Seahawks vs. Colts Odds, NFL Week 1 Predictions, Pick: Bet On Carson Wentz In His Indianapolis Debut?
Harry How/Getty Images. Pictured: Russell Wilson
Seahawks vs. Colts Odds
|Seahawks Odds||-2.5 (-115)|
|Colts Odds||+2.5 (-105)|
|Time||1 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. For up-to-the-minute NFL odds click here.|
The Seattle Seahawks and Indianapolis Colts underwent major changes in the offseason for very different reasons.
Seattle spent the offseason overhauling its offense, bringing Shane Waldron in to serve as the new offensive coordinator for Russell Wilson and Co. Waldron was plucked from the Rams after spending three seasons as their passing game coordinator. He’ll introduce a new offense that’s expected to be more up-tempo, while also allowing Wilson the freedom to make more pre-snap reads on his own.
As for the Colts, they’ll have their fifth different starting quarterback in four years as Carson Wentz will replace Philip Rivers following his retirement.
Wentz’s transition has been everything but seamless as he suffered a foot injury just one week into training camp. Originally, he was expected to miss anywhere from five to 12 weeks, but he’s already back with the team and was a full practice participant this week.
Sunday will be our first glimpse of both quarterbacks playing in a new system since neither was involved in the preseason. However, one team seems to be dealing with more questions than answers at the moment.
I’ll reveal the team and much more to get you set for this Week 1 matchup.
There was plenty of buzz around the Seahawks last season after a 5-0 start. They might have even won six straight games if they didn’t come off their bye week and blow a 27-14 lead in the second quarter against the Cardinals.
However, some warning signs emerged for Seattle before that loss as opposing offenses averaged 27 points against its defense through the first five games. That number then grew to 30.4 PPG over the next five weeks before Seattle turned things around and allowed just 14 PPG in the remaining six weeks. Now, some of that might be due to the schedule, but the reality is Seattle’s defense didn’t really get healthy until Week 10.
While linebacker Bruce Irvin (14 games) and safety Marquise Blair (14) both missed considerable time, no absence was probably felt more than the loss of safety Jamal Adams for four games. Part of why the Seahawks acquired Adams was his ability to impact their defense at all three levels.
Adams was likely injured the entire season and even played through a torn labrum in his shoulder. He rushed to get back on the field, but he still wasn’t 100% when he returned. Yet, he still managed to lead the team with 9.5 sacks as a safety. To get an idea of just how dominant he was, tackle Jarran Reed was second on the team with 6.5 sacks and he played all 16 games.
But it’s more than just one player who was injured. Seattle’s defense sustained 55 injuries compared to 34 on offense. That works out to 62% more injuries on the defensive side of the ball. In March, Football Outsiders completed its annual Adjusted Games Lost report for the season, and Seattle ranked 26th in the league on non-COVID-related injuries.
I think it’s important to note the role injuries likely played in Seattle’s overall season numbers. If healthy, we’ll see an even more dynamic pass rush this year. Seattle was ranked seventh with 46 sacks despite all of its injuries. Given the Seahawks’ more up-tempo offense, I think they’ll be aggressive in trying to score points. That could force the Colts to have to match them by taking shots down the field.
However, Indianapolis could be a bit vulnerable with Wentz in the new offense. Despite playing fewer games, he was the second-most sacked quarterback (50) behind Wilson (52 including playoffs) last year. Wilson’s issues were more protection-related, which Seattle attempted to address by trading for guard Gabe Jackson.
As for Wentz, he was often guilty of holding onto the ball too long. We could see more of that in Week 1 as he gets his first game experience with the new offense. That should play right into the hand of Seattle’s opportunistic defense.
While it’s natural for the quarterback of a football team to command plenty of attention, I’m not sure it’s to Wentz’s advantage at the moment. There were already reports out of Philadelphia that Wentz was a bad teammate. Now those opinions have followed him to Indianapolis. I’m not quite sure Wentz will get the fresh start that he’s looking for.
For one, controversy continues to follow him, and his decision to remain unvaccinated for COVID-19 calls into question his leadership within the team. Either way, he’s developed the reputation of someone who’s always going to attract attention — good or bad.
On the field, I think Wentz has always felt second-best since it’s Nick Foles who is credited for leading the Eagles to their first Super Bowl title in 2017. Wentz had quite a year with 33 touchdowns and just seven interceptions before tearing his ACL and watching Foles’ fairytale run from the sidelines. But he’d suffer two more injuries in subsequent years, and he’s not really been the same since then.
In 2018, a back injury in December ruled him out of the playoffs. When he finally made his postseason debut in 2019, he suffered a head injury in the first quarter that knocked him out of the game. A lack of confidence combined with those injuries has made Wentz a bit unsure of himself inside the pocket. Last year, his 41.9 QBR, along with his 16 touchdowns and 15 interceptions, were even worse than his rookie season in 2016.
Will things be better in a place like Indianapolis that will likely have far less scrutiny than Philadelphia? Maybe. But it’s now more likely that Wentz is playing a bit of catchup after missing time with the foot injury. He’ll also have to worry about his protection upfront with left tackle Eric Fisher (80 PFF grade) ruled out. He’ll also be without the Colts leading wideout T.Y. Hilton.
On defense, their top cornerback Xavier Rhodes (76.3 PFF grade) is out as well. Rhodes would likely have been lined up against DK Metcalf (82.7 PFF grade). That responsibility will now likely fall to Rock Ya-Sin (49.9 PFF grade).
I’m all about staying away from the unknowns in Week 1, and in this case, that’s the Colts. They’re already tasked with trying to build up Wentz’s confidence, and now he has to take the field without his left tackle and best receiver.
Over time, I’m sure we’ll see how Wentz adapts to the offense, but this is a little too much too soon after missing time in training camp and not playing in the preseason.
I think the Seahawks will be asking plenty of questions about a Colts secondary that was 21st in defending against explosive pass plays. They’ll face an even tougher challenge now with Rhodes sidelined.
Add on the fact that the Colts have a history of not performing well in the opening week.
They’ve lost seven straight games in Week 1 and are 1-10 in their last 11 in this spot. That gives me greater confidence to bypass the point spread altogether and fade them on the money line.
The Seattle moneyline is as low as -145 right now, but I’m comfortable playing this number up to -150.
Pick: Seahawks ML (-145) at DraftKings