I’ve got some serious doubts about the Seahawks’ chances against the Bengals on Sunday. I’m less concerned with it being a “short week”, or a 10am start, and more concerned with this game being on the road, and against a really good team.
The Seahawks’ road schedule this year is NOT doing us any favors. Outside of the division, we go to Green Bay, Cincy, Dallas, Minnesota, and Baltimore. And, the only reason why the Dallas game looks easy now is because Romo won’t be playing; otherwise, that’d be yet another shitbird to throw on the pile! Still, if we’re not careful, knowing that we already lost to the Rams and Packers, I could easily see us going 3-5 on the road this year; MAYBE 2-6 if we blow one of those in-between games against the Cowboys or Vikings. So, while I know the Bengals are in the AFC, and AFC losses don’t count like the other losses, I’d still say this one is pretty important for getting us to our goal of a first round playoff bye.
So, what do we have to look forward to? Well, Andy Dalton is playing the best football of his life through these first four weeks. 123.0 passer rating, 9 touchdowns against 1 interception (plus a rushing touchdown for good measure), only 2 sacks all damn year! I’d say he’s living a charmed life, which is pretty fortunate for him, considering many were predicting this would be the year he’d be supplanted as the Bengals’ starter. On top of that, all of his receivers are healthy, and all of his non-running back receivers are averaging at least 13 yards per reception. And, speaking of running backs, they’ve got two really good ones. When you factor in how good their offensive line is, they might have (quarterback aside) the greatest collection of offensive talent in the entire NFL.
Which is fine, when you consider the Seahawks might have the greatest collection of defensive talent in the entire NFL (or, at least the NFC), but our guys won’t be able to shut down their guys on every single drive like we’ve done for the past two weeks. Which means, our offense is going to have to try to do something against their defense.
The Bengals aren’t super impressive on defense – they’re 19th in yards per game – but they’re 9th in points per game, giving up only 19.3. Converting red zone opportunities into touchdowns as opposed to field goals will be the most important factor in determining this game’s outcome. And, of course, a big part of whether the Seahawks will be successful or not depends on how much time Russell Wilson will have to throw. Considering the Bengals are 6th in the league in sacks with 11 over four games, I’d say we’re in a wee bit o’ trouble. Carlos Dunlap, a defensive end, leads the team with 3.5 sacks. Geno Atkins, one of the best defensive tackles in the league, isn’t far behind with 3.0 sacks. These are the two guys who are going to cause the bulk of the damage, and as such, will probably make our lives a living hell (remember how Aaron Donald and the other Rams D-linemen destroyed us in week 1).
I’m not giving the Seahawks much hope in this one. We’re going to need the O-line to take a mammoth step forward, and I just don’t think they have it in them right now. This game just smacks of being like a lot of our recent AFC road games. We’ll keep it close, sure. But, in the end, we won’t have the horses and we’ll fall to 2-3.