If Zac Taylor was looking for a powderpuff matchup to start his NFL head coaching career, he definitely didn’t get it from the NFL schedule-makers. Playing in Seattle at CenturyLink Field is about as tough as it comes for a Week 1 clash, be it from the lengthy travel out west and/or the noise in the stadium.
The oddsmakers have the deck predictably stacked against the Bengals this week, as a team in transition suffering important injuries seem to have a tall task on the road. However, there may be a couple of key areas in the contest that the underdog Bengals could exploit and sneak away with an unlikely victory.
Among many other valuable pieces of insight, Brandon Schulze from SB Nation’s Field Gulls site and their podcast(s) joined us on The Orange and Black Insider and noted something that could play into Cincinnati’s hands. Be it from players missing from the lineup, or Taylor’s willingness to commit to the run, Joe Mixon, Giovani Bernard and Samaje Perine could have a collective big day this Sunday.
When asked about a specific matchup he’s worried about between the clubs, Schulze responded with: “I’d have to say the running game”. He mentioned the talent of the Bengals’ backs, but also some things from the Seattle sideline.
“The Seahawks spent some time in the offseason really trying to shore up that defensive line because they got beat a lot last year in the run game. And, they went out and brought in AL Woods from the Colts, they elevated Poona Ford to the starting team, but Jarran Reed is out on suspension for the first six games,” Schulze said.
For those wondering, Reed had an outstanding year for the Seahawks last year. He notched 10.5 sacks and was beginning to rise to stardom in 2019 before the league suspended him for violating the personal conduct policy.
“He’s (Reed) kind of your Pro Bowl-level interior lineman that the Seahawks are not going to have,” Schulze continued. “I saw you guys (the Bengals) picked up Samaje Perine off of waivers, I like him, and I can see the Bengals going heavy dosage of run—especially on the road. If the Seahawks haven’t gotten those run issues fixed—we saw it with the starting unit of the Denver Broncos in Week 1 of the preseason, as Phillip Lindsay just ran right down the field on their very first drive—so, that’s going to be something I’ll be watching.”
Ironically, it was Week 1 of the 2018 regular season in which Denver ran for 146 yards on 32 carries to upset Seattle. The Bengals will be looking for a similar performance on Sunday, though that’s easier said than done when playing at Seattle.
Schulze mentioning the venue is an interesting facet to note, as that doesn’t usually play into the hands of the visiting team. However, if the Bengals’ embattled offensive line is able to impose their will and the committee of talented backs attack the Reed-less area of the Seahawks defense, they may gain surprising control of the contest.
And, as we know, nothing takes a home crowd out of the game with the constant moving of chains via the ground game. Mixon is looking to become a household name after leading the AFC in rushing yards last year, while Bernard may be poised for a larger role on offense because of a recent contract extension.
Schulze discussed a number of facets about the Seahawks team over his 20 minutes with us, so be sure to click the video and/or audio for the rest of it.
Also on this week’s show:
- What are the pros and cons with Giovani Bernard’s third contract with the Bengals?
- What are the impressions of the 53-man roster, as it is currently comprised?
- What impacts could the newest Bengals—Pharoh Cooper and Samaje Perine—have on the club this year?
- Now that the roster is set, how do we see the season playing out, from a record perspective?
Our thanks to Brandan Schulze, the live listeners who tuned in for the recording and to all of you who downloaded the show! Also, we have found a solution to the live streaming issues we had recently, so we hope you once again enjoy the high-level quality programming you’ve been accustomed to from us!
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