Cincinnati Bengals vs. Seattle Seahawks Pick ATS
Cincinnati Bengals (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS) vs. Seattle Seahawks (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS)
NFL Week 1
Date/Time: Sunday, September 8, 2019 at 4:05PM EDT
Where: CenturyLink Field, Seattle, Washington
by Loot Levinson, Expert Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: CIN +9.5/SEA -9.5(BetNow)
Over/Under Total: 43.5
The Cincinnati Bengals come up to the Pacific Northwest to battle the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday afternoon in an NFL week one matchup. Seattle is looking to take a step forward after surpassing expectations last season with a 10-win campaign. They get their season-opener at home against a Bengals team looking to start anew after a rough patch the last few seasons. With new head coach Zac Taylor, they have a tough first act as they try to turn the page, facing a tough game in surroundings in which they are generally unfamiliar. Are they in over their heads against an up-and-coming Seattle squad? Or is this a spot where they can be competitive or at the very least take a run at this big point spread?
The Right Role for the Seahawks?
Not to question the abundant issues surrounding the Bengals or the upside of Seattle, but it’s hard to love Seattle as the big favorite. That might apply more from a traditional sense, or in the Carroll era. And while they’re not the grind-it-out team they were several seasons ago, they’re not the most-desirable big fave. Their 5-7 record when home-favorites of 7 or more points in the past three seasons isn’t so dire perhaps, but it tells part of the story. We might have an idea of what Cincinnati will look like this season, but we don’t know. It’s almost difficult to think of two teams that have less of a connection than Seattle and Cincinnati, as they have virtually no relevant shared history. If the Bengals are at least somewhere close to being on the right track, this might be a tough number to cover for Seattle.
Right Spot for the Seattle Offense?
Russell Wilson is still great and has become a larger force aerially. The combination of Chris Carson and Rashad Penny provides a 1-2 running back punch that offers a lot of promise. They might be at their best in that regard since the glory days of Marshawn Lynch. One of the issues that makes it really hard to cover big spreads is their still-dicey offensive line. Center Justin Britt and Duane Brown at LT are good, but it’s pretty subpar elsewhere. But Carson and Penny will still produce. The ‘Hawks come into this game already battered with injuries in the pass-catching corps, with Tyler Lockett the only reliable receiver in rotation at the moment. With no real pass-catching tight end, a less-than-ideal number-one receiver in Lockett, and one of the worst offensive lines in the conference, this offense might not be ready to hit the ground running.
Decent Matchup for the Cincy Defense?
I think we should see the Bengals make better use of their D-line this season and this would be an excellent place to start, against this Seattle O-line. They wield two tremendous linemen in Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap. A healthy Carl Lawson (questionable) would lend even more hope and pass-rushing. Sam Hubbard could add to this group. They’re not great in the middle, led at linebacker by Preston Brown. They were terrible against the pass last year, but the new coaching staff has a lot of talent with which to work, including William Jackson, Dre Kirkpatrick, and some draft picks that could pay off. And even if they aren’t that great, this isn’t an air-attack they’re facing that figures to all that powerful in week one. While new head coach Zac Taylor is an offensive guy, a lot of people are talking about how good this “D” looks under Lou Anurumo.
Tough Spot for the Cincinnati Offense
In a venue they don’t know, playing a tough defense, we’ll see if coach Taylor’s offense will be able to get off to a fast start. It won’t be easy. It’s hard to think of a tougher place to play, especially for an offense trying to find its bearings. And this Seattle “D” has really developed ahead of schedule. This is despite mass departures from a defense that was the best of its time. The secondary is young, but impactful with corners Tre Flowers and Shaquill Griffin, with safeties Tedric Thompson and Bradley McDougald. Linebackers Bobby Wagner, KJ Wright, and Mychal Kendricks are an excellent trio, with Wagner maybe the best in the business. Losing Frank Clark hurt up-front, but Ziggy Ansah, Quinton Jefferson, Al Woods, and Poona Ford should be able to succeed in this game.
The issues with the Bengals’ offense starts up-front. They weren’t even that great when they had a healthy Jonah Williams. But he’s on IR, and Clint Bolling called it quits. That leaves Cordy Glenn (questionable), second-year center Billy Price, and a lot of rift-raft that could be easy-pickings for the pumped-up home Seattle defense. Andy Dalton should benefit from Taylor’s quarterback-friendly offense, but we’ll see if he has what he needs around him to succeed. Rookie back Rodney Anderson is now injured, as is John Ross and Tyler Eifert. Receiver AJ Green won’t be available until later in September. That leaves them with Joe Mixon and Tyler Boyd as their main artillery in this game. While those other players are questionable, they are also not at full-power. And they have less to lose. Without their most significant contributor in Green and a complimentary piece or two, along with that line, what will they be able to come up with?
Take the Points
I get it—Cincy probably stinks. And this is a tough spot for them—definitely, in the top five stadiums, you’d figure they would not thrive. I just think the new leadership will help open up the Cincy offense some. And I look for the “D” to improve, as well. They match up well on the line-of-scrimmage with Seattle. In addition, they won’t be facing a lot of aerial weapons. I think it all adds up to the Bengals eking out a cover on the road in week one.
Loot’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I’m betting on the Cincinnati Bengals plus 9.5 points.
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