Four Matchups to Watch: Seahawks at Colts

Posted Oct 5, 2013

The Seahawks will attempt to extend the best start in franchise history to 5-0 on Sunday when they meet the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium.

A look at the Seahawks’ Week 5 game against the Colts in Indianapolis on Sunday, including four matchups that could impact the outcome:

When: Sunday, 10 a.m. PT, Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis

Records: Seahawks 4-0 and first in the NFC West after last week’s 23-20 overtime victory against the Texans in Houston; Colts 3-1 and tied for first in the AFC South after last week’s 37-7 victory over the Jaguars in Jacksonville

TV: FOX (Q 13 in Seattle), with Kevin Burkhardt, John Lynch and Erin Andrews

Radio: 710 ESPN and 97.3 FM, with Steve Raible, Warren Moon and Jen Mueller

Rest of the West: Jaguars at Rams (1-3); Panthers at Cardinals (2-2); Texans at 49ers (2-2)

Matchup microscope

Seahawks QB Russell Wilson vs. Colts QB Andrew Luck: The Colts made Luck the first pick overall in the 2012 NFL Draft, while the Seahawks got a steal by selecting Wilson in the third round – the 75th pick overall. While they won’t be on the field at the same time, this is the matchup the TV broadcast will focus on, for the obvious reasons. While they won’t be on the field at the same time, the QB who plays best likely wins the game for his team, for the obvious reasons. Luck passed for a rookie record 4,374 yards last season, when Wilson was tying the NFL rookie record by passing for 26 touchdowns. Wilson ran for 489 yards last season, the franchise record for a quarterback, and has 131 this season. But Luck has run for seven touchdowns in 20 NFL games. They’re both playmakers, obviously. But who makes the most plays on Sunday?  

One to watch

Colts nickel back Darius Butler vs. Seahawks slot receiver Doug Baldwin: Butler has returned four of his eight career interceptions for touchdowns, including three since joining the Colts last season. Baldwin has produced nine first downs on his 12 receptions this season, and seven of his catches have come on third downs. Baldwin uses his quickness, route-running ability and savvy to create space against the man-to man coverage and find holes in zone coverage. Butler likes to bait quarterbacks by playing off and then using his closing speed to beat the ball to the receiver. So this matchup definitely will be worth watching.

Fun to watch

Colts WR Reggie Wayne vs. Seahawks CB Richard Sherman: When Wayne broke into the NFL in 2001, Sherman was 13. But at almost 35 and in his 13th season with the Colts, Wayne’s still got it, and still gets it. He leads the Colts with 22 receptions, giving him 990 for his career. Sherman won’t have Wayne all the time, because the Colts move him around to try and create mismatches. But when the NFC Defensive Player of the Month for September is matched up with Wayne, Sherman needs to minimize his receptions – not to mention his impact.   

One tough task

Whoever has to block the Colts’ Robert Mathis on any given snap: As with Wayne on offense, Mathis will move around – although not as much as the Texans’ J.J. Watt did last week against the Seahawks. While Watt is a wrecking ball of a pass-rusher, Mathis is more in the traditional edge-rusher mold. He tied his career high with three sacks last week, giving him 7.5 for the season to share the NFL lead – and leaving him one shy of 100 for his career. The Seahawks played with three injured starters on the offensive line last week, and likely will this week. The Texans sacked Wilson a season-high five times and had him on the run most of the afternoon. A better option is to have Wilson run because he wants to, rather than because he has to. To do that, his protection will have to be better, and that will start with doing a better job against Mathis than they did against Watt.

Worth noting

The Colts lead the series 6-4 after winning the last meeting – 34-17 on Oct. 4, 2009, in Indianapolis. … The Seahawks are 4-0 for the first time in franchise history and have won nine regular-season games in a row dating back to last season. … The Colts have won seven of their past eight home games, with the loss coming in Week 2 to the Dolphins 24-20. … In six games against AFC West teams, Wilson is 89 of 140 for 1,235 yards with 12 touchdown passes and two interceptions for a 114.4 passer rating. … The Seahawks are plus-7 in turnover differential, and 21-3 under coach Pete Carroll when they won the turnover battle. … MLB Bobby Wagner leads the Seahawks with 32 tackles. … LB Jerrell Freeman leads the Colts with 39 tackles.