Behind Enemy Lines: Part 3

Our experts, Bill Huber of Packer Report and Marc Hardin of Bengals Insider, go Behind Enemy Lines for an analysis of Sunday's Week 2 matchup between the Bengals and Packers at Lambeau Field. Let's wrap up this three-part series with matchups to watch and final predictions.


LG Evan Mathis vs. DE Cullen Jenkins: Arguably the best player on the field for the Packers last week was Jenkins from his right defensive end position. He'll spend most of this game matched against the Bengals' second-string left guard, Mathis (6-foot-5, 295 pounds), whose height has led to leverage problems. If Mathis can't block Jenkins, then halfback Cedric Benson is going to have a long afternoon.

WR Chad Ochocinco vs. CB Al Harris: A couple of Pro-Bowlers here, so there's some pride on the line. Ochocinco is in noticeably better shape this season after recommitting himself to extensive offseason conditioning. As a result, 53 of Chad's 89 receiving yards last week came after the catch. Harris kept Chad from going off in their last meeting, holding him to about 12 yards a catch on five grabs in 2005.


TE Jermichael Finley vs. S Chris Crocker: After a brilliant preseason, Finley was a nonfactor last week against the Bears. The Packers no doubt would like to get Finley involved because he has the potential to be a major difference-maker. Strong safety Roy Williams can hit but he can't cover, but the Bengals think enough of Crocker's cover skills to put him on slot receivers.

RT Allen Barbre vs. LDE Robert Geathers: Barbre was fundamentally out of whack in trying to slow down aging Bears defensive end Adewale Ogunleye, who had two sacks and three more hits on quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Now, Barbre gets a younger and bigger, if not faster, opponent with Geathers. The experienced Bengals starter has a knack for being disruptive — his big reach resulted in a tipped pass by Brett Favre that was intercepted when the Bengals prevailed against the Packers in 2005. It's a big matchup on the other side, too, where left tackle Chad Clifton faces right defensive end Antwon Odom. Odom had two sacks last week against Denver after posting three last week. He's added 20 pounds since last year but also seems quicker. Clifton was a Pro Bowler two years ago but allowed 7.5 sacks during an injury-marred 2008. Offseason surgeries seem to have put a spring back in his step, and Clifton will need it against Odom's initial burst.


They don't overlook the Bengals. The Packers are coming off a huge win against Chicago while the Bengals are coming off a devastating home loss to a subpar Broncos team. The home-standing Packers have advantages in practically every phase of this game, but games aren't won on paper.


The pass rush doesn't get to Carson Palmer. The Bengals shouldn't have any problem getting ready for Dom Capers' defense, having seen a similar scheme twice a year with Pittsburgh. Last week against Chicago, when Jay Cutler had time, he struck for big plays with Devin Hester and Johnny Knox. Led by veteran Chad Ochocinco and Laveranues Coles and rocket-fast Chris Henry, the Bengals' receivers are superior to the Bears' receivers, and Palmer can make every throw.


Carson Palmer
Tony Tribble/AP Images
It controls the line of scrimmage. History shows when the Bengals get in a groove with the running game and give their tailback the football 20 times, they usually win. Cedric Benson has been in just one NFL game when he carried at least 20 times and his team lost, and it happened last week against the Broncos. When the Bengals give quarterback Carson Palmer a pocket, he can do great damage. If the Bengals can disrupt QB Aaron Rodgers with newfound pressure around the edges, that will bode well for the rest of the defense.


It can't contain Rodgers and limit running back Ryan Grant. If the Packers score four touchdowns, that will probably be enough to win. The lower the score the better it is for the Bengals, whose offense is not quite in sync. They have a retooled line, a Plan C at tight end, and a new receiver in the mix in Laveranues Coles. Fullback Jeremy Johnson is back with the team after missing last season with weight and injury issues. Every single tailback who was on the 53-man roster to begin last season is no longer with the team, and Carson Palmer last week played his first game since Oct. 5 of last year.


Bill Huber: Chances are pretty slim that the Packers are looking past the Bengals. To what? Next week's road trip to St. Louis? The Packers might have beaten the Bears, but there were more than enough mistakes for the coaches to drive home. Packers 30, Bengals 17.

Marc Hardin: The Bengals have been 0-2 under coach Marvin Lewis twice in six years, his first season in 2003 and last season. They don't want to be 0-2 heading into next week's home game against Pittsburgh, but the Bengals did not play well on the road last season, losing their first seven road games before winning the road finale in Cleveland. The Bengals are 3-15 in their last 18 road games. That said, they need this win more then Green Bay, and the Bengals win only if its close. Bengals 21, Packers 20.

To go back and read Part 1, in which Bill answered five questions from Bengals Insider's Marc Hardin, Click Here. To read Part 2, in which Marc answered questions from Bill, Click Here.

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at and Facebook under Bill Huber.

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