When: Sunday, 1:15 p.m., CenturyLink Field
Record: 4-2 and tied for second in the AFC North coming off their bye week
Where they rank: No. 22 on offense (21st rushing, 20th passing); No. 2 on defense (5th rushing, 5th passing)
Series: Seahawks lead 9-8, including a 24-21 victory in Seattle in the last meeting on Sept., 23, 2007
Star power: Andy Dalton and A.J. Green. Or Green (fourth pick overall) and Dalton (third pick in the second round), if you go by the order they were acquired in April’s NFL Draft. Dalton, the pitcher, and Green, the catcher, have hooked up for touchdowns three times – including a 57-yarder in the Bengals’ Week 5 victory at Jacksonville. Dalton is completing 62.4 percent of his passes and has the best passer rating (84.3) of the rookie QBs in the league. Green is a big target (6-4, 207) and leads all rookie receivers – as well as the Bengals – in receptions (29), receiving yards (453) and TD catches (four).
Unsung hero: Andre Caldwell. When wide receiver Jordan Shipley went down for the season with a knee injury in the Week 2 loss at Denver, the Bengals were at a loss for who would replace his production. In stepped Caldwell, who caught a TD pass in that game and has 17 receptions for the season.
On the spot: The secondary. Say what? The Bengals’ No. 2-ranked defense is fifth in the league against the pass, allowing an average of 189 yards – which is more than the Seahawks’ passing game is averaging (182.8). But six of the 12 touchdowns allowed by the Bengals have been on pass plays, and four of those have gone for at least 25 yards – 74- and 52-yarders. The secondary also has just one interception. These are areas defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer was determined to improve during the team’s bye week.
Burning question: How much will the Bengals miss Cedric Benson? The Bengals’ leading rusher has been suspended for this game because he violated the league’s personal conduct policy. Benson has two 100-yard rushing efforts as part of his 458 yards. Bernard Scott will start against the Seahawks, and he is averaging 2.8 yards on 30 carries. He’ll be running into a Seahawks’ run defense that is allowing a league-best 3.2 yards per rushing attempt.
Number to know: 3, as in the Bengals’ three-game winning streak has come against opponents that had winning streaks against the Bengals. They had lost 10 in a row to the Bills before winning 23-20 in Week 4. They had not won in Jacksonville since 1995 before beating the Jaguars in Week 5. They hadn’t beaten the Colts in their past seven meetings before getting a 27-17 victory in Week 6. The Seahawks? The Bengals have lost their past three games in Seattle.
Familiar faces: CB Kelly Jennings was the Seahawks’ first-round draft choice in 2006 and started 43 games the past five seasons before being traded to the Bengals on Aug. 29. SS Taylor Mays played at O’Dea High School in Seattle.
The last word: “If I have to run 15, 20, 25 times, I’ll be ready. Let me run it 20 or 25 times and then decide if I can do it or not. Instead of just, ‘Oh, OK. He’s 195, 200 (pounds). I don’t think he can carry the load.” – Scott, to Bengals.com, on stepping in for Benson