Dissecting Best Individual Matchups to Watch in the Packers Week 3 Action

Bob FoxContributor ISeptember 20, 2013

Sep 8, 2013; San Francisco, CA, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) prepares to throw a pass against the San Francisco 49ers in the first quarter at Candlestick Park. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

The 1-1 Green Bay Packers will get a good test when they take on the 1-1 Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on Sunday. There will be a number of very good matchups in this ball game.

The Packers, led by quarterback Aaron Rodgers, lead the NFL in total offense. The Pack will be facing a Bengals team who are ranked sixth in total defense.

The Packers are second in the league in passing offense and 16th in rushing offense, where they are averaging a robust 4.7 yards a carry.

The Bengals are staunch against the run, as they are ranked sixth in the NFL in that area, while they are ranked 14th against the pass.

The Cincinnati offense is ranked 12th in the NFL in total offense, which includes 17th in rushing offense and 12th in passing offense.

The Packers are ranked 31st in total defense, so the Bengals will try to exploit that area. Green Bay is ranked 31st versus the pass and ranked 16th in run defense.

In terms of the matchups, there will be some very interesting ones, especially when the Packers are on offense. The Bengals have one of the very best defensive lines in the NFL, and the offensive line of the Packers has to play well if the offense will have success on Sunday.

Geno Atkins
Geno AtkinsFernando Medina-USA TODAY Sports

Left guard Josh Sitton will be going up against one of the very best defensive tackles in football in Geno Atkins. Atkins has led the way for the Bengal rushing defense, as they have only allowed 108 yards in 39 attempts (2.8 yard average).

Atkins is also a very good pass rusher, as evidenced by his 12.5 sacks in 2012. Atkins already has a sack in 2013 as well.

The offensive tackles of the Packers will also have their hands full. Rookie left tackle David Bakhtiari will be facing defensive end Michael Johnson, who had 11.5 sacks last season.

Meanwhile, right tackle Don Barclay, who struggled early in the game against the Redskins last week in pass blocking, will be facing Carlos Dunlap, who has a half of a sack this year, and had six sacks last season.

The Bengal defense has also been helped by outside linebacker Vontaze Burfict and middle linebacker Rey Maualuga. Burfict leads the team with 17 tackles, while Maualuga has 15. They will be trying to stop the effectiveness of running back James Starks, who ran for 132 yards against the Redskins last week.

But the key to the offense of the Packers is Rodgers. Rodgers leads the NFC with a quarterback rating of 127.2, as he has thrown seven touchdown passes versus just one pick for 813 yards.

No. 12 will try to utilize his Big Three wide receiver combination of Randall Cobb, Jordy Nelson and James Jones against the likes of Leon Hall, Terence Newman, Adam "Pacman" Jones and Reggie Nelson in the secondary of the Bengals.

Cobb, Nelson and Jones have combined for 37 catches for 610 yards and five touchdowns.

Rodgers also can look to tight end Jermichael Finley, who has 11 receptions for 121 yards and two touchdowns.

Speaking of receiving threats, wide receiver A.J. Green of the Bengals is one of the very best in the NFL. In 2012, Green had 97 catches for 1,350 yards and 11 touchdowns. So far in 2013, Green has 15 receptions for 203 yards and two touchdowns.

A.J. Green
A.J. GreenMatt Sullivan/Getty Images

Green will be covered at times by cornerback Tramon Williams, and also at times by cornerback Sam Shields. The Packers have had issues with No. 1 receivers this year, as both Anquan Boldin of the 49ers and Pierre Garcon of the Washington Redskins had big days against the secondary of the Packers.

The two combined for 21 receptions for 351 yards and two touchdowns the past two weeks against the defensive backfield of the Packers.

Bottom line, the Packers look to go 2-1 heading into their bye week, while the Bengals try to get their second win on a short week, after a hard-fought win against the rival Steelers on Monday night.

Time will tell how the game will go, but the matchups I mentioned will play a big part in who wins or loses the football game.