Game day, the first day of October, feels like fall in Seattle: crisp, a bit damp with temperatures in the 50s.
That’s what’s expected for kickoff Sunday for the Seahawks at CenturyLink Field against the Indianapolis Colts: 58 degrees, but no rain.
The biggest item of note for the Colts: Andrew Luck is still not playing following offseason surgery. Instead, it’s second-year quarterback Jacoby Brissett making his fifth career start. He’s been with Indianapolis for less than a month after a trade from New England.
I wrote for Sunday’s News Tribune why Russell Wilson knows Brissett better than he knows most opposing QBs.
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (1-2) at SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (1-2)
Sunday, 5:30 p.m., CenturyLink Field
TV: Ch. 5. Radio: 710-AM, 97.3-FM,
The series: Colts lead the series 7-4. This is their second game in Seattle in the last 16 years. The Seahawks beat them at CenturyLink Field on Christmas Eve 2005, 28-13, on their way to their first Super Bowl. The Colts have won the last two meetings, in 2009 and ’13, both in Indiana. The Colts’ last win in Seattle was Oct. 15, 2000, in Husky Stadium while the Seahawks waited for their new downtown stadium to be built.
SEATTLE’S KEYS TO VICTORY
Go get the new guy: Quarterback Jacoby Brissett has only been with the Colts since Sept. 4. Sunday night he makes his fifth NFL start in place of Andrew Luck, who is still recuperating from offseason shoulder surgery. The Seahawks’ defense is ticked off after last weekend’s meltdown in Tennessee. And the Colts’ offensive line has allowed 11 sacks in three games. Expect Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril, Frank Clark, Sheldon Richardson and blitzing Bobby Wagner to be feeling a lot better after this one.
Get Wilson back aligned: Russell Wilson’s passing was noticeably off again last week, noticeably high over open receivers for the second consecutive game. Some are beginning to stop-frame video of Wilson’s throws in games to say he’s dropping the ball more nearer his waist before he throws. It’s nothing a few completions he usually makes—and a win—can’t quell. But it needs to happen for the Seahawks go anywhere near where it wants to be this season.
Play—how?--with the lead, for a change: The Seahawks have had the ball in the second half with a lead only once this season, for the final 4:47 in their only win, two weeks ago against San Francisco. Rookie running back Chris Carson closed that game by running for 41 yards and three first downs on the final drive. It will be interesting to see how much Seattle uses Thomas Rawls (one snap last week, five carries this season) and Eddie Lacy (no snaps in each of the last two games, also five snaps all season) if this game goes according to plan and the Seahawks have a second-half lead.
The pick: Seahawks, 20-6. I can’t see Brissett leading the Colts to an offensive touchdown. In a night game in Seattle. Against a ticked-off Seahawks defense that will get back to normal and carry the team back to .500.
32 – Chris Carson, RB (5-11, 218, rookie): Has taken over lead-back duties and is likely to have third-down responsibilities with C.J. Prosise doubtful to play.
72 – Michael Bennett, DE (6-4, 274, ninth season): Iffy Colts OTs. Starting C out injured. Bennett is going to be jumping all over the place trying to get in the backfield.
89 – Doug Baldwin, WR (5-10, 192, seventh season): Questionable to play (groin). But he’s missed just two games in seven years, way back in 2012. If they need him, he’s playing.
7 – Jacoby Brissett, QB (6-4, 235, second season): Has been with Colts for only 3 weeks. Big, Roethlisberger-like arm, ability to escape rush. Tall task here.
13 – T.Y. Hilton, WR (5-9, 178, sixth season): Colts’ best player sure misses Luck. Has to make huge plays for Brissett to give Indy a chance.
23 – Frank Gore, RB (5-9, 215, 13th season): This is the 184th game for the 34-year-old, 5-time Pro Bowler. His 1,421 career yards against Seattle are his most against any foe.