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Bengals try to slow down Packers on Sunday
By: Brian Graham - StatFox
Published: 9/22/2013  at  4:58:00 AM
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GREEN BAY PACKERS (1-1)
at CINCINNATI BENGALS (1-1)

Kickoff: Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET
Line: Green Bay -2.5, Total: 48.5

Aaron Rodgers tries to build upon a record-setting day when his Packers visit the Bengals on Sunday afternoon.

Rodgers threw for a career high and team-record-tying 480 yards in a 38-20 blowout of the Redskins in Week 2. He threw two of his four TD passes to WR Jordy Nelson, while WR James Jones had 178 receiving yards and WR Randall Cobb finished with 128. Top RB Eddie Lacy suffered a concussion on his first carry of the game, but backup RB James Starks replaced him with 132 rushing yards, the teamís first 100-yard rusher in a span of 45 games. Cincinnati is 1-5 ATS in the past six meetings, but beat Green Bay 31-24 in 2009. The Bengals were able to defeat the Steelers 20-10 on Monday night thanks in large part to rookie RB Giovani Bernard's two touchdowns and a sustained ground game that helped Cincy keep the football for 35:34. The Packers are 10-2 ATS (83%) after allowing 6.5 or more yards per play in their previous game over the past three seasons, but are just 4-7 ATS (36%) in their past 11 road games. Cincinnati is a subpar 6-15 (29%) at home where the total is at least 45.5 under head coach Marvin Lewis, but is also 21-10 ATS (68%) coming off a double-digit win under Lewis.

Can the Bengals win at home again versus the Packers' high-flying offense? For the answer, connect to NFL Best Bets for all the StatFox Experts picks throughout the 2013 season and playoffs. During the 2012 campaign, the experts combined for a 52% ATS success rate in NFL Best Bets, highlighted by StatFox Brian's 60% ATS mark (36-24-2 ATS) and StatFox Dave's 53% ATS accuracy (44-41-4). StatFox Scott and StatFox Gary dominated NFL Totals, with Scott going 57% (38-29-1) and Gary cranking out a 56% clip (28-22-1) during the season, capped off by a perfect 4-0 run in the postseason.

The Packers are lighting up the scoreboard with 33.0 PPG, 483 total YPG and 382 passing YPG, numbers that rank first or second in the NFL. Aaron Rodgers has a 127.2 passer rating (2nd in NFL) by completing 70% of his passes for 813 yards (10.3 YPA), 7 TD and 1 INT. Four Packers receivers already have 10+ catches apiece, led by WR Randall Cobb's 16 grabs for 236 yards, 107 of which have come after the catch. WR Jordy Nelson is averaging 19.6 yard per catch on his 10 receptions, including four gains of 20+ yards and three touchdowns. WR James Jones and TE Jermichael Finley both have 11 catches, with Finley finding the end zone twice. With RB Eddie Lacy likely to miss a couple games with his concussion, RB James Starks is the only viable option to run the football for this team. Although he averaged 6.6 yards per carry last week, the Bengals are very tough to run on, allowing a mere 63 rushing YPG on 2.8 YPC this season. On the defensive side of the ball, Green Bay has been lit up for 718 passing yards (359 YPG), a number higher than it should be due to hamstring injuries to two starters in the secondary, FS Morgan Burnett and CB Casey Hayward. Neither player is expected back on the field this week. The Packers' run-stop unit has been serviceable though, allowing 99 rushing YPG on 3.9 yards per carry.

Bengals QB Andy Dalton has played well to start the season, completing 65% of his passes for 279 YPG (7.2 YPA), 3 TD and 2 INT. He's taken only one sack, which will be a key against Packers pass-rushing-monster LB Clay Matthews. Dalton has leaned heavily on top WR A.J. Green, targeting him on 35% of his dropbacks. Green has responded with 15 catches for 203 yards and two scores. WR Mohamed Sanu is the only other wideout with at least five catches, but has gained just 6.6 yards per reception on his nine grabs. Dalton has also relied on his talented tight-end duo of rookie Tyler Eifert and Jermaine Gresham, as the pair has combined for 19 catches and 214 yards this season. The Bengals have tried to pound the football with reliable RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis, giving him 36 carries, but Green-Ellis has just 2.8 YPC with that heavy workload. Shifty rookie RB Giovani Bernard has been much more productive with 60 yards on 12 carries (5.0 YPC) despite his longest gain being a mere eight yards. Although the Bengals' front seven hasn't given up a lot of yards, especially on the ground, the unit has produced just two sacks in two games. They are expecting to triple that number against a suspect Packers offensive line that has allowed 57 sacks in the past 18 contests (3.2 per game).

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