Bengals: 3 Keys to Victory Against the Seahawks


Oct 4, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) against the Kansas City Chiefs at Paul Brown Stadium. The Bengals won 36-21. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

1. Pressure and contain Russell Wilson

Andy Dalton has been a top-10 quarterback this season, but Russell Wilson is one of the league’s top signal-callers, as well.

Despite Wilson’s success, his offensive line is one of the NFL’s worst. Wilson has been sacked 18 times in just four games, and Cincinnati’s defensive line has sacked 11 quarterbacks in just as many games. With a loaded line featuring Geno Atkins, Carlos Dunlap and Michael Johnson, the Bengals should be able to pressure Wilson all game long.

The key, along with sending pressure, is to contain Wilson and keep him in the pocket. The Seahawks’ quarterback averages over 40 rushing yards per game, so the Bengals will need to try and do their best job of containing him. If Cincinnati can send pressure while ensuring that Wilson doesn’t scramble, the Bengals should be in a good position to win on Sunday.

2. Pound the rock

Oct 4, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals running back Jeremy Hill (32) scores a touchdown against the Kansas City Chiefs at Paul Brown Stadium. The Bengals won 36-21. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Aside from scoring five rushing touchdowns, Jeremy Hill has struggled throughout the season. He’s only averaging 3.3 yards per carry and only has 163 rushing yards on the season. Even as a backup in 2014, Hill started the season better than he’s been doing this season.

With Giovani Bernard performing much better than the second-year back, Hill’s spot atop the depth chart was thought by many to be in jeopardy. However, Cincinnati is confident in Hill and will give him plenty of carries.

The key for Cincinnati is to have faith in Hill; with more carries, Hill will have more splash plays. He’s a dynamic playmaker who always stems to find a key hole at some point of each game. Cincinnati needs to relentlessly run the football, giving both Hill and Bernard a high volume of carries. If given the carries, at least one of the two backs will get it done.

Seattle has a stingy defense that makes plays against both the run and the pass, but establishing the ground game is crucial. Gaining yards on the ground will open up play action, give Jeremy Hill confidence and wear down Seattle on defense. Pounding the rock will be key on Sunday.

3. Win the battle of field position

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A large and underrated part of the Bengals’ success has been Cincinnati’s consistent ability to win the field position battle.

Kevin Huber has been the NFL’s best punter in 2015, earning a nod on our quarter pole All-NFL Team. Huber consistently pins opponents inside of the 20-yard line and gives the defense space, allowing Paul Guenther to dial up blitzes, drop guys into coverage and confuse opposing offenses.

However, the Bengals’ special teams unit will be facing its biggest test of 2015. Another guy on our All-NFL team as of the quarter pole is Tyler Lockett, the Seahawks’ speedy rookie returner. He’s returned both a kickoff and a punt for a touchdown, so shutting down Lockett will be crucial for Cincinnati.

If the Bengals can force Seattle to move the ball all the way down the field, they’ll have a much easier time on defense. In return, the offense will have better starting position and could score more points as a result.

I have the Bengals winning this game 27-19, but if Cincinnati fails to do all–or even one–of these things, the Bengals could be in trouble. Cincinnati has played fantastic football in 2015, and the Bengals are a great team. Cincinnati is finally getting recognition for its success; the Bengals are favored to win this game. Here’s to hoping that the Bengals can continue their success continues in Week 5.

For game live-tweeting, Bengals news and more, be sure to follow me on Twitter @HoweNFL. I can talk football all day, and I’d be glad to hear your thoughts on this game. WhoDey!

Next: NFL Week 5 Game-by-Game Predictions