The Seattle Seahawks(1-2) enter Sunday's showdown against the Indianapolis Colts(3-0) a game behind San Francisco(2-1) in the NFC West and tied for second with the defending NFC champion Arizona Cardinals. They'll hope to salvage a season that has once again been marred by the injury bug as they face the tough task of trying to stop defending NFL MVP Peyton Manning on the road at The Oil Drum(Lucas Oil Stadium).
INJURIES: For the Seahawks, it's the usual suspects. Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck will miss another week with a broken rib, which means the offense will once again be in the hands of capable backup Seneca Wallace. Left tackle Walter Jones(knee) is also out and coach Jim Mora mentioned earlier in the week that the possibility that Jones doesn't play again this season has crossed his mind. Speaking of tackles, Jones' replacement Sean Locklear is also out Sunday as he continues to recover from an ankle injury. That means the blind side of Wallace will be watched by Brandon Frye, who is nursing a groin injury. Some good news for Seattle, though, is that middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu will suit up for the 'Hawks after missing most of the Niners game and all of last week's clash with the Bears. The team will also have cornerback Ken Lucas(groin) and left guard Rob Sims(oblique) at somewhat full strength. Both were slowed by injuries against Chicago last week.
The Colts have their share of critical injuries. Pass rushing dynamo Dwight Freeney is insistent on playing this week, despite a quad injury that has the coaches and medical staff thinking otherwise. He's listed as questionable. Also listed as questionable is middle linebacker and Rutgers alum(CHOP WOOD!) Gary Brackett, who has missed most of practice this week with a knee injury. In the “Goes Without Saying” category, wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez(knee) and injury report lynch-pin Bob Sanders(knee) will not play Sunday.
HOMECOMING: The trip of Indianapolis will be a return home of sorts for two Seattle Seahawks. Defensive tackle Craig Terrill is native of Lebanon, Indiana, which is 30 minutes from Indy. He'll have about 80 friends and family members in attendance for this week's showdown. Then, of course, there's running back Edgerrin James. James was a vital cog of the Colts' high-powered offense during the late 90's and the early part of the new millennium before parting ways a couple years ago and James ending up in Arizona. Whether James will see an increase this week from what has been a minimal amount of carries thus far is unknown, but his knowledge of the Colts and, most importantly, quarterback Peyton Manning will be an asset to the team.
IT'S IN THE WRISTS: The Seahawks have come up with an unconventional plan on defense to counter the impeccable mind of the NFL's cerebral assassin, Peyton Manning. To keep Manning from picking up on their defensive audibles and schemes, the defensive linemen will wear wristbands with a good portion of plays written on them. Defensive co-captain Lofa Tatupu will then call out plays to the linemen by number to keep Manning from picking up on any changes in the defense. “We don't necessarily want to give him a legitimate pre-snap read and we certianly don't want to tell him, 'Hey Peyton, we're going to play this coverage,' by verbalizing it.” Mora explained.
PREDICTION: Like last week, the Seahawks under-manned lineup puts them at a disadvantage in nearly every area, particularly this week as they face a guy in Manning who is well-versed in the art of exploiting a team's weakness. With Seattle short-handed in the secondary, this looks like another game of pitch-and-catch for Manning and his bevy of weapons from Pro Bowl wideout Reggie Wayne to Pro Bowl tight end Dallas Clark all the way to rookies Pierre Garcon and Austin Collie. Furthermore, if Freeney gets the green light to play, it goes without saying that Freeney vs. Brandon Frye is a bit of a mismatch and definitely something Seneca Wallace will have to keep an eye out for. One possible advantage for Seattle might come in the running game, as Indy has struggled this season with runs to the outside. That could mean a big game from Julius Jones(and, of course, Edgerrin James). Keep in mind, however, that these same Colts scored 28 points in a blink of an eye last week against Arizona, which means the running game could get scrapped quick.
SCORE: Colts 38, Seahawks 20.
About the Author
Written by Dave Leonardis
Born and raised in New Jersey, I've been writing since I was 10 and blogging since I was 18. I'm a huge sports nerd, following football, baseball and basketball in particular in close detail. My style is very upfront. I don't pull punches and I'm not shy about criticizing anything I feel deserves a proper tongue-lashing. If you're looking for someone who says what he wants, when he wants, then look no further than this guy right here.