Bill Huber: Well, thanks to Chad Ochocinco promising to do the Lambeau Leap if he scores a touchdown, at least there's something to talk about other than that knucklehead who jumped out of the stands in 2005 and stole the ball from Brett Favre. Honestly, there's a decided lack of buzz surrounding this game. You can get tickets for less than face value on CraigsList. If that filters into the locker room, obviously the Packers are going to be in trouble. It would be a mistake to look past the Bengals. Any team with Carson Palmer as the quarterback doesn't figure to be held to just one touchdown every week.
Marc: The Bengals are pretty green at tight end after losing starter Reggie Kelly (Achilles) for the season and cutting second-string Ben Utecht (concussion). Dan Coats, the starter, is more of a blocker than a receiver, with just 15 career receptions in 32 games. Do the Packers have a way to exploit this weak link of the Bengals?
Bill: The one flaw the Packers' defense showed in the preseason was its trouble defending in that 10- to 15-yard zone between the inside linebackers and in front of the safeties. Because the Bears feature a big-time receiving threat at tight end in Greg Olsen, Green Bay spent about 60 percent to 65 percent of the game in its nickel package to put one more athlete on the field. Without an experienced tight end who can do some damage in the passing game, an offense can get somewhat predictable by putting a tight end in to run the ball and taking him out to pass.
The Packers take down Jay Cutler.
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Bill: The Packers' defense deserves a big piece of the credit. It's pretty obvious why Cutler was sacked only 11 times last season. He has no interest in getting hit, and when faced with pressure coming from every which way under coordinator Dom Capers, he clearly was flustered. When Cutler had time, though, he made some big-time throws, and we all know Palmer is capable of making those same type of passes. That makes the Bengals' offensive line one of the big keys in this game, because Palmer doesn't have Cutler's ability to get out of the pocket and extend a play. On the other end of the equation, though, the Bengals get a steady diet of 3-4 defenses in the AFC North and just faced Denver, another 3-4 team, so there will be few mysteries. Capers was one of the architects of that Steelers defense of the early 1990s, and Pittsburgh continues to use many of those same principles. So, you'd figure the Bengals will be better prepared than the Bears.
Marc: As far as late-game heroics go, how much did Aaron Rodgers' game-winning 50-yard touchdown pass to Greg Jennings on third-and-1 with 1:11 to play against Chicago help in Rodgers' efforts to slip out of the shadow of Brett Favre, who had a penchant for that sort of thing?
Bill: Other than for the Favre diehards, most fans have moved on and embraced their new quarterback. And with the Packers fielding the NFL's youngest team, the specter of Favre is mostly absent in the locker room, as well. With that said, the Packers finished 0-7 in games decided by four points or less last season. At some point, Rodgers needed to get that monkey off of his back before it turned into a gorilla. Not that Rodgers was completely responsible for those close-game woes last season; the defense and special teams did their parts, as well. But, at least Rodgers doesn't have to answer those questions anymore. There's no substitute for experience, and now Rodgers has that big play to draw upon.
Marc: Running back DeShawn Wynn is a former record-setting high school tailback from Cincinnati. How's he doing in Green Bay, and what would he be capable of as the starter if something were to happen to Ryan Grant?
Bill: His 73-yard touchdown dash against Detroit in the season finale last year notwithstanding, Wynn has basically settled into life as a role player in Green Bay. And it's an important role, too, as the back who comes in on passing downs to make sure Rodgers stays upright. On occasion, Wynn will tease and show a flash that maybe he could be something more, but for the most part, he's a 3-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust kind of running back. He has decent moves and decent speed, but he's not much of a threat to turn a 3-yard run into a 6- or 10-yard run.