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Week 5 Cincinnati Bengals vs Seattle Seahawks: 5 key Bengals To Watch

This week was probably circled on the calendars of just about every Bengals fan there is. It's time to see how we stack up against a team whose success has been unparalleled over the past two years.

The best way to neutralize the Seahawks all-world secondary is to hit them with a 240 lb. battering ram.
The best way to neutralize the Seahawks all-world secondary is to hit them with a 240 lb. battering ram.
Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

With a quarter of the season down, the Bengals are flying high. Andy Dalton is in the MVP conversation (If you would've told me this is a sentence I would type before the season, I would've spat whatever I was drinking all over you). The defensive line is playing at a high level, all of the Bengals' offensive weapons are clicking... It truly is a good time to be a Bengals fan. With all of that said, every compliment the Bengals receive is backhanded. If someone compliments the team, they follow it up with an "until January." The same goes for Dalton. This week is as good of an opportunity as the Bengals will have to prove they're legitimate contenders before the playoffs.

As I said about the Seahawks in my preseason preview of this game, they have been the most dominant team in the NFL over the past two seasons, and many of those pieces remain in place. Granted, I wouldn't have expected them to be 2-2 at this point, with those two wins coming over a Jimmy Clausen-led Bears team and the 0-4 Lions with help from the refs are not really impressive either. Despite their shortcomings up to this point, there is still a ton of talent on this team and they are still very respected around the league and the media.

This is a big chance for the Bengals to make a name for themselves and these players will be key in making that happen. As usual, Andy Dalton is not a part of this roundup; it would be cheating because I could put him on the list every single week.

1) Tyler Eifert

After a monster Week 1, Eifert has come back to Earth, tallying just seven catches for 118 yards over the past three weeks, including a goose egg against Baltimore. This isn't necessarily a slight against him as the offense has featured a different guy going off each week. Regardless, I think it's about that time again. With Kam Chancellor back in the mix, it is important to get deep passing plays to keep Chancellor from crowding the box. What better way to do that than to run a 6'6" tight end at him all day? Obviously, Chancellor and Earl Thomas are just about as good as it gets, so Eifert may not have a huge statistical day reminiscent of Week 1. However, making those two focus on him will benefit the offense elsewhere.

2) Vincent Rey

Vinny has been mostly solid this year. There have been some tackling issues, but he hasn't been as egregious as some of his counterparts, especially last week against the Chiefs. Any way you slice it, a linebacker who has been on the field for 276 out of 279 snaps (98.9%) is going to be important. That importance is compounded when facing a mobile quarterback like Russell Wilson. It'll be Rey who is responsible for getting the defense into the proper alignments to contain Wilson, and with the majority of the Bengals' other linebackers being primarily run-stoppers, it could be his responsibility to personally contain Wilson as well.

3) Domata Peko

The Seahawks are going to try to run the ball, whether it's Marshawn Lynch, Fred Jackson, Russell Wilson, or whoever else. They are ninth in the league with 117 attempts and they average 4.4 yards per carry as a team. However, this is not an unstoppable rushing attack. Russell Wilson is the team's leading rusher with 177 yards, while Marshawn Lynch has 128 and Thomas Rawls has 157. And, the Seahawks own a grand total of zero rushing touchdowns this season. If the Bengals want that number to remain the same, Domata Peko will have to play well. By PFF's metrics, my eyes, and traditional stats, Peko has stepped up his play this year. His ability to absorb blocks and draw the attention of the offensive line will be key to allowing the rest of the defense to neutralize Seattle's rushing attack.

4) Andre Smith

He was here last week, and he's back this week. Despite a decent showing against Justin Houston last week, Smith has been shaky this year. We know that speed rushers give him problems at times and there will be times that he is responsible for Bruce Irvin. Typically, he'll be responsible for Michael Bennett who is no slouch either. Both of those players are capable of changing the game with a handful of plays. Big Smitty cannot let that happen.

5) Jeremy Hill

The most frequent guest in this weekly article, I am still waiting for him to bust out. I think his success will be an absolute necessity this week. I know Andy Dalton has been playing great, but that Seattle secondary scares the hell out of me. The Seattle defense is good everywhere, but the secondary is otherworldly based on pure talent. If Hill can go berserk, that secondary won't matter much. If he's constantly breaking into the second or third level, the Seahawks' defensive backs will start getting tired of tackling a 240 pound running back.