Cincinnati Bengals: 4 questions about the Seahawks with 12th Man Rising
By Steve Rivera
I had an opportunity to ask 12th Man Rising Expert Lee Vowell about the Week 1 matchup between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Seattle Seahawks.
Week 1 is finally here. No more exhibition football with a vanilla offense, no more trying to figure out second and third-string players for the depth chart. Finally, Cincinnati Bengals head coach Zac Taylor will unveil what fans hope is a dynamic offense led by veteran quarterback Andy Dalton. The first opponent on the schedule is the Seattle Seahawks and quarterback Russell Wilson.
Week 1 is a lot of things. Most importantly is it’s the first time starters are on the field for more than a series or two. The opening week of the NFL season has become more about knocking off the rust than anything else, as we saw Thursday night between Green Bay and Chicago.
The Bengals will want to get off to a hot start. To do so, they have to find a way to beat a team not so long removed from back to back Super Bowl appearances and a quarterback on a Hall of Fame trajectory.
One more thing: they will have to win in perhaps the most difficult of all places. The 12th Man is notorious for being a deafening home-field advantage. For any NFL team, it is a tough assignment. In Week 1, it can be even tougher.
Stripe Hype – The NFC West looks to be a two-team race with the Rams and the Seahawks. In Week 1, fans get to see the surprise acquisition of the preseason in Jadeveon Clowney. How does he change the defense for Seattle and how does he impact the game against the Bengals?
12th Man Rising – What Clowney brings to the Seahawks is two-fold. Sure, he can get to the opposing quarterback though he hasn’t put up huge sacks numbers yet. And he might not in his (at least) one year stay in Seattle. If he can get to 9 sacks, however, that really helps. But more importantly. Clowney is great against the run and Seattle struggled there in 2018. Clowney helps Seattle’s pass rush and run defense and basically, if he stays healthy, improves the line enough where it is no longer a possible weakness.
Stripe Hype – Russell Wilson is perhaps the second-best quarterback in the NFL behind Tom Brady in New England. What can the Cincinnati Bengals expect from a Seahawks offense that can be explosive behind his running and throwing of the football?
12th Man Rising – The Seahawks offense should be good. We know the running game with Chris Carson running behind a massive offensive line should be successful. Wilson is great. But the biggest question about the offense is does he trust who he is throwing to? There is no more Doug Baldwin. Tyler Lockett will be a number one receiver for the first time in his career. Behind Lockett are only question marks and inexperience. If the three rookies in the receiving group can grow old rapidly, great. If not, Seattle’s offense will be more limited than expected.
Stripe Hype – Seattle was a team hanging around .500 a lot last season before a playoff push. Will they be closer to Los Angeles in 2019 or do you see the NFC West up for grabs?
12 Man Rising – The Rams are good. If Cooper Kupp had stayed healthy they probably beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl. That said, the Rams can be beat and Seattle almost got a win against them twice last season. Los Angeles is still the better team on paper, but if the Seahawks play their best against them Seattle can win. I still expect the Rams to win the division with Seattle right behind them.
Stripe Hype – Week 1 can catch teams off guard as a lot of starters rest in the preseason. Who wins and why?
12 Man Rising – You hit on a great point a lot of people don’t make. So many starters are rested during the preseason that they are almost rusty when the season begins so anything can happen. I still expect at home the Seahawks to win as their strengths, like the defensive line, match up well against the Bengals perceived weaknesses. But this is the NFL and on any given Sunday…I think the Seahawks win a close one 17-13.
Lee from 12th Man Rising likes a closer game than I do. I have the Cincinnati Bengals coming up short in Week 1, 30-16. That said, a season opener where starters haven’t had much if any time under game conditions can yield an upset. If Seattle is going to be upset at home, this is the game the Bengals could get an early-season win.