The Indianapolis Colts and the Seattle Seahawks both have quite a lot in common, especially considering their franchise changing second-year quarterbacks, but it also has to do with reliance, or an attempt to, on the running game, while having their eyes firmly set on doing a lot better than last season when they reach the playoffs.
The Seahawks are the popular choice for second best team in the NFL, although they’ve had some close calls this season, first in the win over the Panthers, using a DeAngelo Williams fumble to seal the game, and then in week 4, beating the Houston Texans thanks to a Richard Sherman interception & touchdown, leading to an overtime win. In short – don’t turn the ball over against what might be the most opportunistic defense in the NFL.
Unlike the Sehawks, focusing on running the ball is new to the Colts. Just when they seemed to have it figured out, Ahamd Bradshaw finds himself unable to play, putting the same kind of pressure on Trend Richardson that he had with the Browns, that doesn’t do well for his numbers and efficiency.
One thing worth mentioning is the workload we’ll see the Colts giving Richardson, who played 50 of 70 snaps in Week 4 with Ahmad Bradshaw injured. In Week 3, Richardson played 29 of 67 snaps. He’s averaging only 2.9 yards per carry since joining Indianapolis.
At least Andrew Luck can run, despite the Colts being a pass-heavy team during his rookie season. He might not go off and escape the pocket as often as other quarterbacks more known for their ability to escape the pass-rush, but few do it better than him.
In terms of scrambling quarterbacks, Russell Wilson does it more than anyone in the NFL, averaging 7 yards per carry, but no one does it better than Andrew Luck, averaging 7.9 yards per carry and gets the first down on 51% of his carries, ranked for second in the NFL.
In general, this season is about turning Luck into an effective quarterback, shortening his throwing distance by only 0.4 yards (last season led the NFL with 10 yards per attempt), but he’s a lot more efficient, completing 75% of his passes for 10 yards or fewer downfield.
Both teams allow very similar numbers in terms of defense, and generally don’t give up more than 300 yards. It comes down to turnovers, and what they do with them, which gives the Seahawks the edge if Andrew Luck doesn’t keep his head straight and tries to do too much while Richardson struggles.
Prediction – Both teams looked their best when facing the San Fracnsico 49ers. The Colts struggle stopping a power running game, which the Seahawks can’t wait to implement. If Seattle jump to an early lead and work the game through Marshawn Lynch, it’s hard seeing Luck, someone who is almost never counted out of a game, being able to muster enough magic to give the Colts a win.