As the Seattle Seahawks prepare to face the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday in Seattle, they've got to be more than a little concerned about how their 31st ranked offensive unit will move the ball against the NFL's second best defense. Last week in Cleveland, the Seahawks could only manage one field goal against the Browns. This performance has been extremely disappointing thus far for a team that spent much of their off season attention revamping their offense.
Gone in free agency is quarterback Matt Hasselbeck who led the team for a decade including the franchise's only Super Bowl berth. In is former Minnesota Viking Tavaris Jackson. Jackson is battling a torn pectoral muscle which caused him to miss last week's game against Cleveland and will be a game time decision. If he can't go, Charlie Whitehurst will be back under center. The Seahawks also brought in Jackson's primary target in Minnesota, Sidney Rice, to go with Mike Williams and Golden Tate.
Thus far, the offense hasn't produced the spark the team was looking for. The passing game is ranked 28th and they are last in rushing the ball. Marshawn Lynch, who electrified the offense in their playoff win against the Saints, has struggled with back problems. He is also questionable for Sunday.
Pete Carroll also upgraded his offensive line by signing G Robert Gallery and TE Zach Miller from the Oakland Raiders. Miler, along with center Max Unger will also be game time decisions as to their playing status.
What's enabled the Seahawks to win two games is a stingy young defense. Like the Bengals, the Seahawks are short on star power but long on effort and teamwork. Seattle's defense is ranked 15th in the NFL and has been particularly tough against the run. With Cedric Benson out this week, Bernard Scott and Brian Leonard face a stiff test. The Seahawks formula is similar to Cincinnati's: a deep and athletic defensive line, which includes former Bengal Clinton McDonald.
The wild card in Sunday's matchup will be Leon Washington. The diminutive kick returner (and if Lynch is out, RB) has the ability to break one every time he touches the ball. The Bengals' special teams unit has excelled against the likes of Josh Cribbs, CJ Spiller, and Ted Ginn. They'll need to be on alert again Sunday.
Pete Carroll's team is at a crossroads. After being blown out the first two weeks, the Seahawks looked to be improving. Last week's game in Cleveland was most definitely a setback. The Bengals will get a first hand look at how they respond on Sunday.
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