Kickoff: 4:25 p.m. Eastern
Television: CBS broadcast with Jim Nantz (play-by-play), Tony Romo (analyst) and Tracy Wolfson (sideline reporter). The game will air in the Bengals home market on WKRC-TV (Channel 12) in Cincinnati, WHIO-TV (Channel 7) in Dayton and on WKYT-TV (Channel 27) in Lexington, Ky.
Radio: Coverage on the Bengals Radio Network, led by Cincinnati flagship stations WCKY-AM (ESPN 1530; all sports) and WEBN-FM (102.7). Broadcasters are Dan Hoard (play-by-play) and Dave Lapham (analyst).
The game also will be aired to a national audience on affiliates of Sports USA Radio. Broadcasters are Larry Kahn (play-by-play), Hank Bauer (analyst) and Troy West (sideline reporter).
Setting the scene: Home losses to Baltimore and Houston in their first two games have left the 0-2 Cincinnati Bengals with a bit of an upward climb ahead of them, and with their 13-9 loss to the Texans last Thursday behind them, the team has a little extra time to ready for an ascent. The team is using its 10-day break between games to regroup and re-establish its resolve.
"We've dug ourselves into a little bit of a hole against two AFC opponents, which you don't want to do," said head coach Marvin Lewis. "It's not a spot where we thought we would be, but we are. It's where we've put ourselves. We have to right our ship, and we have do it one play and one game at a time."
The NFL rarely offers its teams breaks, and this week is no exception, as the Bengals travel to take on the Green Bay Packers at 4:25 p.m. Sunday at Lambeau Field. The Packers may be only 1-1, but they have been a perennial league power for many years. The defending NFC North Champions have made the playoffs in each of the last eight seasons — tied for the third-longest streak in NFL history — and they have won their division five times during that span.
"We have plenty of time to be better," Lewis said, "but we have our work cut out for us."
The Bengals surely plan to build on the positives, which for them is a solid showing on defense in both of the first two games. The Bengals' defense has given up an average of just 267.0 net yards, ranked No. 5 in the league, and an average of just 16.5 points, tied for No. 7.
Improving the team's execution on offense, however, is Cincinnati's top priority. Specifically, that means scoring more points. The Bengals, with just three field goals in their first two games, have yet to score a touchdown.
The team wasted little time in that effort, announcing on Sept. 15, the day after the loss to the Texans, that quarterbacks coach Bill Lazor would assume offensive coordinator responsibilities. Lazor is in his 12th season as an NFL coach and in his second year as an assistant coach with the Bengals. He previously has served as an NFL offensive coordinator and/or quarterbacks coach for Washington, Seattle, Philadelphia and Miami.
"I felt it was best for the football team to breathe new life into the offense, and that's why I made the change," Lewis said. "Bill has great experience in the league and as a coordinator, and I feel he can progress our offense the way we need. We have a lot of talent on offense, and we need to keep working to take full advantage of the personnel we have."
On paper, Lazor and the Bengals have a full stable of skill players at their disposal. Beyond QB Andy Dalton, the team expects to present problems for opposing defenses with the likes of WRs A.J. Green, Brandon LaFell, John Ross, Tyler Boyd and Alex Erickson, as well as TE Tyler Eifert and HBs Jeremy Hill, Giovani Bernard and Joe Mixon.
"We've spent a lot of time building an offense geared toward the particular players we have," Lazor said. "What we need to do is score as many points as we can to beat the Packers. That's it. And then we will take it from there. When (a coordinator change) like this happens during the season, you can't go much further than that. It would be nice if you could, but we have a real tough task at hand. So, we're just going to tackle that and let the philosophy work its way out as we go."
In addition to scoring, the Bengals' offense figures to spend significant time this week working on third-down conversions (it's currently ranked tied for 28th in the league in third-down efficiency at 28.6 percent) and red-zone efficiency (ranked tied for 30th in TD percentage inside the 20 at 0.0). The team as a
whole surely will concentrate on turnover differential (the Bengals rank 32nd at minus-five).
"We have to figure it out, and do things better," Lewis said. "(It's about) being consistent with our execution. We have an opportunity to look at it and get better. And we will get better."
The series: The Bengals lead 7-5, having won all three of the games during Marvin Lewis' head coaching tenure. All three of those wins contributed to division championship seasons for Cincinnati, in 2005, 09' and '13.
The Packers' last win in the series was a 13-6 decision at Riverfront Stadium in 1998.
As the road team, the Bengals are 3-4 against Green Bay. Two of those road wins, however, occurred at Milwaukee County Stadium, where the Packers played two to four games per season through 1994. The Bengals are 1-4 at Lambeau Field.
