The long wait for football Sunday is finally over and the Indianapolis Colts have a chance to put together their first win streak of the season when they travel to Seattle to face a struggling Seahawks team. Of course, doing so is easier said than done and if oddsmakers and prognosticators are any indication, a favorable outcome isn’t likely. Let’s take a look at the latest odds, picks, and predictions before we get into the heart of the Sunday scheduled.
For those who like to put their money where their mouth is, the latest lines give the Seahawks a 12.5 - 13.5 point advantage. While I don’t personally place a great deal of stock in “lines” or whatever Vegas predicts, I know some people who have told me that these predictions are surprisingly accurate.
Since I don’t have a great deal of faith that Vegas or any other predictors will achieve a statistically significant improvement in accuracy over most other informed sources over time, I did some research and found an interesting piece on success and failure based upon betting lines. The short version is, betting based upon the lines is about a 50/50 proposition most of the time (not surprising).
I also found a very interesting piece from NinersNation, written by Danny Tuccitto all the way back in 2010. For stat junkies, there are some interesting findings in this piece regarding game predictions, who is accurate and who isn’t, and how little correlation there is between being “informed” about NFL football and successfully predicting the outcome of games.
It shouldn’t come as a big surprise that a two score line in Vegas correlates to a pretty consistent set of predictions.
ESPN’s Colts analyst Mike Wells picks the Seahawks by two touchdowns.
This was supposed to be Andrew Luck vs. Russell Wilson, Part II, when the schedule came out in the spring. Luck (shoulder) is still out, and Seattle's offense is tied for 26th in the NFL in points (16.0) per game. Seattle gets the edge in the battle of 1-2 teams because it's playing at home, where crowd noise will play a factor, especially because the Colts have been called for a league-high seven false-start penalties this season. The Colts’ offensive line isn't good enough to protect quarterback Jacoby Brissett, who is making his first NFL road start. Seattle finds its rhythm in handing the Colts their third loss of the season. Seahawks 27, Colts 13 -- Mike Wells
ESPN’s Seahawks reporter predicts a closer outcome.
Why are the Seahawks favored by 13 points over Indianapolis when they've failed to even score that many points in two of their first three games? It's not just because the Colts are again playing without Andrew Luck. Another reason might be that they've been dominant in prime time. Since Pete Carroll arrived in 2010, the Seahawks are 19-3-1 in prime-time games, outscoring opponents 581-298. That includes a 12-1 record at CenturyLink Field, where they'll host the Colts on Sunday night. Matchups that look easy on paper have turned out to be more difficult than expected for the Seahawks. Their win over San Francisco in Week 2 was the latest example. Frank Gore has been a thorn in the side of the Seahawks' defense for more than a decade, and T.Y. Hilton burned their secondary when the teams last met in 2013. So, it might not be as easy as the point spread would suggest. But the Seahawks should win to get back to .500. Seahawks 26, Colts 16 -- Brady Henderson
How would this season look for the Colts had Jacoby Brissett, as brand-new as he was at the time, started the opener against the Rams instead of Scott Tolzien? Brissett looks better every week and looked like he belonged against the Browns. The Seahawks’ offense is now putting too much of a burden on the defense, which finally buckled (physically and mentally) in Tennessee. Against a better team this week, this would be a serious problem.
Prediction: Seahawks, 28-23
Keeping with the theme, Chris Simms of Bleacher Report sees a nail-biter on the horizon.
The Seattle Seahawks offense has been killing the defense so far this year. The Seahawks defense is still an incredible unit, but the offense has looked as inept as any in football. The fact Seattle cannot sustain drives is wearing the defense out early in games.
The Indianapolis Colts defense is better than people have given it credit for, and I have no confidence in Seattle's offense in general.
I'm still going to pick the Seahawks, though, for two reasons. This game is in Seattle, and it's only the third Colts start for quarterback Jacoby Brissett. He'll be facing the best defense he's seen in the NFL, and he'll be doing it in one of the rowdiest road environments there is.
Expect Russell Wilson to make just enough plays for the Seahawks to pull out an ugly win.
Prediction: Seahawks 21, Colts 19
ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio and Michael David Smith agree on the outcome but have big differences on the spread.
Colts at Seahawks
MDS’s take: The Seahawks have not played well this season, but the Colts coming to town is just what they need.
MDS’s pick: Seahawks 31, Colts 13.
Florio’s take: It’s desperation time in Seattle, and the Seahawks seem to thrive in that context. Of course, if they want to experience real desperation, losing to the Colts will make that happen.
Florio’s pick: Seahawks 17, Colts 13.
As for just picks, ESPN’s entire crew is picking the Seahawks. CBS Sports joins them with a unanimous vote for Seattle. Even SB Nation’s voters agree that the Colts will be defeated tonight.
If it makes Colts fans feel any better. the Stampede Blue writing staff (unbiased game predictions experts all) split the vote 50-50 on tonight’s outcome.
Tell us your predictions in the comments below.