Last week, the Green Bay Packers beat the Chicago Bears by doing some things they weren't able to do last season: stopping the run (second-year phenom Matt Forte had only 55 yards rushing), depending on Aaron Rodgers to stick the ball in the end zone in the last two minutes, and coming up with a big stop after the go-ahead score.
Sure, Jay Cutler helped a lot with the four interceptions and if he hadn't thrown them, the Bears would've won easily. But he did throw them, and they weren't all the receivers' fault. That's neither here nor there, however.
Unfortunately for the Bengals, the Packers won't provide the kind of chaser they're looking for.
Cincinnati was putrid on offense last year. A lot of it probably was the fact that Ryan Fitzpatrick was the starting quarterback for a good portion of the year, but it didn't seem like the team took much of a step up in only scoring seven points last week against a Denver team in transition on defense.
No doubt, the aggressive and talented (much more so than Denver, at the very least) Packers defense will be flying to the ball no matter where it is on the field.
Charles Woodson and Al Harris are good enough to defend Chad Ochocinco and Chris Henry when the Packers decide to blitz, and in passing situations, Green Bay has no problem sitting back and playing for interceptions, especially in their nickel package.
Green Bay's run defense, which held rising star Matt Forte to 55 rushing yards last week, should have similar success in containing former Bears bust Cedric Benson. Cullen Jenkins created a lot of havoc against Chicago's offensive front, which is a lot better than what Cincinnati will have on the field.
A lot was made of Green Bay's offensive struggles last week, but I attribute a lot of that to Chicago's intensity. It was a nationally-televised rivalry game in week one. If a defense isn't up for that game, there would be something wrong with that defense.
The game against Cincinnati will be low key in comparison. I see this allowing the Packers to get into an early rhythm against the Bengals in the running game. Ryan Grant's numbers weren't impressive last week, but he had an explosiveness that he didn't have last season.
Hopefully, the Packers can take advantage and get the running game established within the first two possessions of the game. Successful running attacks always set up the passing game well, and Rodgers and his stable of receivers should be able to take advantage of the Bengals' secondary.
Besides, an offense as talented as Green Bay's can't lay two eggs in a row, can it?
Final score: Green Bay 27-10 Cincinnati