For the second week in a row, the Seattle Seahawks will take on a 2012 AFC South playoff team on the road. After a huge comeback victory over the Houston Texans, Seattle will have to beat the Indianapolis Colts Sunday morning to maintain its perfect start to the season.
The Seahawks won’t be looking ahead past a tough Colts team, but the schedule softens up quite a bit after this weekend. Four very winnable games follow before a Week 10 showdown in Atlanta. As such, this shapes up to be the most important game for Seattle for a while. A win could not only give the Seahawks a big cushion in the division over the San Francisco 49ers, but put them in a good position to have the best record in the NFC.
To get that cushion, they’ll have to stop the newly-founded tandem of Andrew Luck and Trent Richardson and get past what has been a stout Colts’ defense the past two weeks. Indianapolis sits at 3-1 on the season, including an impressive blowout on the road in San Francisco.
The Colts certainly have the potential to cause some matchup problems for the Seahawks. Indianapolis is rushing for over 150 yards per game, fourth in the NFL. If there’s any weakness to Seattle’s defense this year, it’s against the run, as the Seahawks are surrendering 109 yards per game on the ground. Ahmad Bradshaw is doubtful to play with a neck injury, but Richardson is only going to get better as he gets more time practicing with the Colts.
Fortunately for the Seahawks, they should be able to use the exact same advantage on the offensive side. The Colts have been very effective against the pass, shutting down Colin Kaepernick two weeks ago, but are right around league average against the run. Marshawn Lynch and company have been a top five rushing unit again so far. Couple that with an injured offensive line that looked shaky in pass protection a week ago, and you can expect the Seahawks to rely heavily on the ground game.
Luck is off to a solid start, but hasn’t been putting up huge yardage numbers, as he isn’t throwing far downfield often. Instead, Luck will look for Reggie Wayne in more middle range passes, and try to get the ball to T.Y. Hilton. The Seahawks should have the speed at linebacker to contain Hilton, but can’t allow him to get into the second level often, as that will result in the best opportunity for Indianapolis to get big plays.
This game figures to be close throughout and could easily come down to a turnover. The Colts are averaging less than one turnover per game, and the Seahawks have forced the most turnovers per game in the NFL this year. Something has to give, and whatever does will likely decide who wins.
Michael Bennett’s back injury doesn’t appear as serious as it looked, but he is doubtful to see the field against Indianapolis.
Bruce Irvin will play in his first game all season after serving a four-game suspension.
Photo Credit: Elaine Thompson / Associated Press
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