The NFC North and AFC North may end up being two of the toughest divisions in the 2013 NFL season when all is said and done. On Sunday, the projected winners of each will square off in Week 3.
The Green Bay Packers will host the Cincinnati Bengals as part of the early afternoon games. Both teams enter the contest at 1-1 with big wins in Week 2. Green Bay blew out the Washington Redskins 38-20, taking a 31-0 lead at one point. Cincinnati handled the Pittsburgh Steelers in their first divisional matchup of the season, keeping their rivals winless, thus far.
Even though both teams have fairly high expectations this year, the Packers are favorites on the road. Green Bay began the week as underdogs, but the betting public has moved the point spread to three points, in their favor.
It won’t be easy for the Bengals to stop the Packers explosive offense. Aaron Rodgers has looked as good as ever, despite not playing much in the preseason. He leads the NFL with 813 yards through the air, and only Peyton Manning has a higher passer rating. Rodgers has been helped by being surrounded with several dangerous weapons. In Week 1, both Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb registered more than 100 receiving yards. Against the Redskins, Cobb and James Jones reached that mark.
If Green Bay can maintain a strong rushing attack, there may be no stopping their offense. After rookie Eddie Lacy struggled in his debut, James Starks rushed for 132 yards in Week 2. Lacy won’t get the start because of a concussion.
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Andy Dalton could be in for a big day, as well. No game on Sunday has an over/under higher on Sunday than the 49.5 for this game, and just two teams have allowed more passing yards than the Packers. A.J. Green could come close to matching his 162-yard performance from the opener.
The Bengals don’t have much of a home-field advantage. In 2012, they won two more games on the road on their way to the postseason. However, their defense has been stout at Paul Brown Stadium. They haven’t allowed more than 20 points or 300 yards of total offense in their last five games in Cincinnati.
FOX will carry the game on TV at 1 p.m. ET. Those who can’t watch the game in their home markets can see a live stream online if they have a subscription to NFL Sunday Ticket Max.
Prediction: Green Bay 34, Cincinnati 28