Tomorrow morning the Seahawks will face off against the Colts in Indy. The Hawks are looking to go 5-0 with a back to back road win. After the list of 2013 opponents for the Seahawks were released last year, I felt this match up should have warranted a primetime slot. You have the #1 pick of the 2013 draft in quarterback Andrew Luck, playing against the #75 pick of the same draft, quarterback Russell Wilson (#3). Both of whom led their teams to the playoffs in their debut. Instead, the Hawks get another “dreaded” 10:00 am (PST) kickoff to be broadcast on Fox.
The Colts offense is centered around Luck with future hall of fame wide receiver Reggie Wayne and newly acquired running back Trent Richardson. Even though the Colts have a great pocket passer in Luck, the team likes to pound the rock down the throats of their opponents. The Hawks defensive front will have to step up and own the line of scrimmage for all four quarters. I believe they are capable of limiting Richardson’s productivity. The Colts number two running back Ahmad Bradshaw will not be playing due to a neck injury. Richardson is going to have a long day ahead of him tomorrow.
Wayne is a great wide receiver and his counterpart on the other side of the field is wide receiver Darrius Heyward Bey. I like the match up with Heward Bey and Wayne against the physical play of the Legion of Boom. I would imagine the Colts will run a lot of plays with motion in order to create some separation at the time of the snap. The Hawks defense needs to watch out for second year tight end Coby Fleener who was drafted in the second round (34th overall) from Stanford. Obviously, Fleener and Luck have rapport stemming from their college career. Fleener has been targeted nineteen times this year and has caught two touchdowns.
The Seahawks get last year’s first round draft pick, defensive end/outside linebacker Bruce Irvin (#51), back this week from a four game suspension. Irvin has not been allowed to practice with the team during his suspension, so I would imagine he will get limited playing time tomorrow. The Seahawks pass rush stepped up in the second half last week in the stunning overtime win against the Houston Texans. I suspect the pass rush will flourish this Sunday against the Colts offensive line. The key will be to not allowing Luck to escape the pocket.
Luck is sneaky fast. At the NFL combine, he ran the 40 yard dash in 4.67 seconds. He stands 6′ 4″ tall and weighs 240 pounds. Not only can Luck be elusive, but he can pack a punch if he wants to when running the ball. In comparison, the Seahawks starting middle linebacker Bobby Wagner (#54) stands 6′ tall and weighs 240 pounds.
The Colts have only allowed two turnovers so far this season, both of which were interceptions. The Hawks will need to add to the Colts turnover stats this Sunday in order to get a win. Let’s see if Legion of Boom cornerback Richard Sherman (#25) can pick off his former college teammate.
On the offensive front, the Hawks lineman are still banged up. Right tackle Breno Giacomini (#68) is out due to recent knee surgery and center Max Unger (#60) is questionable with an arm injury. Quarterback Russell Wilson (#3) was able to barely survive the relentless pass rush of the Texans last week without Unger and Giacomini, but he also had tight end Zach Miller (#86). Miller is listed as questionable with a hamstring injury. Hopefully Miller can play, or else we may see Wilson scrambling for his life again this week. That is because the Colts have defensive end Robert Mathis who is tied for leading the NFL for total sacks this season with 7.5. If the offensive line can slow down Mathis, I would expect Wilson and his wide receiving corp to have a productive day.
Running back Marshawn Lynch (#24) should be able to run the ball against the Colts defense tomorrow. If Lynch can rush for over 100 yards, I think the Hawks will win the game.
Special teams player Jeremy Lane (#20) is probably not going to be on the field because of a hamstring injury. Lane is key in racing down the field on punts and tackling the opponent. He will be missed tomorrow. The Hawks can not give up a special teams touchdown because the margin of error is thin on the road. Punt returner Golden Tate (#81) is due for a big play, look for him to be a difference maker.
If the Hawks can get Lynch his 100 yards and the defense or special teams can create two turnovers, they will win this game. At the end of the day, I expect a low scoring game resulting in a Hawks victory over the Colts with a score of 19-17.