The Cincinnati Bengals will face off against the Seattle Seahawks in the season opener, where the Bengals are 3-1 in their last four season-opening games. Both teams will look awfully different on the defensive side of the ball.
Seattle comes into the season with a new face on defence, as newly acquired DE/OLB Jadeveon Clowney will make his first official appearance with the Seahawks. It will be a test for an offensive line that has struggled the past two seasons. The Bengals have added some much-needed depth to the O-line, so keeping Clowney contained will be a key to victory for the Bengals.
Both Seattle and Cinci will be looking to get the run game going, as the Seahawks were the best running team in the NFL last season, averaging 160 yards per game on the ground. Meanwhile, Joe Mixon was a force to be reckoned with, averaging nearly five yards a carry last season. He will have the ball in his hands a lot, especially considering the Bengals will not have AJ Green for the next six-to-eight weeks.
Cincinnati will be without a familiar face on defense, releasing one of their veteran linebackers, Vontaze Burfict. But the defensive front that contains the likes of Carlos Dunlap, Geno Atkins and Sam Hubbard is something to look forward to.
One other player to really look out for the Bengals is Tyler Boyd. He will be a heavy target for Andy Dalton, especially without his star wide receiver. Expect at least 10 or more targets thrown Boyd’s way.
The Bengals biggest key to victory is not letting the Hawks get their ground game going. If they can do that, as well as get Joe Mixon running the ball well and keep Dalton healthy, the Bengals could walk out of week one 1-0.