The Green Bay Packers will play the Cincinnati Bengals in their third game of the 2012 NFL preseason. This game is scheduled to be played at 6:00 p.m. Central Daylight Time (CDT) on August 23. The Bengals will host this game at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio.
The Packers have lost both of their preseason games. The Cleveland Browns defeated them 35-10 on August 16. The Packers were without 18 players. They're hoping that some of those players are available for this contest. Greg Jennings should return to practice on August 19. He's missed the first two preseason games with a concussion.
The Packers waltzed into the 2011-12 regular season with a lot of swagger en route to a 13-0 start. That swagger isn't there as they have plenty of question marks heading into their third preseason game. The third preseason games are often considered as the most important because starters are usually rested in the preseason finales. The Packers don't want to enter the regular season following a winless preseason.
Here are a few areas where Packers enthusiasts should pay the most attention to.
Defensive Backfield: No. 2 Cornerback?
The No. 2 cornerback is unclear since Sam Shields appears to have fallen out of favor with the coaching staff. Davon House was the frontrunner candidate before he dislocated his shoulder. The Packers must decide on whether Casey Hayward is prepared for that role. Otherwise, Jarrett Bush will begin the season as a stopgap option.
The Packers have eight giveaways in their first two preseason games. They had 14 giveaways during 16 regular-season games in 2011. They can't waste offensive possessions when they have a suspect defense. The Packers' plus-24 turnover margin was a significant reason for their 15-1 record in 2011.
Cedric Benson And The Ground Game
James Starks and Brandon Saine have been injured. Alex Green and Marc Tyler combined for 22 rushing yards on 12 carries against the Browns. The Packers are hoping that recently-signed running back Cedric Benson will give this team a boost in the ground game. However, he probably won't be used for much more than short-yardage situations until he learns the playbook.
The Packers had no sacks against the Browns. A productive pass-rush is even more crucial if Bush is the starting cornerback. I'm hoping to see more from Nick Perry and Jerel Worthy.
Graham Harrell hasn't impressed during his first two preseason appearances. Harrell has completed 27-of-51 passes for 235 yards with two interceptions and one touchdown. The stat-lines don't tell how many other passes he has thrown that should've been intercepted.
Don't be surprised if Harrell doesn't play until the second half. He must play with more confidence and prove that he can be trusted. The Packers can't have a weak No. 2 quarterback because they're too dependent on their prolific passing attack.
Joshua Huffman graduated from Middle Tennessee State University as a marketing major in 2009. He's been a Middle Tennessee resident from 1986-88 and 2001-present. He lived in the Upper Peninsula and Northern Wisconsin from 1988-01 and for approximately eight months in 2009-10 as he completed a 20-game volunteer position with the USHL's Green Bay Gamblers. His favorite sports organizations include the Green Bay Packers, Chicago Cubs, Nashville Predators and Tennessee Titans. He can be found on Twitter HERE.
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