The Seattle Seahawks take on the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 6 of the 2023 season. Seattle is 3-1 and their record should be about where most people expected. The Bengals have started slowly in recent years and this year is no different. That might mean the Bengals are even more dangerous in Week 6 as they tend to get better as seasons wear on.
This might not be a must-win victory for Seattle but the game could be for the 2-3 Bengals. The AFC is no joke and Cincinnati already is in last place in the AFC North. That could mean Cincinnati is the hungrier team.
Or Maybe Seattle has such as young roster that they just want to play football. That is the what head coach Pete Carroll likes and the culture he has built. Still, winning on the road is tough.
To get even more information on the Bengals in general and, specifically, the Seahawks versus Cincinnati in Week 6, I asked Leigh Oleszczak, Site Expert at FanSided's Bengals site, Stripe Hype, a few questions. Here are her answers, including that Kenneth Walker might be a big concern for Cincinnati.
Seattle Seahawks vs. Bengals Week 6 Q&A
Q: The Bengals are coming off two years of high-level success but have stumbled a bit to start 2023. What are some of the issues they might be having?
Leigh: The main issue was that Joe Burrow was dealing with a lingering calf injury and that impacted his ability to scramble and throw the ball down the field. He looked a lot better/healthier in their 34-20 win over Arizona, so fans are hoping that the team will look more like they have the past two years rather than what they looked like through the first four games.
Another issue has been the defensive performance, more specifically the run defense. They were gashed on the ground by four of the five teams they've faced and are missing tackles. It's uncharacteristic for Lou Anarumo's defense to look this shaky so that's definitely been a factor in the rough start as well.
Q: How have Bengals fans reacted to the 2-3 start and what kind of impact do you think they will make in Week 6?
Leigh: There are two types of Bengals fan amidst the 2-3 start.
One type is the "Oh we were in this same boat last year" because the Bengals were 2-3 after 5 games in 2022 and then went on to lose just one more game for the rest of the regular season. While I get that mentality, Burrow wasn't hurt last year and the defense had been performing MUCH better.
The other type of crowd is the panicking crowd. I think a lot of people stepped back from the edge a little bit after this recent win but after the Bengals got blown out by the Titans, fans were thinking the season was lost and that another playoff appearance wouldn't be in the cards this season.
Q: What is the Bengals' biggest strength? What is their biggest weakness?
Leigh: It's really hard to say because what version of the Bengals are we getting? Through the first four games, the biggest strength was honestly probably Evan McPherson, since he was the only one who was scoring points consistently. Through the first four games, the biggest weakness was the passing offense, which couldn't do anything. The run defense was also bad.
After the offensive explosion in Week 5, however, I'd say that the biggest strength was the passing offense, which found its groove. The biggest weakness for sure now is the run defense since they still struggled this week.
Q: Tee Higgins is in a walk-year in 2023, but hasn't played as well so far (and missed Week 5 with a rib injury). How does this get fixed and do the Bengals think they can keep Higgins long term?
Leigh: Now that the offense might have started clicking, Higgins should be able to bounce back and make up for a lackluster season so far. I'm not sure what the Bengals will do with Higgins long-term. Personally, I'd tag him and trade him so that they get something in exchange for him because teams will be interested in trading for him. I'm just not sure it's a smart financial decision to tie up a boatload of money in a quarterback and two receivers.
Q: Who do you think worries the Bengals the most on the Seahawks team both offensively and defensively?
Leigh: Offensively, it's got to be Kenneth Walker due to the Bengals' run defense woes. If he gets going, it could be a long day for this Bengals defense.
Defensively, I'd have to say Bobby Wagner or anyone who can break through the offensive line and disrupt Burrow. The offensive line has been shaky this year and we all saw what the Seattle pass-rush did to Daniel Jones and the Giants a few weeks ago.
Q: How do you see this game unfolding?
Leigh: It's so hard to answer this question when I don't know which version of the Bengals is going to show up. That being said, I predict the Bengals start slow while the Seahawks get off to a comfortable lead. The Bengals will find their stride in the second half but the Seahawks score a touchdown late in the fourth quarter to ice things.
Q: What must the Bengals do to win?
Leigh: The defense has to force turnovers and give the offense more opportunities to score points. The offense has to pick up where it left off last week and move the ball.
Q: What do you think the final score will be and why?
Leigh: When the schedules were first announced, I actually picked the Seahawks to beat Cincinnati in this game because they just seemed like a frisky team. I didn't expect Seattle to be 3-1 coming into this game though and that makes it even tougher to go against my original pick that I made. I'll go with a 24-20 Seahawks victory.