America’s favorite football soap opera the Seattle Seahawks (1-2) returns home to CenturyLink Field for a prime-time matchup against the Indianapolis Colts (1-2). This game before the season started was supposed to be a battle of two of the NFL’s top quarterbacks in Russell Wilson and Andrew Luck. But, Luck is still on the recovery trail from shoulder surgery, leaving it to Jacoby Brissett to try and lead the Colts’ upset bid.
Seattle got its offense off the mat last Sunday at Nissan Stadium in a 33-27 loss to the Tennessee Titans. The Seahawks racked up 433 yards with 364 of those coming through the air. Running the football is still an issue as Chris Carson could not get rolling, managing just 34 yards on 11 carries. Defensively, it was the inability to once again get off the field that killed Seattle as Tennessee held the ball for nearly 33 minutes while running for 195 yards alone.
Indianapolis picked up its first win of the season against Cleveland last Sunday, beating the Browns 31-28 at home. The Colts got off to a fast start offensively by racing out to a 28-14 halftime lead. Brissett threw for 259 yards and one touchdown pass. T.Y. Hilton had a huge game, catching seven passes for 153 yards, including a 61-yard touchdown reception. Turnovers (+2 margin vs. Browns) and big plays are going to be critical if the Colts are going to win tonight.
Indianapolis at Seattle
Kickoff: Sunday, Oct. 1 at 8:30 p.m. ET
TV Channel: NBC
Spread: Seattle -14
Three Things to Watch
1. Seahawks’ offense vs. Colts’ defense
On paper, it looks Russell Wilson will have a rare week of not having to run for his life as the Colts only have six sacks through three games. Doug Baldwin and Jimmy Graham should once again see plenty of targets as the Seahawk offense is better when it’s in a nice rhythm throwing the football as it would then open up the run. Baldwin and Graham combined for 17 receptions for 177 yards and a touchdown last week against Tennessee. Baldwin is listed as questionable with a groin injury, but said he expects to play. If these two guys can approach the 175-200 range in yardage as a duo on a weekly basis, then things will turn around quickly for the Seattle offense. The offensive line also must control the line of scrimmage right away and impose its will on the Indianapolis defense. If they can’t, then this will be a tight game late in the second half.
2. T.Y. Hilton and Frank Gore
When you are a two-touchdown underdog in the NFL, it is going to be very critical to have your superstar players step up and make big plays. Hilton can stress the Legion of Boom in the passing game and Gore (abov, right), who spent the first 10 years of his career in San Francisco, is very familiar with the challenges of playing in Seattle in front of an always loud, hostile crowd. Gore is going to have to carry the ball 20-25 times to control the clock and open things up for Jacoby Brissett and Hilton in the passing game. Don’t be surprised if offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski takes a couple of shots deep down the field to try and loosen up the Seahawks’ defense.
3. Pete Carroll and the Seahawks’ overall level of discipline
Penalties were a big problem last week for Seattle, ending the game with 11 for 98 yards. The most telling one was having 12 men on the field on fourth down with 11 seconds left in the game, a penalty that allowed the Titans to run out the clock. It would have been a long shot for the Seahawks to drive down the field and win the game at that point, but it’s still a clear sign that Carroll has zero control of his football team. Seattle has obviously been one of the more outspoken teams in response to President Donald Trump’s recent comments about NFL players and the national anthem. The Seahawks players have their rights to their beliefs, opinions, etc. but they should be able to multi-task and play disciplined football. There also is the constant sideline bickering and wasting of energy with unnecessary explosions by Richard Sherman that reared its ugly head once again. Sherman, is supposed to be one of the leaders of the Seattle team, but continues to act in a very diva-like fashion. Consequently, it is up to Carroll to get things under control before the season gets away from him.
Overall, this game should be a blow out, but it won’t as the Seahawks have yet to show the necessary maturity on the field to dominate any team right now. So, look for a rare semi-competitive national prime-time game in Seattle. There will be just enough big plays made by Russell Wilson in the passing game to propel the Seahawks to their second win of the season. However, there will still be plenty of concerns for this team moving forward as they won’t play a clean game once again.
Prediction: Seahawks 24, Colts 13
— Written by Scott Whittum, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and writes for College Sports Madness, covering college football, basketball, softball and baseball. Follow Scott on Twitter @ScottWhittum.