Green Bay Packers Pay Visit to Cincinnati Bengals
By: Don Best Staff
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Don Best turns its attention to Cincinnati where the Bengals host the Green Bay Packers in NFL preseason football action at Paul Brown Stadium on Thursday.
Green Bay is a 3-point favorite after opening at -2½, and the total has skipped up to 45½ from a 42½-point beginning. The full 3-point move up on the total is consistent with totals in Week 3 as football bettors really seem to like scoreboards to be busier. Don Best sports analyst Kenny White credits the league-wide shift to passing offenses for the expectations of more points.
"These coaches are sticking to their guns in preseason," White commented, "and they're throwing the football."
Green Bay head coach Mike McCarthy has been running his passing game for years, and that has certainly translated into the Packers being a great 'over' bet in the preseason with 20 of their last 26 scrimmages going above the total.
Starters for both teams are projected to play the entire first half, which could also lead to higher scoring with the two quarterbacks, Aaron Rodgers and Andy Dalton, on the field longer. Rodgers has yet to really get warmed up in preseason action going a combined 8-for-17 and 76 yards in the first two games. He has thrown for a TD and an interception, one of eight Green Bay turnovers so far this preseason.
Rodgers could have two of his favorite targets back for this game in tight end Jermichael Finley and wideout Greg Jennings. Finley has been nursing a quad injury while Jennings had concussion issues, and both are listed as probable for Thursday's showdown.
Another interesting sidebar story to this game is former Bengals RB Cedric Benson returning to Cincinnati to face his old mates. Benson would be hard-pressed to have a big game against the Bengals, according to White, as he learns a brand new system with the Packers.
Cincinnati enters the contest 2-0 on the preseason with Dalton enjoying a nice game last week in Atlanta against the Falcons. The former star at Texas Christian completed 8-of-14 passes for 125 yards and a score. However, the rushing attack was highlighted by scrambles from backup QBs Bruce Gradkowski and Zac Robinson who combined for the bulk of the 'ground attack' while the Bengals played without the halfback tandem of BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Bernard Scott.
Neither Green-Ellis (foot) nor Scott (hand) is expected to see action in Thursday's game according to the Don Best injury report.
Kenny White points to the Cincinnati QB rotation as a big reason why the Bengals are 2-0 in the preseason. Gradkowski and Robinson provide great backup support for Dalton.
One key aspect of this game is Cincinnati's pass defense tightening up against a potent Packers air attack. The Bengals surrendered nearly 400 yards through the air against the Falcons last week, and both Rodgers and Graham Harrell could be anxious to try and pick the Atlanta stop unit apart. In particular, Bengals beefy safety Taylor Mays is one to watch over the middle and deep when the Green Bay offense is on the field.
Keep your eyes on the Don Best Pro Odds throughout the NFL season for important updates and line moves.