There are a few great games to look forward to this weekend, but none more so than the matchup between Seattle and Indianapolis. The Seahawks are undefeated, but they’ve looked much stronger at home than on the road. And Indianapolis is 3-1, with an impressive road smoking of San Francisco already on the resume.
The Colts will host this game Sunday afternoon at Lucas Oil Field. And two occasional guest of Zoneblitz have returned again to share their thoughts about the game. The comments of Nick Ashbourne, editor of 12th Man Rising and Kyle Rodriguez, editor at The Colts Authority can be read below.
WHY THE SEAHAWKS WILL WIN:
To win this tough road matchup against the Colts the Seahawks will expose some of the things that have made the Colts success in 2013 somewhat unsustainable. The first thing they need to do is get Andrew Luck to turn over the ball. Luck threw 18 interceptions and fumbled 10 times last year and this year he has only two interceptions and a single fumble. Luck is a great talent on the rise, but I don’t believe that he’s gone from a guy who had problems with turnovers to one of the best at taking care of the ball in the NFL in one year. The Seahawks secondary has earned a lot of praise, the vast majority of it deserved, and if they can pick off Luck a couple of times it will make a world of difference.
In addition, the Seahawks will expose the Colts defense as one that is far from as good as what they’ve shown. The Colts have allowed only 12.8 points per game and it’s my belief that they are playing well above their collective heads. Robert Mathis has been an absolute monster this year with 7.5 sacks but I’m not sure there is another player on that unit that could start the Seahawks, for example. A defense doesn’t need to be full of stars to succeed, but more often than not it does need to have a couple to be elite. This team can be run on (allowing 4.2 yards per carry) and the Seahawks have rushed for an average of 169 yards per game over their last three. A large serving of Marshawn Lynch will have the Colts allowing well over 12.8 points in this game.
WHY THE COLTS WILL WIN:
The Seahawks offensive line is in utter shambles and rushing the passer is what the Colts do best on the defensive side of the ball. Seattle is very vulnerable to the outside rush at the moment with both of their starting tackles down, and the loss of Pro Bowl center Max Unger is also immense. If the Colts live in the backfield they could keep a dangerous Seattle offense at bay.
The Colts are also at home and the Seahawks aren’t the same force on the road, especially in early games. It’s a big road trip after a tough win in Houston and while I wouldn’t expect Seattle to be rattled by the trip, they might be on the tired side. The Colts could put up points in a hurry if the Seahawks have some lapses early and Indianapolis is a very difficult team to play against when they have the lead.
PREDICTION: The combination of Lynch’s running and the defensive pressure on Luck will allow the Hawks to come away with a 21-13 win.
WHY THE COLTS WILL WIN:
A few weeks ago, I would have notched this down as an all-but certain loss for Indianapolis, but the more I look at this game, the more I lean toward the Colts.
First, and most importantly, the Colts’ defense has realized all of its potential over the last two weeks. The improved secondary has been phenomenal. The Colts’ cornerbacks are locking down receivers while the versatile safeties rotate between crowding the line of scrimmage and falling back into single-high looks. The defensive line has been about as good as their talent will possibly allow, controlling the line of scrimmage and staying disciplined in their gaps. Cory Redding is playing as well as he ever has, and Robert Mathis leads the league with 7.5 sacks through four games. Seattle’s offense has struggled on the road, and the Colts’ defense will have the crowd on their side in this one.
Second, Pep Hamilton’s offense has been everything that the Colts designed it to be: time-consuming, balanced and efficient. While many fans (including myself) doubted that the Colts had the personnel to run that type of offense, smart play designs and blocking schemes have allowed the Colts to run it quite well. The Colts are currently fourth in the league in Defensive-adjusted Value Over Average, including second in run DVOA, despite having below-average linemen. The Colts average more plays and time per drive than any team in the league, and the controlling style has led to the second-most yards and third-most points per drive in the NFL. With the run game setting up play-action looks, the Colts have been able to take advantage of the middle of the field extremely well over the last two weeks.
While Seattle is still a very good team when they travel, it’s clear that they have a drop-off on the road. If this was in Seattle, I’d give the clear edge to the Seahawks, but on the road they tend to get off to slow starts, which would give Indianapolis a huge edge.
WHY SEATTLE WILL WIN
Quite simply, they’re a better team.
Seattle has the most talented defense in the league. They’re tied for second in the league in points allowed per drive, behind only Kansas City. Last week they held Houston without a single point in three of the four quarters, and had the turning point in the game with Richard Sherman’s game-tying pick-six. With an extremely talented secondary backing up a dynamic pass rush, the Seahawks will test Andrew Luck more than any other defense has thus far. If the Colts can’t establish a ground game, they’ll struggle to move the ball.
On offense, the Seahawks boast the deepest receiving corps that the Colts have faced. Between Sidney Rice, Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin, Seattle doesn’t have a top-flight No. 1 receiver, but they have three above-average pass-catchers. Add in Zach Miller and the Colts will have a hard time keeping everybody covered for any length of time. The one saving grace the Colts might have is their pass rush. Seattle’s injuries on the offensive line will make it easier for an Indianapolis pass rush that has been surprisingly effective thus far. However, there’s still the issue of Russell Wilson, who is one of the most difficult quarterbacks in the league to corral. The Colts did a good job against Colin Kaepernick in Week 3, but Wilson is a more versatile threat.
PREDICTION: Again, the more I look at this game, the more I lean Indianapolis. Part of that is the fan in me, part of it is how impressed I’ve been with the defense over the last two weeks. This game is going to be close either way, and I don’t expect it to be high-scoring. Whoever is more efficient in the red zone will win this game. Whenever I pick against Indy, they respond well, so this is as much about my attempt at a reverse jinx as it is a respect for Seattle. Seattle 21, Indianapolis 17
Zoneblitz’ Take: If I was to do a power ranking right now, both of these teams would be in the top six. I expected this of Seattle. I did not think Indianapolis would be quite this good. Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson are two of the league’s best young quarterbacks, but what I’ve been most impressed with – as Nick and Kyle spelled out well – is how well both teams are playing on defense.
While the Seahawks are definitely better at home than on the road, I do think they will expose the Colts as vulnerable against the run. Marshawn Lynch will have a good game and Seattle will do a better job of keeping the Colts off the field than other opponents have thus far. Seahawks 24 Colts 17.
Who will win the Week 5 Game of the Week?
- Seattle Seahawks (65%, 11 Votes)
- Indianapolis Colts (35%, 6 Votes)
Total Voters: 17