Seahawks Insider

Morning links: 5 keys for Hawks vs. Bengals

Post by Eric Williams on Oct. 30, 2011 at 6:44 am with 9 Comments »
October 30, 2011 6:44 am

Good morning. It looks as if the weather will play a role in today’s game, with a steady rain likely throughout the day. So expect a wet one if you’re headed out to CenturyLink Field for the game this afternoon.

That said, here’s five keys for the Seattle Seahawks as they begin a stretch of six of their last 10 games at home.

Win the turnover battle: Sticking with our weather theme, taking care of the ball will be important today under wet conditions. Seattle is 2-0 so far this season when they have a plus turnover ratio. Cincinnati has a +3 turnover ratio, so the Bengals do a good job of taking care of the ball. However, rookie Andy Dalton could be pressured into some mistakes if Seattle’s defense can make him uncomfortable.

Miller time: Seattle gets a key part of its offense back with tight end Zach Miller returning to action after sitting last week because of a concussion. The Seahawks have worked hard to get the ball to the tight end the past couple weeks, but drops and inaccurate throws have plagued them. However, expect Seattle to look for Miller early and often.

A competent Jackson: Tarvaris Jackson (strained pectoral muscle) will be a game-time decision, but I expect he’ll play today. What he doesn’t need to do is put on a Superman cape and pass for 400 yards and four touchdowns. If Jackson does get the start, all he needs to do is make the plays in front of him, put some points on the board and not turn the ball over. Also, expect a return to more up-tempo play and the no-huddle offense with Jackson on the field, who has a better command of the offense than Charlie Whitehurst.

A healthy Lynch: The Seahawks saw how valuable Marshawn Lynch is to the offense when he did not play against Cleveland. Seattle needs the hard runner to ignite the running game, takes pressure off Jackson and the defense by helping to control the clock with a consistent running game.

No big plays: Rookie Richard Sherman will have his hands full matching up with Cincinnati big receiver A.J. Green. But Seattle likely will give him help over the top with safeties Earl Thomas or Kam Chancellor. The Seahawks have given up just 16 passing plays of 20 yards or more, tied for seventh overall in the league.

Dave Boling of The News Tribune writes if the Seahawks lose this one to Cincinnati they can pretty much kiss their playoff hopes goodbye.

Here’s my preview of today’s game, focusing on the Seahawks’ schedule turning in their favor down the stretch. Seattle finishes with six of 10 at home. Seattle also faces an easier schedule, with their opponents a combined 26-29.

Clare Farnsworth of takes a look at Seattle’s inconsistent play defensive on third down.

More Farnsworth: He previews the game here.

Christian Caple of gives us five things to watch for in today’s game.

Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times provides some keys to the game here.

Dan Pompei of the National Football Post says Cincinnati offensive lineman Andew Whitworth is the best offensive tackle in the game right now.

Morning links
Leave a comment Comments → 9
  1. I think the Seahawks are on the verge of becoming a really good, possibly great team. But for today I am concerned with how losing 2 of their best CBs will affect them and how effective Jackson can be coming off the injury with very little practice time over the past 3 weeks.

  2. Dukeshire says:

    I’m not terribly concerned about Tru and Thurmond being down. I’m really excited about Sherman and expect him to play well and am anxious to see if Browner can get back to his physical play. The PIs are brutal, but he needs to stay aggressive and not play on his heals as he began to do.

    I absolutely agree that Lynch running effectively today will be a major key. But, that is far easier aid than done against the Bengals. They are a very competent defense. O-line will have their work cut out for them.

  3. Palerydr says:

    Eric I agree with your keys and would add/change your point about the no huddle. The Hawks are avg 24 mns in TOP I would like the Offense to use some ball control and pile up some first downs to keep the Defense off the field. I agree with Pabuwal the corners today will be tested although they are going against rookies themselves(Dalton/Green) will be good to watch and see who can make some plays.

  4. Dukeshire says:

    Palerydr – That speaks to exactly what I dislike about the no huddle. Last week was a perfect example: when the offense isn’t moving the chains , all it does is give the defense less time to catch their breath. The no-huddle, the way Seattle uses it as opposed to the way the Colts do, really ought to be use sparingly. It’s no way to design a game plan, IMO.

  5. bird_spit says:

    Only thing missing today is the smell of snow in the air.. A near perfect day for football on the grass at Centurylink.

    Oh wait, nevermind.

  6. I disagree, Duke.

    When you have an offense as inept as the Seahawks do, and you’re able to get the defense in a bad situation, you attack as quickly as you can to wear them thin and gain yardage rather than giving them time to get set and plug the holes they left open on the last down.

  7. Dukeshire says:

    How’d that work last week? Sarcasm aside, I believe it’s far more important to not let the defense exchange personnel from down to down rather than run plays quickly. That is, the Colts (the Manning version) get to the line quickly, not allowing the defense to change packages, yet they still use the play clock to their advantage. This in effect, still gasses a defense. The old John Wooden, “Be quick without hurrying.” Seattle on the other hand gets to the line quickly and run plays quickly. This is a disaster if you’re not moving the chains, which they are inconsistent, at best. This is why I believe Seattle’s version and use of the no-huddle ought to be used sparingly. There is a place for it, but should not be a central focus of their game plan, IMO.

  8. I would agree that if we can get the running game going with Lynch, its better to wear the D down and eat clock. Still, the offense needs to get back to their quicker rhythm with Tarvaris.

    Agree with Eric putting turnovers and Zach Miller at the top of his keys. Everyone wanted to talk about Lynch last week, but missing Zach Miller meant we were missing BOTH our starting TEs. Miller should make a difference today in both running and passing game.

  9. I’ll be happy today if I see three things:
    – Tarvaris plays well and O gets its rhythm back.
    – Young Seahawks continue to improve, with Sherman seizing his opportunity.
    – 49ers lose.

    Of course we’ll be cheering for a Seahawks win too.

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