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Insider Gives Insight on Aaron Rodgers, Davante Adams and the Packers Ahead of Their Matchup Against the Bengals

Cincinnati hosts Green Bay on Sunday afternoon.

CINCINNATI — The Bengals are hoping to beat the Packers on Sunday and start 4-1 for the first time since 2018.

All Bengals asked Bill Huber of SI's PackerCentral.com a few questions ahead of the matchup. Check out his answers below.

There was plenty of drama surrounding Aaron Rodgers this offseason. How do things stand between him and the team and do you think that drama impacted him at all this season?

"I’ll start with the second question first. It’s had no impact on him or his teammates. Rodgers wants to win. His excitement after leading the Packers on the game-winning drive at San Francisco drove home that point. His teammates want to win, too. Any idiot knows that the odds of winning are better with Rodgers.

"The first question is more difficult to answer. One of Rodgers’ beefs with the team was he didn’t feel like his opinion was valued by the front office. When he decided to report to training camp, he persuaded general manager Brian Gutekunst to trade for Randall Cobb. I think that move thawed the relations a bit. He’s not asking to make all the personnel moves. He just wants to feel like, on personnel matters that impact him, that the team will listen to him. If the trade for Cobb was a sign of things to come, perhaps the Packers and Rodgers can find a way to keep this going in 2022 and beyond. Then again, the Packers are more than $40 million over next year’s salary cap. Moving on from Rodgers and going with Jordan Love might be inevitable."

Without Jaire Alexander, who's going to play cornerback and how big of a concern is it not to have someone like him in the secondary?

It will be Kevin King and first-round rookie Eric Stokes at cornerback and Chandon Sullivan in the slot. King and Sullivan are veterans who have played some good football. However, King’s injury history is a mile long. His 2020 ended horribly, with two touchdowns and a pass interference in the NFC Championship Game, and his 2021 hasn’t exactly gotten off to a rousing start. I thought Sullivan was understatedly good in 2020 but he has not been up to par this season. Stokes is a typical rookie corner. He took his lumps against Pittsburgh last week, only to intercept a pass toward the end of the game. I think he’s going to be really good—perhaps in Week 15 but probably not Week 5.

Alexander is a great player. Losing him for an extended period could be crippling to a defense that hasn’t had much of a pass rush with Za’Darius Smith on injured reserve following back surgery. If Alexander’s season is over, the Packers’ championship hopes might be over, too.

Related: Game Predictions—The All Bengals Staff Makes Their Picks

What's the best part of the Packers' defense and do you think they'll be able to slow down Joe Burrow, Ja'Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd and company?

There’s not really one thing the defense can hang its hat on but it is trending in the right direction. New coordinator Joe Barry’s unit was bludgeoned by the Saints in Week 1, but the Packers played a really good second half in Week 2 vs. Detroit, a really good first half in Week 3 against San Francisco and a really good game for most of Week 4 vs. Pittsburgh. Of course, the Bengals have more offensive talent than those teams, and the Packers will be without their top cover guy (Alexander) and pass rusher (Smith).

It’s going to be up to the guys up front to win this game. Defensive tackle Kenny Clark has been great and outside linebackers Preston Smith and Rashan Gary have played well, too. Green Bay should be able to control the line of scrimmage against the Bengals’ offensive line. Who knows if that will be enough, though.

Outside of the big three: Rodgers, Davante Adams and Aaron Jones, who else should the Bengals be focused on stopping?

Green Bay’s got a lot of weapons. Rodgers, Adams and Jones didn’t have great games against Pittsburgh and yet the Packers still scored 27 points and scored on five consecutive possessions.

Jones’ backup at running back, AJ Dillon, had a big game last week. He’s the thunder to Jones’ lightning, to use a tired backfield cliché. Sure-handed tight end Robert Tonyan hasn’t done much to start this season but scored 11 touchdowns last year, tied with Travis Kelce for tops in the NFL. The aforementioned Cobb converted four third downs and scored two touchdowns against Pittsburgh. Big Allen Lazard can help the offense as a receiver, where he’s got deceptive speed, and as a blocker, an area in which coach Matt LaFleur calls him a “goon.”

Who wins and why?

I have no idea how the Packers are going to stop that Burrow-led Bengals passing game. So, it’s going to be up to Rodgers and Co. to score a lot of points. That’s possible but, if it becomes a track meet, can Green Bay protect Rodgers well enough? All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari is on PUP. Pro Bowl guard Elgton Jenkins was excellent in Bakhtiari’s place but he’s missed the last two games with an ankle injury and is questionable for Sunday. The No. 3 choice at left tackle, Yosh Nijman, played well the last two weeks but the Packers weren’t in must-pass mode.

So, I’m going with the Bengals to win. But, hey, I picked Pittsburgh to spring the hungry-team upset last week, so what do I know?

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