Your AFC North unbeaten team, the Andylievers, will face their toughest test yet, the mighty Seattle Seahawks (2-2). This is going to be a "clash of titans" in Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson's words. A great offense led by the double-headed monster of Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard, quarterback-turned Terminator Andy Dalton and star receivers A.J Green, Marvin Jones Jr. and Tyler Eifert. The Legion of Boom has Kam Chancellor back and Richard Sherman looking to prove his words from 2011 regarding Green.
I mean, if you are not excited about this game, I think you should start watching more cricket. This Week 5 matchup against two of the finest squads in the NFL however favors Cincinnati, given the fact they play in the Ohio River fortress and it is a 1:00 p.m. game. As everybody on the field will be key - I'm looking at you, Brandon Tate - I have picked some of the top Seattle players the Bengals will need to be uber-aware of come Sunday afternoon.
1) Cary Williams
We all know Richard Sherman is the number one cornerback on the Seahawks, but he stays on the left side, thus allowing the opponent to find another matchup for its best receivers. Remember A.J. Green burning the Ravens' safety up the seam from the slot? Williams is still adapting to the step-kick technique Seattle favors for their corners, but he has been a decent replacement for Byron Maxwell. The former Titans, Ravens and Eagles defender was targeted deep three times, and all of those passes were incomplete. Look for Cincy to keep moving their weapons so they test the "weakest" link of Pete Carroll's secondary.
The big 6'1" corner out of Washburn has only allowed one touchdown and it was to that guy Aaron Rodgers. What a shame.
2) Kam Chancellor
The Seahawks' locker room leader and one of their best 5 players is back and since his return they have only allowed one pass of 25+ yards after surrendering six in the first two weeks. With 20 passes of 20+ yards so far, the Bengals lead the NFL and Andy Dalton is posting the best yard per attempt of his career with 10.2. This means the strong safety from Virginia will be key to disrupting Cincinnati's offense, one of the best in the league. He is already making plays when it matters despite of some missed tackles, but what he brings to the team is far more valuable than just numbers. The entire Seattle defense looks more intimidating with this leader again on the field.
Look at former Seahawk Golden Tate's reaction.
He will be key in order to stop the Bengals' dynamic running game. Pro Football Focus gave him the highest coverage grade he's earned in more than a year against the Lions.
3) Justin Britt
The two-year former tackle out of Missouri is really struggling. He was unwatchable (or fun, if you were rooting for Detroit) on Monday and is having a nightmare season. Tom Cable's offensive line is one of the worst in the NFL, but that should surprise nobody given the fact that Seattle is one of the teams with least money invested in the unit. But Britt is the worst of them all, and Geno Atkins and Michael Johnson should feast on the left guard. Sacking Russell Wilson is easier said than done, but through Britt is the easiest way to get to him and the Bengals pass rushers have a golden ticket here.
You can see a full list of highlights from Britt and the offensive line that our friends at Field Gulls compiled here.
4) Russell Wilson
He is either helping his guys on the offensive line by extending the plays or scrambling for his life. Wilson has completed 76.3 percent of his passes when he stays in the pocket.
The trade that brought Jimmy Graham in from the Bayou this offseason gives him arguably much more help than he had last year. He is targeting his talented tight end 22% of times in 2015 and has gotten back to the style that made the Seahawks the Super Bowl champions, taking more shots downfield and increasing his "air yards". His sack rate when pressured has also increased and that has to do with a proportional decrease on play action fakes. Wilson is more dangerous now, and this is where Dre Kirkpatrick has to stay focused so the Seahawks' quarterback can't turn broken plays into big gains.
Some of those passes are risky, and Cincinnati has to take advantage.
The Bengals will need to be on top of their game against Seattle. They defend all three levels and are as tough as it gets in the NFL. This will be Andy Dalton's chance to show his four-game hot streak is no fluke.