4 keys for Bengals offense and defense vs. Packers in Week 5

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The Cincinnati Bengals will need to play a nearly perfect game to take care of business against the Green Bay Packers in Week 5.

Not to suggest the Packers have looked like an unbeatable squad or anything. But when a team trots out a quarterback like Aaron Rogers, it’s generally expected that things need to go quite well in order to get a lead and keep it.

With an unorthodox opponent on tap, these are some keys the Bengals need to accomplish in order to emerge 4-1.

Offense key 1: Start fast

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) looks to throw during the first half of an NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

The Packers aren’t the team to fall behind against by a 14-0 margin or worse. Cincinnati did that in Week 4 against a bad Jacksonville team and was able to storm back and win it. That’s not going to be as viable against a Rodgers-led offense that can just keep pouring points on the board. The Joe Burrow-led offense needs to come out firing fast and often, just like it did in that second half against the Jaguars. Do that, and the team sits in a position to keep pace with Rodgers, should this thing turn into a shootout.

Offense key 2: No Mixon, no problem

Sep 19, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Cincinnati Bengals running back Chris Evans is tackled by Pittsburgh Steelers defensive back Tre Norwood during the first quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

Even if Joe Mixon can’t go against the Packers, the Bengals have a rookie back by the name of Chris Evans who can do much of what he does on a limited basis, including as a receiver through the air. As last week with tight end C.J. Uzomah’s two touchdowns proved, the short passing game and non-wideouts can also be a major factor — it’s not all on the wideouts and there are ways to manufacture looks through the air that do the same thing as the running game. Doing those will be a key to keeping pace.

Defensive Key 1: Bring pressure

Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Trey Hendrickson (91) celebrates a stop in the first quarter of the NFL Week One game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Minnesota Vikings at Paul Brown Stadium in downtown Cincinnati on Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021. The Bengals led 14-7 at halftime.
Minnesota Vikings At Cincinnati Bengals

It might sound like Rodgers is the type of quarterback who will torch a defense that brings extra guys. But according to PFF, he’s at a 38.9 overall grade under pressure and 43.5 when blitzed this year. He’s not going to throw a ton of interceptions, but pressure can do enough to make him uncomfortable and disrupt the timing of his offense. That should especially be the case on the road, so the Bengals bringing extra guys like Mike Hilton in creative ways could reap big benefits.

Defensive key 2: Clamp the run with Logan Wilson, others

Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Logan Wilson (55) celebrates after an NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Zach Bolinger)

Might sound easy but it certainly isn’t, not when a Rodgers-led passing attack gives defenses so much to worry about on every down. And yes, we mentioned above that a lack of a star running back isn’t an issue. But the Packers have actually run the ball 104 times compared to 80 passing attempts for Rodgers. Aaron Jones is a star back in his own right who has scored twice and AJ Dillon averages 4.5 yards per carry right now. If the Bengals can’t shutter the double-headed attack, it could only make things easier on Rodgers through the air.

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