Team bests from the series:
Bengals — MOST POINTS: 34 (three times), in wins of 34-14 at Cincinnati in 1983, 34-28 at Milwaukee in '86 and 34-30 at Cincinnati in 2013. LARGEST VICTORY MARGIN: 21, in a 28-7 win at Cincinnati in 1976. FEWEST POINTS ALLOWED: 7 (two times), in the 28-7 win in 1976 and a 17-7 win at Milwaukee in '77.
Packers — MOST POINTS: 30, in a 34-30 loss at Cincinnati in 2013. LARGEST VICTORY MARGIN: 14, in 24-10 win at Green Bay in 1995. FEWEST POINTS ALLOWED: 6, in a 13-6 win at Cincinnati in 1998.
The last meetings: Summaries of the last two Bengals-Packers meetings — in 2009 at Green Bay, and in '13 at Cincinnati — are on page 15 of this news release.
Turnover tables are turned: During the tenure of head coach Marvin Lewis (2003-present), the Bengals rank seventh in the NFL in turnover differential, at plus-46. This week's game also features the No. 2-ranked team in in that same span — the Green Bay Packers are plus-60 since '03.
The Bengals are minus-five in differential thus far in 2017, with one takeaway (INT) and six giveaways (four INTs, two FL). The Packers this season are minus-two with one takeaway (FR) and three giveaways (one INT, two FL).
Last week vs. Houston, the Bengals were minus-one, with no takeaways and one giveaway (FL).
Prior to Lewis' tenure, the Bengals had posted a minus turnover differential for five straight years (1998-2002).
Since 2003, NFL teams with just a plus-one differential have won 68.5 percent of those games. At plus-two, the percentage has been 82.4. Teams with any plus have won at a 79.1 percent clip.
Here are the top six teams in differential since 2003:
TEAM TAKEAWAYS GIVEAWAYS DIFFERENTIAL
New England Patriots.................... 423...................... 261......................... 62
Green Bay Packers....................... 387...................... 327......................... 60
Carolina Panthers......................... 420...................... 363......................... 57
Seattle Seahawks......................... 384...................... 329......................... 55
Atlanta Falcons............................. 379...................... 328......................... 51
Kansas City Chiefs........................ 374...................... 325......................... 49
Cincinnati Bengals........................ 403...................... 357......................... 46
Since 2003, the Bengals rank fifth in takeaways (403) and ninth in points off turnovers (1200).
Records vs. Packers: The Bengals have three individual records and two team records against the Green Bay Packers in the books:
● On Sept. 20, 2009 at Lambeau Field, Cincinnati DE Antwan Odom sacked Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers five times, tying the Bengals record. The only other instance of five sacks in a game by a Bengal was five by DE Eddie Edwards on Dec. 21, 1980 vs. Cleveland.
● On Oct. 30, 2005 at Paul Brown Stadium, Green Bay QB Brett Favre suffered five interceptions, tied for most by an individual QB against the Bengals. Others picked five times by Cincinnati have been Chicago's Kyle Orton (2005), Minnesota's Daunte Culpepper (2005) and Oakland's Daryle Lamonica (1969). The Bengals' record for interceptions in a game against an opposing team is six, set twice and not involving any of the performances just listed.
● The longest punt return in Bengals history, 95 yards for a touchdown by rookie WR Carl Pickens, came on Sept. 20, 1992 at Green Bay.
● In a 28-7 home victory over Green Bay on Sept. 26, 1976, the Bengals defense set club marks for fewest total net yards allowed (36) and fewest net passing yards allowed (minus-35).
Other notable performances against the Packers include:
● WR Quan Cosby recorded the second-most punt return yards against a Bengals opponent when he had 114 vs. the Packers on Sept. 20, 2009 at Green Bay.
● P Pat McInally tied for the second most inside-20 kicks in a game when he had five on Oct. 5, 1980 at Green Bay.
Individually vs. Packers: The Bengals and Packers have met just twice since 2009.
Four current Bengals were with the team for its 31-24 win in '09 at Lambeau Field — P Kevin Huber, DE Michael Johnson, DT Pat Sims and OT Andre Smith. Of those four, only Huber, Johnson and Smith were with the team for both for its '09 win and its 34-30 victory in '13 at Paul Brown Stadium (Sims was with Oakland in '13):
● Huber (two games) has seven punts against the Packers for 316 yards (45.1 average; 42.3 net), three inside-20s and one touchback.
● Johnson (two games) has eight tackles (five solo), one pass defensed and one forced fumble.
● Smith was inactive for the 2009 game and started at right offensive tackle in the '13 contest.
