The Seattle Seahawks are a tough group, and they take their swagger into Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday to take on the Indianapolis Colts.
Seattle comes in with a 4-0 mark, undefeated through four games for the first time in franchise history. The Seahawks have done it with a tough schedule, too, beating the San Francisco 49ers and Houston Texans along the way. They have opened up a nice lead in the NFC West, pacing the division by a full two games over the 49ers and Arizona Cardinals.
Indianapolis is also feeling good after thrashing the helpless Jacksonville Jaguars 37-3 last weekend. The Colts are tied atop the AFC South with the Tennessee Titans and are poised to make a run for their second consecutive playoff berth under head coach Chuck Pagano. After the acquisition of Trent Richardson, it is obvious Indianapolis feels it's a championship contender now.
Meet the Seahawks
Nobody plays a meaner, in-your-face style of football than Seattle. Under Pete Carroll, the Seahawks have turned into a smashmouth group on both sides of the ball. Offensively, they are far from pretty but brutally efficient, with some of the credit having to go towards offensive line coach Tom Cable.
The front wall is one of the best in the NFL, with Max Unger anchoring the whole thing at center. Of course, the focal points of this offense are behind them in Russell Wilson and running back Marshawn Lynch. Known as "Beast Mode" for a reason, Lynch has already amassed 308 yards on 3.9 yards per carry and a trio of touchdowns.
Defensively, Seattle is as stout as ever. Richard Sherman is controlling the back end, scoring on a huge pick-six to tie the game against Houston last Sunday with less than three minutes remaining. The Seahawks are second in points per game allowed with 11.8, dominating at home and taking care of business away from home.
Meet the Colts
It always seems to start and end with Andrew Luck, whether or not that is entirely true. The second-year quarterback out of Stanford is in a West Coast system now under former college offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton and the results have been great.
Luck's numbers have been down some but more importantly, he has only tossed two interceptions against five touchdowns. Some might point to his 228.8 yards per game and be a little concerned he has gone all "game-manager", but he is simply being smarter with the ball. The Colts are also running more, taking attempts away from him.
On the other side of the ball, Indianapolis ranks fourth in points allowed per game with 12.8 going against it. Robert Mathis has been leading the charge, tied for the league-lead with 7.5 sacks. The Colts are also second in the AFC in turnover ratio, coming in at a +6.
Local take: Seattle
Over at Field Gulls, Aaron Sims breaks down the Sherman interception of last week:
A lot of people, mostly bitter Texans fans, will say that the Seahawks got lucky with the pick six in the 4th quarter. I'll throw myself in with the bitter bunch and say the Seahawks did get lucky. However, my feelings about luck may be different than theirs. To me, luck is when preparation meets opportunity.
So yes, the Seahawks did get lucky with that pick six in the fourth quarter. They got lucky that Gary Kubiak called that play, that Matt Schaub forced the ball into coverage, that Owen Daniels didn't out-wrestle Sherman for the ball and all the other things that had to go right for the pick six to occur. However, the Seahawks never would have capitalized on this opportunity without hours of intense film study, excellent coaching and countless repetitions.
Local take: Indianapolis
Brad Wells of Stampede Blue talked about the defense starting to gel in Jacksonville:
The 4th quarter defensive stand was especially captivating for me. In years past, when their team was up 34-3 on an opponent, the Colts would pull their defensive starters out in the 4th quarter, allowing the opponent to add some garbage yards and points to the final score. With this team, and with this head coach, they do not have that mentality. Even with the game essentially over, the Colts kept their defensive starters in the game when the Jaguars drove inside the Indy 5 yard line.
They simply did not want to give up a touchdown.
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Jared's Gems: Week 5...Putting the Jared Abbrederis in the Gems http://t.co/X5hicFL9R3— Danny Kelly (@FieldGulls) October 3, 2013
I recorded a podcast with @FieldGulls. We'll have it posted on our blogs later. Great stuff.— Brad Wells (BBS) (@StampedeBlue) October 2, 2013
This is going to be one of, if not, the best games of the entire weekend. Luck going up against the Seahawks defense should be fascinating to watch. It also will be fun to see just how good this Colts defense is against a really solid opponent. Seattle should have lost last week, but Houston decided to be Houston and found a way to blow the game. Indianapolis has already beaten San Francisco, but can it pull off another win of that magnitude?
Pick: Colts 13, Seahawks 10
Seattle is favored by 2.5 points on the road over Indianapolis, according to Oddsshark.com.
Settle comes home to face the Tennessee Titans while Indianapolis goes out west to take on the San Diego Chargers on Monday night.