A pair of first-place teams square off in Cincinnati on Sunday when the Green Bay Packers face the Bengals. The Packers have won three straight since losing on opening day and rolled past the Steelers on Sunday to continue their hot play and move a game in front in the NFC North.
Cincinnati moved into a three-way tie atop the AFC North, with the Browns and Ravens. The Bengals erased an early deficit on Thursday Night, avoiding what would have been a terrible loss to the winless Jaguars. Instead, they posted their second straight win in their third game of the year that has been decided by just three points.
Green Bay Packers vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Sunday, October 10, 2021 - 01:00 PM EDT at Paul Brown Stadium
The Green Bay offense looked like the Packers of old as Aaron Rodgers threw a pair of touchdown passes to Randall Cobb, who returned to the team this season. The veteran wide receiver topped his three-game totals for catches and yards in the win over Pittsburgh.
The team scored at least 27 points for the third straight week, and the Packers will likely need all the scoring punch they can muster as the defense continues to struggle with injuries.
The Packers were missing three key defensive players on Sunday, including linebacker Krys Barnes, corner Kevin King, who has missed the last two games, and linebacker Za’Darius Smith, who has missed the last three. The team was also down two offensive linemen and a wide receiver, on the other side of the ball.
Making the defensive woes worse, the Packers saw star cornerback Jaire Alexander go down during Sunday’s game. He suffered an AC joint sprain against the Steelers and didn’t return. He’ll be reevaluated early in the week, but the team seems to be preparing to play without him in Cincinnati.
Midway through the first half on Thursday, the Bengals found themselves trailing the lowly Jaguars, 14-0 and getting booed by their home fans. And it took a goal line stand at the one-yard line to keep from being down 21-0 at halftime. Joe Burrow led the Bengals back in the second half, with four straight scoring drives. Tight end C.J. Uzomah had a breakout game with 95 yards and two touchdowns after halftime.
Burrow finished with 348 yards, the sixth 300-yard game of his career and finished with a five and a half minute drive leading to the game-winning field goal in a 24-21 win. It’s the third time in four weeks the living-dangerously Bengals have played a three-point game, winning two of them.
Burrow has thrown at least two touchdowns in all four games this season, joining Hall of Famers Dan Marino, Peyton Manning and Kurt Warner as the only quarterbacks to do that in the second year of their careers.
Now Cincinnati faces Green Bay with a few extra days of rest after getting the “mini-bye” following the Thursday game. They need the time to get some banged-up players well. Running back Joe Mixon sprained his ankle in the Jaguars game. Receiver Tee Higgins and safety Jesse Bates both missed the game with injuries. Coach Zac Taylor seemed optimistic about all three, however, saying, “It’s moving in a positive direction with every guy who’s on the injury report right now.”
This game has the potential to be a shootout. The Packers could certainly use Alexander to help put a lid on Burrow and the Bengals offense. Even without him, Green Bay should have enough weapons to outscore the Bengals and cover the line as a road favorite, and beat the NFL odds.
NFL Pick: (visit our Sportsbook Review)
*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.