Following an early bye week, the Seahawks head to Cincinnati this weekend to face the Bengals in just the third meeting between these teams in the Queen City this century. The Seahawks are looking to continue their momentum, having won three straight before the bye, while the Bengals, who earned a much-needed win last week after a 1-3 start, are looking to get on a roll after a slow start, much like they did last season when, after a 2-3 start, they went on to finish the year with a 12-4 record.
To get you ready for this weekend's game, we reached out to Bengals.com senior reporter Geoff Hobson with five questions about this week's opponent:
It was a slow offensive start to the season for the Bengals with an injured Joe Burrow, but he and the offense had big days Sunday. Are the injury concerns now a thing of the past/is Burrow back to his old self?
Hobson: That's the hope. Given that it's a soft tissue injury and not anything that can be fixed by surgery or medication, there's always the fear of a re-tweak. But he seems to be past that and the sense is, if anything, it is getting stronger. They get a bye after this one, which should put him over the top.
After three losses in their first four games, how big was last week's win for the Bengals, and does a team that was a lot of people's AFC favorite feel like it's back on track?
Hobson: Big. Huge. Ginormous. But they've been here before. Last year they were 0-2, 2-3 and 4-4 and won ten straight into the AFC title game. So they've got this one game at a time thing down pretty well. They know what the track looks like.
With six interceptions and eight takeaways, the Bengals rank in the top 10 in both categories; how big has the defense been in keeping them in games as the offense found its way?
Hobson: Best defense no one knows. It's been the spine of back-to-back AFC North titles. Last week was the first game since late November that the Bengals scored 30 points, so this is a continuation of how they won games last year. During the winning streak, they went seven straight games with at least one fourth-quarter turnover.
Outside of the obvious big names, what player(s) could be an X-factor for the Bengals in this game?
Hobson: Keep an eye on backup wide receiver Trenton Irwin, active because rookie wide receiver/punt returner Charlie Jones is on injured reserve. When Tee Higgins couldn't play last week, he emerged to make a career-high eight catches for 60 yards while adding punt returns of 28 and 21 yards. That's an interesting matchup against Seattle's top-ranked punt coverage team.
What matchup or matchups are you most looking forward to seeing play out on Sunday?
Hobson: Hate to be Mr. Obvious, but it as to be the pitched battle between two of the last three No. 5 picks, Bengals Pro Bowl wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase, the reigning AFC Offensive Player of the Week, against Seattle rookie cornerback Devon Witherspoon, a NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate and the NFC Defensive Player of the Week last week.
Burrow vs. Geno Smith is intriguing. Since 2022, they are two of the four quarterbacks who have at least four games of 300 yards passing on 75 percent passing. It could shape up to be an interesting battle of prolific efficiency in a building where Geno had a rough game as a rookie in 2013. He threw pick-sixes to Adam Jones and Chris Crocker in the Jets' 49-9 loss.
The Seahawks and Bengals face off on Sunday, Oct. 15, 2023. Kickoff is set for 10:00 a.m. PT. Take a look back through history at the Seahawks' matchups against the Bengals.