Green Bay Packers (3-1, 3-1 ATS) at Cincinnati Bengals (3-1, 2-2), 1 p.m.
Brolley’s Packers Stats and Trends
The Packers are 6-2 ATS in their last eight games, and they’re 5-2 ATS in their last seven games as a favorite.
Green Bay is 6-2 toward overs in its last eight games.
Aaron Rodgers has thrown for multiple TDs in every game since his Week 1 stinker, but he’s yet to reach 265+ passing yards through four games. Trevor Lawrence went for 204-scoreless yards against the Bengals last week but he averaged 8.5 YPA, while Kirk Cousins managed 351/2 passing in this matchup back in the season opener.
Davante Adams is second in the league with a 36% target share, but he’s scored just once this season after leading the league with 18 receiving scores last season. The Bengals have given up just three TDs to WRs this season, and they’re middle of the pack with 38.1 FPG allowed to the position.
With Marquez Valdes-Scantling (hamstring, IR) out of the lineup through at least Week 6, Randall Cobb (25 routes) and Allen Lazard (37) stepped into bigger routes. Cobb led the Packers in receiving with 5/69/2 on six targets (17% share) against the Steelers in Week 5, while Lazard mustered just 2/33 receiving on three targets. CB Mike Hilton is getting picked on with his new team, as well, allowing a healthy 1.41 yards per coverage snap in the slot.
Robert Tonyan turned in one of the most efficient TE seasons last season, but he’s been hit by regression this season after another disappointing showing against the Steelers in Week 4. Tonyan finished with 2/8 receiving on a career-high seven targets, which gives him three performances with fewer than 10 receiving yards and fewer than 3.0 FP. He busted against the Steelers with Rodgers under-throwing him on a seam route in the end zone. The Bengals have given up just one touchdown to TEs this season.
Aaron Jones managed a solid 18/99 scrimmage against the Steelers last week as he conceded his first major work of the season to A.J. Dillon (15/81 rushing) with the victory well in hand against the Steelers. This game projects to be much closer as three-point road favorites, and the Bengals have limited RBs to 3.3 YPC through four weeks. They have given up the second-most catches per game (8.0) to RBs, and James Robinson just 20.6 FP against the Bengals last week.
Brolley’s Bengals Stats and Trends
The Bengals are 5-2 ATS in their last seven home games.
Cincinnati has played under the total in three straight games.
Joe Mixon picked up a low-grade high-ankle sprain last week, which our Edwin Porras compared to Dalvin Cook’s current situation. Samaje Perine is the next man up if Mixon misses the next week or two against the Packers and Lions. Perine saw his only touches of the game in crunch time last week, and he produced a 15-yard catch and 3/7 rushing. Perine should take over most of the work this week with Chris Evans getting some work in obvious passing situations. The Packers are giving up 3.9 YPC to RBs and the 14th-fewest FPG (23.0) to RBs.
Joe Burrow was forced to throw more than he had through the first three weeks and he passed with flying colors, averaging 10.9 YPA with two scores against the Jags last week. Burrow has thrown for multiple TDs in every game this season and he’s averaging 9.2 YPA, and he could be pressed to throw more without Mixon in the lineup and as three-point home underdogs against the Packers. Green Bay has yet to allow 260+ passing yards but they’re giving up the fourth-most TD passes per game (2.5) to QBs.
Ja’Marr Chase failed to score for the first time in his career, but he posted season-high in targets (9) and catches (6) against the Jaguars. The Packers could also be without Jaire Alexander (shoulder) this week, who is one of the league’s most impactful CBs. Diontae Johnson posted 9/92/1 receiving in this matchup last week.
Tee Higgins should return off his shoulder injury this week after missing the last two weeks. He scored 15+ FP in each of his first two games this season, and he has double-digit FP in his last nine full games with Burrow. James Washington posted 4/69 receiving on five targets in this matchup last week.
Tyler Boyd has bounced back with 13+ FP in three straight games since his quiet season opener, and he’s coming off season-highs in targets (11), catches (9), and yards (118) last week. JuJu Smith-Schuster mustered just 2/25 receiving on eight targets in this matchup last week, but Big Ben missed him for multiple huge plays.
C.J. Uzomah sparked Cincinnati’s second-half comeback victory over the Jaguars in Week 4, scoring two long touchdowns on catch-and-run plays. He finished with 5/95/2 receiving on six targets (19% share) after he had just 39 receiving yards in the first three games. His role will likely shrink this week with Higgins coming back, but the Packers had given up 17+ FP in each of the first three weeks before running into Pittsburgh’s inept passing attack.
Barfield’s Pace and Tendencies
Pace (seconds in between plays): 30.5 (25th)
Plays per game: 64.3 (23rd)
Pass: 59.2% (17th) | Run: 40.8% (16th)
Pace: 32.6 (31st)
Plays per game: 59.0 (31st)
Pass: 56.2% (25th) | Run: 43.8% (8th)
Even though this game is the slowest on the Week 5 slate and is the second-worst in adjusted combined plays per game, the markets have this game with the fourth-largest total (50.5) on the week. The Bengals have been simply playing as slow as molasses (31st in both pace and plays) as Joe Burrow is still getting his legs back underneath him. Maybe the books are expecting the Bengals to throw more with Joe Mixon out and as 3-point underdogs to Aaron Rodgers? Of course, this is all with Mixon healthy, but the Bengals are still the fifth-most run-heavy team when they’ve been behind on the scoreboard so HC Zac Taylor should have to open things up in the passing game if the Packers build a lead.
