Sometimes it’s easy to assume that the Green Bay Packers will be just fine as long as prolific quarterback Aaron Rodgers is at the controls. Last season, the team was battered at running back and cornerback. But thanks to the play of a signal-caller that produced an NFL-best 40 touchdown passes, Mike McCarthy’s team came within one victory of representing the NFC in Super Bowl LI. Of course, it did not turn out that way as the Green Bay defense looked loss in the NFC title game vs. the Atlanta Falcons. A week ago, the Packers once again fell to the Falcons and their defense still can’t cover talented wide receiver Julio Jones.

But the real issues for Green Bay last Sunday was the fact that both of the team’s starting offensive tackles were out of action. So will we see left side blocker David Bakhtiari and right tackle Bryan Bulaga when the Pack hosts the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday afternoon?


Last week at Atlanta, Kyle Murphy and Justin McCray were the Green Bay Packers starters at left and right tackle, respectively. By game’s end, McCarthy’s team finished with only 59 yards rushing on 59 carries and Rodgers was sacked three times. The Pack made it somewhat interesting with a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns but still came out on the short end of a 34-23 verdict. “We kept fighting,” explained Murphy to Wes Hodkiewicz of following last Sunday’s loss to the Atlanta Falcons.

“Nobody looked back. Everyone kept moving forward and believed we could still win the game.”

It did not work out that way. And it appears that Murphy will get the start again on Sunday against the Bengals as Bakhtiari has not practiced this week. Meanwhile, it appears that Bulaga is ready to return this Sunday…and not a moment too soon.

Key matchups

When the Green Bay Packers and Cincinnati Bengals collide this weekend, a lot of eyes will be on McCarthy’s offensive line and whether Aaron Rodgers will get more time this week. If Murphy starts at left tackles, he draws veteran defensive end Michael Johnson. He missed last Thursday night’s tilt with the Houston Texans (concussion, stinger) but was a full participant in practice on Friday.

On the other side, Bulaga and standout pass rusher Carlos Dunlap is a battle worth watching. The latter has totaled five tackles this season. But we are also taking about a player with a combined 57 sacks and 15 forced fumbles in the midst of his eighth NFL season. This is an encounter in the trenches worth watching.