Only four current Bengals saw action on offense against the Packers in the 2013 game and recorded statistics:
● QB Andy Dalton: Completed 20 of 28 passes (71.4 percent) for 235 yards, two TDs and one INT (105.5 passer rating).
● HB Giovani Bernard: 10 rushes for 50 yards (5.0-yard average) and one TD; Four receptions for 49 yards (12.3).
● WR A.J. Green: Four receptions for 46 yards (11.5) and one TD.
● TE Tyler Eifert: One reception for seven yards.
Connections: Bengals WR Alex Erickson is from Darlington, Wis. (Darlington High School), and played at the University of Wisconsin ... Packers CB Quinten Rollins is from Wilmington, Ohio (Wilmington High School), and played at Miami (Ohio) University ... Packers LB Ahmad Brooks entered the NFL as a third-round pick of the Bengals in the 2006 supplemental draft, and was with Cincinnati through '07 ... Bengals LS Clark Harris entered the NFL as a seventh round draft pick (243rd overall) of the Packers in 2007 ... Packers G/T Adam Pankey is from Hamilton, Ohio (Hamilton High School) ... Packers special teams coordinator Ron Zook played at Miami (Ohio) University, and coached at the University of Cincinnati (1981-82) and Ohio State University ('88-90) ... Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers is from Cambridge, Ohio, and coached at Ohio State University from 1982-83 ... Packers secondary-safeties coach Darren Perry was on the Bengals coaching staff in 2002 ... Bengals assistant strength and conditioning coach Jeff Friday is from Milwaukee, Wis., and attended the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee ... Packers C Corey Linsley played at Ohio State University ... Packers WR Randall Cobb played at the University of Kentucky ... Bengals WR Jake Kumerow (Reserve/Injured) played at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater ... Packers DT Izaah Lunsford (practice squad) is from Cincinnati (Shroder Paideia High School) and played at Bowling Green State University ... Bengals CB Sojourn Shelton (practice squad) played at the University of Wisconsin ... Packers secondary-cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt Jr. coached at Louisville from 2003-06.
Bengals career records watch: Here is a look at potential upcoming movement in the Bengals' career records book (regular-season).
● QB Andy Dalton has 22,608 career passing yards, 86 shy of QB Carson Palmer (22,694) for third place all-time. QB Ken Anderson (32,838) is the Bengals' all-time leader.
● Dalton also has 21 career 300-yard passing games, two shy of the Bengals' all-time leader, QB Boomer Esiason (23).
● Dalton also has 1956 career completions, 59 shy of Esiason (2015) for third place all-time. Anderson (2654) is the Bengals' all-time leader.
● Dalton also has 3126 career passing attempts, 91 shy of Palmer (3217) for third place all-time. Anderson (4475) is the Bengals' all-time leader.
● Dalton also has 142 career TD passes, 12 shy of Palmer (154) for third place all-time. Anderson (197) is the Bengals' all-time leader.
● WR A.J. Green has 49 career TDs, four shy of WR Isaac Curtis (53) for fifth place all-time. FB Pete Johnson (70) is the Bengals' all-time leader.
● Green also has 49 career receiving TDs, four shy of WR Isaac Curtis (53) for third place all-time. WR Chad Johnson (66) is the Bengals' all-time leader.
● Green also has 491 career receptions, 16 shy of WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh (507) for third place all-time. Johnson (751) is the Bengals' all-time leader.
● Green has 28 career 100-yard receiving games, three shy of the Bengals' all-time leader, WR Chad Johnson (31).
● HB Jeremy Hill has 29 career rushing TDs, eight shy of HB James Brooks and FB Larry Kinnebrew (37 each) for fourth place all-time. Bengals FB Pete Johnson (64) is the all-time leader.
● P Kevin Huber has 27,944 career punting yards, 1363 shy of P Pat McInally (29,307) for second place all-time. P Lee Johnson (32,196) is the Bengals' all-time leader.
● CB Adam Jones has 1025 career punt return yards, 176 shy of CB Lemar Parrish (1201) for third place all-time. WR Brandon Tate (1411) is the Bengals' all-time leader.
● Jones also has one career punt return for a TD. One more would tie him
for second-most all-time with WR Peter Warrick, WR Craig Yeast and CB Mitchell Price (each with two). Parrish (four) is the Bengals' all-time leader.**
● DE Carlos Dunlap has 57 career sacks, two shy of DE Ross Browner (59) for third place all-time. DE Eddie Edwards (83.5) is the Bengals' all-time leader.
● DT Geno Atkins has 55 career sacks, two shy of DE Carlos Dunlap (57) for fourth place all-time and four shy of Browner (59) for third place. Edwards (83.5) is the Bengals' all-time leader.