Keys to the game: Seahawks vs. Colts
Feeling a rush
The Colts and Seahawks each rank among the top five teams in the NFL in rushing. The Colts are fourth at 150.2 yards per game, the Seahawks fifth at 144.2. Whichever team can extend that trend, while limiting the rushing of the other, will have a huge edge. Seattle coaches compare Indianapolis’ style of running to that of the 49ers, featuring more power plays inside the tackles. Seattle DL Brandon Mebane and Tony McDaniel, among others, will be key in the effort to stop the Colts.
Turning it over
This is also a matchup of two of the teams in the NFL most adept at forcing turnovers while limiting their own. Seattle has a plus-seven turnover mark (third in the league) while the Colts are at plus-six (fourth). Both quarterbacks (Seattle’s Russell Wilson and Indianapolis’ Andrew Luck) are generally good at limiting interceptions. Each secondary has proved to be ball-hawkish — Seattle has seven picks, the Colts have six. Seattle is 21-3 under Pete Carroll when forcing more turnovers than its opponent, 4-0 this year. Winning this game might be as simple as winning the turnover battle.
Protect this house
Where both teams have struggled this season is in pass protection, putting the scrambling abilities of their quarterbacks to greater use than they might like. Both, though, also have a good pass rush — Indy’s Robert Mathis has 7.5 sacks already and Seattle’s improving pass rush has 10 sacks in the past three games. The Seahawks will again have something of a makeshift offensive line with tackles Russell Okung and Breno Giacomini out. Seattle also needs more consistent play out of its guards.