn’t reached the end zone and the offensive line has been leaky. There have been rumors circulating that the Bengals are considering bringing in Colin Kaepernick though it’s unclear if there is any validity to those rumors. Green Bay is banged up with several guys going out of the mix in the loss to Atlanta but it seems likely that most, if not all, hands will be on deck in this contest. That’s bad news for a Bengals secondary that has its share of issues.
The under is 4-0 in the Bengals’ last 4 games following a straight up loss, 4-0 in their last 4 games after accumulating less than 90 yards rushing in their previous game, 5-1 in their last 6 games on grass and 5-1 in their last six after an ATS loss. Green Bay has seen the under go 11-5 in their last 16 home games. Given the Bengals inability to put together any kind of sustained offense and the Packers being banged up, look for this one to stay under the total.