One of the best match-ups of the day is the Cincinnati Bengals (4-0) playing host to the defending NFC champion Seattle Seahawks (2-2). Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton is having one hell of a start to the 2015 season, and here’s a list of five reasons why we believe he can lead his Bengals to a win and improve to 5-0 today:
No Marshawn Lynch
Marshawn Lynch (hamstring) is set to miss his second straight game, and will be replaced by Thomas Rawls (Fred Jackson is listed as questionable). Rawls managed just 48 yards on 17 carries (2.8 YPC) against the Detroit Lions last Monday night, and will need to get off to a fast start against Cincy’s seventh-ranked run defense if he’d like to make an impact this afternoon.
Seattle’s Offense Has Struggled Through the Air
Putting the Lynch injury aside, Seattle has a decimated offensive line that has really struggled to keep quarterback Russell Wilson safe in the pocket. Seattle has allowed the second-most sacks this season (18) and currently ranks 20th in points scored.
Cincinnati’s passing game has been fantastic
The success of Seattle’s Legion of Boom defense has relied heavily on being able to put pressure on the quarterback and forcing turnovers. But so far this season the ‘Hawks have managed just six sacks (third-fewest in the league in front of only a handful of teams). Compare that to the fact that Dalton has only been sacked twice this year, and we could see plenty of time for the red-head to find open targets. The stout Seattle secondary is likely to limit A.J. Green’s production, but this could lead to a big game from TE Tyler Eifert.
The game is being played in Cincinnati
Seattle is always tough at home––always. Both victories in their current two-game win streak came at home, and both losses in Weeks 1 and 2 came on the road in St. Louis and Green Bay. In two home games so far in ’15, Cincinnati is putting up 30.0 points per game, and Dalton has a 16-2-1 record in his last 19 starts at home. The numbers are in Cincinnati’s favor, and numbers don’t often lie.
It’s obvious that the Bengals haven’t faced a defense as stacked as Seattle’s yet this season, but if they can put the ball into the end zone just a couple of times it may be enough to beat Pete Carroll’s struggling offense. The only team Seattle has soundly beaten this season is Chicago (26-0 shutout). Let’s not forget that 10 points was nearly enough for a Detroit upset a week ago. The ‘Hawks could just as easily be sitting at 1-3 right now.
Struggling offense+no Marshawn Lynch=a 17-10 Cincinnati victory at home.
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