They’ve been on the road so much during the early portion of the season that the Seattle Seahawks may have forgotten what it’s like to have fans cheering for them at CenturyLink Field.
But with six of the Seahawks’ final 10 games at home, the schedule finally turns in their favor.
“Even when we’ve been there it seems like we’ve barely been there, so it’s great to come back,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. “Our place rocks. So hopefully we can make the plays to get them up off their seats and get them crazy about it, and that factor is there for us again. But this is a very, very special place to play. We know it and we want to rouse them up.”
The Seahawks are one of three teams (Kansas City and Philadelphia are the others) that have played only two home games at this point of the season. Carroll pushed the team hard last season to regain Seattle’s home advantage, finishing 5-3, the first time the Seahawks finished with a winning record at home since 2007.
The Seahawks are used to winning in front of the home crowd. Since 2002, the Seahawks are 62-36 (63.3 percent) at CenturyLink Field, the third-best home record in the league during that span.
“Definitely being at C-Link is a big advantage for us,” Seattle fullback Michael Robinson said. “I’ve been on the other sideline before and it’s hard to play here.
“But our philosophy here is we really don’t care where we play. We bring the same intensity every game. We wish we could have come out of those first six games with a little different record. But it’s definitely (an) advantage to us to have six of the next 10 at home.”
Although their focus on the road occasionally wavered, they can point to certain games where they found the right mix to be successful away from home, with the win against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium a prime example.
“It gave Pete a chance to put his philosophy into motion,” Robinson said. “It put some life behind the philosophy, because he was able to (talk) to us about us bringing the intensity wherever we go, and then we had to actually go out and do it.”
With a 2-4 record, the Seahawks sit three games behind division leader San Francisco (5-1) in the NFC West standings. But Seattle still has four games to play against NFC West opponents, including a Dec. 24 home date against the Niners.
And Seattle’s schedule gets easier down the stretch. Through the first six games, Seattle’s opponents had a combined 22-16 record (57.9 percent). Through the final 10 games, Seattle’s opponents have a combined 26-29 record (47.3 percent).
However, Seattle receiver Mike Williams understands that even if the home games look easier, the Seahawks still have to show up and get the job done on the field.
“What our crowd brings with the noise, they pose problems for our opponents,” Williams said. “That’s well-documented, and well-respected. But it always still falls back on us.
“We’ve got to give them a reason to cheer. Last (year) we had some games at home and we didn’t even show up for them. So just having a home game is just part of it. You still have to go out and play well.”
CINCINNATI (4-2) AT SEATTLE (2-4)
1:15 P.M., CENTURYLINK FIELD
TV: Ch. 7.
Radio: 710-AM, 97.3-FM.
The series: Seattle has a 9-8 edge in the regular season, and is 4-3 against Cincinnati at home. But the Bengals won the only postseason meeting when the Seahawks were an AFC team, a 21-13 setback for Seattle at Riverfront Stadium in a 1988 divisional round game. Seattle won the most recent meeting against the Bengals, 24-21, at CenturyLink Field in 2007.
What to watch: Quarterback Tarvaris Jackson (strained pectoral muscle) had his most extensive work in three weeks Friday, but still will be a game-time decision. If Jackson can’t go, Charlie Whitehurst will start his second straight game for the first time in his career. Richard Sherman, a rookie fifth-round draft pick out of Stanford, gets his first career start at cornerback in place of Walter Thurmond, who had ankle surgery and is done for the year. Former Seahawks cornerback Kelly Jennings plays against his old team for the first time since Seattle traded him to Cincinnati during training camp. The Seahawks face Cincinnati rookie quarterback Andy Dalton, whom the Seahawks seriously considered drafting with the team’s No. 25 overall pick. They elected to beef up the offensive line and chose James Carpenter instead. Dalton leads all rookies with a 62.4 completion percentage and an 84.3 passer rating.
THE PICK: Seahawks, 20-17.
7Tarvaris Jackson (QB)6-2/225sixth
Having its starting quarterback available should help spark the Seattle offense.
24 Marshawn Lynch (RB) 5-11/220fifth
His absence in the Cleveland game proved how valuable his running ability is to the offense.
25 Richard Sherman (CB) 6-3/195first
Bengals will target the rookie out of Stanford in his first career start
79 Red Bryant (DE) 6-4/323fourth
The Texas A&M product has emerged as the emotional leader of the defense.
No. Name (position) Ht./Wt.Year
14 Andy Dalton (QB) 6-2/220first
Rookie thrower’s resolve will be tested with the noise at CenturyLink Field.
28 Barnard Scott (RB) 5-10/198third
With Cedric Benson serving a one-game suspension, Scott gets his third career start.
97 Geno Atkins (DT) 6-1/300second
Georgia product has been one of Bengals’ most active defensive linemen.
29 Leon Hall (CB) 5-11/195fifth
Cincinnati’s top cover corner, Hall will be tested by the bigger Sidney Rice.
Eric D. Williams, staff writer