NFC West: Seahawks-Colts

Wrap-up: Colts 34, Seahawks 17

October, 4, 2009
10/04/09
4:12
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando


The Seahawks pretty much met expectations during their blowout road loss to the Colts.

The outcome changed nothing, in other words.

The goal for Seattle, then as now, should be to beat the Jaguars and Cardinals at home over the next two weeks, thereby taking a 3-3 record into the bye. Anything less will complicate the Seahawks' efforts to make a strong run for the NFC West title, particularly with four of their first five post-bye games on the road.

Seneca Wallace dramatically improved his completion percentage from Week 3 by hitting 73 percent of his 45 attempts. T.J. Houshmandzadeh topped 100 yards receiving, a big improvement.

The Seahawks simply aren't consistent enough on offense to beat good teams, particularly on the road. That will not change anytime soon, which is why Seattle must find ways to win its next two at home.

Baby steps aren't enough for Seahawks

October, 4, 2009
10/04/09
2:23
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando


The Seahawks have made a few strides offensively in Week 4, but they have not been good enough to function efficiently in the red zone.

That might help explain the animated discussion coach Jim Mora was having with receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh after Seattle had to settle for a field goal and 14-3 deficit after Seneca Wallace took a sack on third down.

The Seahawks were having some of these growing pains anyway when Matt Hasselbeck was still the quarterback. They had to start over, basically, when Wallace took over midway through the Week 2 defeat at San Francisco.

Wallace has completed 14 of 17 passes for 107 yards against the Colts in the first half. Those are good numbers. But the team has had serious problems connecting for longer gains. Deon Butler was open for what could have been a long touchdown pass early in the game, but he and Wallace weren't close to connecting.

For Seattle, the key will be weathering the current storm and somehow getting to 3-3 heading into the bye week. While the Seahawks are competing decently against the Colts, they are not good enough to make the important plays on offense. That will make it nearly impossible to keep pace with Peyton Manning.

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando


The Seahawks-Colts game will not be the same without Bob Sanders, Walter Jones and Matt Hasselbeck.

All three were among the players named inactive in Week 4.

Two other injury-related absences stand out as significant in this game. Josh Wilson's inability to play despite making significant progress following a high-ankle sprain leaves Seattle without two of its top three cornerbacks, a seemingly impossible predicament against Peyton Manning.

The Seahawks did not designate a third quarterback for this game. If injuries knocked out Seneca Wallace and rookie Mike Teel, I think Deion Branch might get a look at quarterback.

Not having Jones at left tackle would be a big deal for Seattle even if the Colts had named Dwight Freeney inactive. Freeney is active for this game, a surprise. The question might be whether he's close to 100 percent. If he is, the Seahawks will have problems at left tackle.

Inactive for Seattle: Jones, Hasselbeck, tackle Sean Locklear, linebacker Leroy Hill, defensive tackle Red Bryant, defensive lineman Michael Bennett and tight end Cameron Morrah.

Inactive for the Colts: Sanders, linebacker Gary Brackett, cornerback Kelvin Hayden, tackle Tony Ugoh, linebacker Clint Session, offensive lineman Jamey Richard and defensive tackle Fili Moala. Curtis Painter is the third quarterback.

The Seahawks have five receivers active. That is generally the maximum. They have eight offensive lineman active, one more than usual. They have two tight ends active, one fewer than usual. They have four running backs active, one fewer than usual.

Soaking up the scenery in Week 4

October, 4, 2009
10/04/09
11:56
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando


SAN FRANCISCO -- Getting to the stadium early has its benefits.

This scenic shot outside Candlestick Park might be a little misleading. The view inside is quite a bit more flattering.

In Indianapolis, meanwhile, the Colts have named pass-rusher Dwight Freeney among their active players, a surprise.

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando


The Wall of Fame added 14 legends in Week 2, but none in Week 3.

Let's pick up the pace.

Simply use the comments section of this blog entry to predict winners and final scores of games featuring at least one NFC West team in Week 4. The Rams visit the 49ers. The Seahawks visit the Colts.

The fine print: Those submitting predictions for "You called it" must pick the winner correctly for their scores to be considered. Scoring is easy to calculate. The difference between a 20-17 prediction and a 31-14 outcome would be 14 points. We would calculate this by adding the difference between 20 and 31 to the difference between 17 and 14.

The Wall of Fame presently features:

(Read full post)

Upset probabilities in the NFC West

October, 2, 2009
10/02/09
1:42
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando


Win Chance Visitor Home Win Chance
.680 Giants Chiefs .320
.610 Bengals Browns .390
.590 Ravens Patriots .410
.500 Bills Dolphins .500
.490 Titans Jaguars .510
.470 Chargers Steelers .530
.420 Packers Vikings .580
.320 Raiders Texans .680
.280 Cowboys Broncos .720
.270 Jets Saints .730
.230 Rams 49ers .770
.200 Lions Bears .800
.200 Bucs Redskins .800
.130 Seahawks Colts .870


I like the guys at Advanced NFL stats even though they once skewered me for failing to secure my pocket protector.

The chart at right, pulled from nytimes.com, shows the fruits of a pretty cool research project. Writes Brian Burke:

For whatever reason, my model has been remarkably successful since its inception three seasons ago, and each year it has been slightly more accurate in predicting winners than looking at the consensus favorites. This is no small accomplishment, as luck plays a large part of many game outcomes.

Sometimes its predictions make you scratch your head, especially early in the season when most fans still carry notions of how good certain teams should be. It has its flaws, but it is brutally unbiased and hype-free. Of course, now that they are featured on nytimes.com, it’s due for an off year!



The Seahawks and Rams certainly hope Burke's model misrepresents their teams' chances in the short term. According to the model, no team is less likely than Seattle to win in Week 4. I do not necessarily disagree. That is a tough matchup.

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