Last season, Seattle finished the season with a 10-6 record and made the playoffs for the sixth time in the past seven seasons. Although, their postseason run came to an abrupt end in the NFC Wild Card Round to the hands of the Dallas Cowboys.
Despite the loss, Seattle laid down the groundwork to becoming a run-oriented team once again, as they were when Marshawn Lynch was dragging defenders downfield. Instead of Lynch, though, Chris Carson is the main benefactor in the Seahawks backfield.
The second-year running back had a breakout season in 2018 with 1,151 yards and nine touchdowns. Along with Carson’s rushing ability, the team relied on Russell Wilson and Tyler Lockett in the passing attack.
The trio of Wilson, Carson, and Lockett make their return in 2019 but they will have some help this year. The Seahawks will incorporate rookie wide receiver D.K. Metcalf and second-year running back Rashaad Penny into the offense more.
On the other side, the Bengals will be beginning anew with Zac Taylor as their new head coach. Therefore, there is a sense of unfamiliarity with what Cincinnati looks like as a team.
With all of that being said, here are three bold predictions for the Seahawks in Week 1 versus the Bengals.
3. Seahawks Will Sack Andy Dalton Six Times
The Seahawks will have a new-look pass rush in 2019 with Frank Clark departing from the team this offseason. To replace him, the team has brought in Ezekiel Ansah, L.J. Collier, and Jadeveon Clowney.
Recently, the team was able to acquire Clowney from the Houston Texans for Jacob Martin, Barkevious Mingo, and a third-round pick. With the addition of Clowney, Seattle bolstered their defensive front with an elite pass rusher.
Along with Clowney, Ansah, and Collier, the Seahawks also have second-year defensive tackle Poona Ford in the trenches. The Seahawks pass rush coupled with the fact that Cincinnati has a hobbled offensive line, Andy Dalton may be running for his life on Sunday.
Last season, the Seahawks had 43 sacks as a team (12th most in the NFL). This year, Seattle will get off to a quick start with six sacks on Dalton this Sunday.
2. Carson Will Rush for 200 Yards
Contrary to what the majority of the NFL is doing, Seattle wants to impose their will and run the ball 50 times a game. Maybe not 50 times but as much as humanly possible.
The Seahawks rushing attack goes through Carson and he will be heavily involved from the first snap of the game on Sunday. That’s why the third-year rusher out of Oklahoma State will rush for 200 yards against the Bengals.
In 2018, the Bengals had the fourth-worst run defense, allowing 137.8 yards per game to their opponents. As for Carson, the bruising ball carrier’s career-high in rushing yards in a game is 122 against the Arizona Cardinals last year.
Cincinnati will have no answers for Carson on Sunday as he sets a new personal best for rushing yards in a game.
1. Seahawks Win the Game 34-10
The Seahawks come into Week 1 as the second-largest favorites to win their game behind the Philadelphia Eagles. Currently, Seattle is being projected to win by 9.5 points but to the dismay of Bengals fans; it will be much worse than that.
With A.J. Green out this week, Cincinnati will rely on Dalton getting the ball to Tyler Boyd and Joe Mixon. Aside from that, the Bengals don’t have many proven playmakers that cause a threat to the Seahawks.
On the other side, the Seahawks can control the game with their time-consuming rushing offense. At the same time, they will put up plenty of points to put away the Bengals early in this one.
In the end, Seattle will prove to be victorious on Sunday by the score of 34-10. Rookie head coach, Zac Taylor will have a warm welcome to the NFL in his first regular-season game.