Huber’s Key Matchup Notes
What was set to be a significant challenge for Cincinnati was nullified with the news that Jaire Alexander was ruled out. You can literally count the number of corners able to impact a passing game like Alexander on one hand. Without him, each of the Bengals’ big-hitters are in play.
The Bengals are getting healthy in the secondary at the wrong time for Davante Adams. Both Chidobe Awuzie — who’d likely oppose Adams on at least half of his routes — and Jessie Bates III are likely returning to the lineup this week. Losing a chunk of preparation time with Rodgers this preseason does seem to be impacting their timing. Randall Cobb is appealing after his big Week 4 performance. Cincy is permitting the 11th-most slot FPG to receivers, and he’ll face aggressive, below-average press coverage from Mike Hilton.
Dolan’s Vantage Points
Injuries will tell a large story of this game.
The Bengals will be getting one key player — WR Tee Higgins — back from a shoulder injury after two games missed. But another — RB Joe Mixon — is in danger of missing after suffering a “low-grade” ankle sprain last Thursday night. Unfortunately, that’s been the way things have gone for Mixon in his NFL career, but fortunately, the injury does not look serious. He didn’t practice all week, so I’d put him on the “doubtful” side of questionable.
For the Packers, however, star CB Jaire Alexander left last week’s win over the Steelers with a shoulder injury, and that looks a lot more serious than Mixon’s. Alexander’s absence led to the Packers signing Rasul Douglas, and they could be in a world of hurt this week — and beyond — if Alexander can’t play (he will be out for the year if he requires surgery).
While early in the year Alexander had worked more in the slot, like the Rams’ Jalen Ramsey, he returned to his more traditional perimeter CB role the last two weeks. The Packers have not had a corner step up in Alexander’s absence, with big-money man Kevin King both struggling and missing the last two games with a concussion (he’s expected to play this week), Eric Stokes showing promise but still limited as a rookie, and slot CB Chandon Sullivan being one of PFF’s worst-graded CBs overall.
The Bengals are limited for fantasy because they run the second-fewest plays in the NFL (ahead of only Seattle entering Week 4), but it’s a good spot for their WRs. I’m firing up Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, and Tyler Boyd all as WR2s. Despite Higgins missing two games, he’s still third on the Bengals in targets (15), and these three WRs have accounted for a whopping 65.4% of Joe Burrow’s targeted passes. All three are capable of blowup games, and with Alexander out, all three have potential blowup spots. Burrow is also a borderline QB1 this week.
If Mixon doesn’t play, Samaje Perine is a streamable RB2, though I would expect rookie Chris Evans to get some work in the passing game. To date, Perine has run more routes than Evans — 21 to 9 — but it’s something to note.
For fantasy managers, this makes Bengals RB Chris Evans a much more viable streaming option.— Ben Baby (@Ben_Baby) October 7, 2021
With Higgins out in Week 4, TE CJ Uzomah played a season-high 83% of the snaps and had a 2-TD game against the Jaguars, but on the season Uzomah has just 9 catches on 89 routes, and was catchless in Week 3. The Packers do allow the 6th-most FPG to opposing TEs.
If you exclude his abominable Week 1 performance in a no-show against the Saints, Aaron Rodgers is back to playing at a borderline MVP level, but he’s still “just” the QB10 because he doesn’t run much. And given the projected slow pace of this game, I wonder how much volume Rodgers will get to be more than a low-end QB1. In theory, this is an exploitable secondary matchup for him and Davante Adams.
Rodgers got the ball to Randall Cobb for 2 TD last week, but Cobb has yet to top 50% of the snaps in any game this year, though his 46% share in Week 4 was his highest yet. Cobb’s 25 routes in Week 4 were his most yet, though still far behind Adams (39) and Allen Lazard (37). It is worth noting that the Bengals give up 57% of their WR production to slot receivers, which is good news for Cobb and Adams. Both Cobb and Lazard are volatile WR3s — you just hope this is the week Rodgers targets ‘em.
“Tonyan scored just 2.8 fantasy points last week, but he did see a career-high 7 targets. And, well, lol. But he’s also seen his route share jump every week thus far: 57%, 61%, 71%, 83%.”
Tonyan is a major positive regression candidate, but after seeing Rodgers miss him on so many throws, I don’t blame folks for wanting to give him a week to actually show up, especially since he’s still helping out in the chip blocking department given the Packers are down to their third-string left tackle. Fortunately, the latter part may soon be coming to an end — backup LT (and starting G) Elgton Jenkins (ankle) is listed a questionable despite missing the last two games.
With the Packers in control against the Steelers last week, AJ Dillon played a season-high 40% of the snaps and posted 97 yards from scrimmage. I wonder if that’s the Packers’ ideal plan for Dillon, but the Bengals have been far easier to get through the air out of the backfield than on the ground, which makes this more of an Aaron Jones week to me. Dillon is a low-end FLEX, but Jones an RB1.