Once again the Bengals welcome in a team with a big name and a not so big season so far. The Seahawks have been the best in the NFC the past few years and with that, they carry well-earned respect. But, this is a different squad than the ones we watched in the Super Bowl. On Monday night we saw the Seahawks struggle against a winless Lions team who came within a couple feet of handing Seattle their third loss. So what needs to happen on Sunday for the Bengals to reach 5 - 0?
1. Pressure Wilson
Seattle currently has a terrible offensive line. Cincinnati has an outstanding defensive line. Mix the two and we should see the Bengals getting pressure and making Russell Wilson uncomfortable. Many are worried about the Bengals blitzing; this is a false worry. The true worry should be that pressure the Bengals are able to generate using their front four alone. This leaves the defense well equipped to cover QB scrambling and dump off passes. If the Bengals do this, they could essentially shut down Seattle's offense.
2. Cover Jimmy Graham
The main weakness of this Cincinnati defense is the short to intermediate underneath game. Quick hits, screens and broken plays have allowed opposing offense's the ability to extend drives against the Bengals. Jimmy Graham is a very talented tight end who can create a coverage nightmare scenario for the Bengals' linebackers.
3. Make smart decisions
The strength of this Seattle team is their defense. The secondary for the Seahawks is probably still the best in the NFL. What the Bengals and Andy Dalton need to avoid is being baited into making mistakes. These corners and safeties can cover and are opportunistic ball hawks who relish the opportunity for turnovers.
4. Stop the run
The Bengals should hold their own in the pass defense department. Where they could be affected is in the run game. If pressure is created, sometimes this allows for open lanes in the run game. This should be a lot easier to manage with Marshawn Lynch ruled out, Fred Jackson questionable and the running game likely being placed in the hands of undrafted rookie Thomas Rawls.
5. Make kicks
Sad this has to be one of the mentions, but it has become a necessity. As the Bengals face teams with better defenses, points could come at a premium. Ending drives with missed field goals or extra points is not something teams can do when faced with good competition. Add to that the morale lost when a team gets into position to score and comes up empty, and this could spell disaster in a game against a team like the Seahwaks.
Leave your thoughts in the comments, we will revisit these keys next week when the Bengals are hopefully celebrating a win and a continued undefeated season. WhoDey!