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2021 Opponent Scouting Report: Week 1 Seahawks Special Teams and Predictions

Seattle Seahawks v Carolina Panthers Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images

Overview

On September 12th, 2021 the Indianapolis Colts will host the Seattle Seahawks. In this Week 1 match-up, I sought to understand our opponent and get a better idea of how they may attack our Colts.

The last time these two franchises met in 2017, the Colts took a 15 to 10 lead into halftime before the Seahawks scored 36 second half points and winning the game 46 to 18. That was four years ago and four years is a lifetime in the NFL. Both teams have seen tremendous change in that span and the 2021 offseason has been a rollercoaster, for very different reasons, for both squads as well. Week 1 always gives us more questions than answers but we can try to sort through the noise to find as many answers as possible.

Let’s see what we can expect in week 1.


Kicker

In 2020 Jason Myers had a career year going 24 for 24 on field goal attempts and 49 of 53 on extra point tries, good for 92.5%, a career high. Myers set another career high last season before halftime against the Rams:

61 yards is quite the accomplishment, but what about game winners? Back in 2019 on Monday Night Football against the 49ers Myers hit a game winner as time ran out in overtime:

Jason Myers is a good kicker who can hit from deep and in high pressure situations. This should be a tight game so Myers might be called on in a big spot.


Punter

Michael Dickson was taken in the fifth round of the 2018 draft by the Seattle Seahawks. If drafting a punter in the fifth round sounds crazy to you, don’t worry, I think it’s crazy too. To be fair to both Dickson and the Seahawks he has turned into one of, if not the best punter in the NFL since being drafted.

Dickson was born in Sydney, Australia. I used to have a couple good Australian friends, they didn’t know each other but through them I learned that Australian’s are all kind of the same at heart and I also learned that while it’s always fun, it’s never a good idea to party with Australian’s. Also, here’s Dickson getting himself out of a jam against the Detroit Lions:

This former All-Pro set a career high 49.6 yards per punt in 2020 and Dickson all but guarantees the Seahawks will be putting their opponent in tough field position if their offense doesn’t come through. Our returners are in for a tough day.


Returner

The Hawks plan to send out Freddie Swain for punt returns and DeeJay Dallas and D.J. Reed on kickoffs. Rookie receiver Dee Eskridge is listed as a third string punt returner behind Reed as well, so he could be in the mix on Sunday if their staff wants to see what he can do on special teams.

I’ll focus on DeeJay Dallas for a minute as it seems like he’s really embraced his role on special teams.

I didn’t watch Dallas’ tape when he was coming out of Miami, that year I was focused on offensive linemen and tight ends, (plus I didn’t think there was any way the Colts were going to draft a running back early, then they took Jonathan Taylor in the second round- shows what I know) so while I had heard the name I hadn’t seen anything from the guy. For some reason I thought he was undersized, turns out I was wrong. He’s 5’10” 214, and while 214 isn’t huge, when you strap it onto a 5’10” frame and you send it down the field at a high rate of speed, it’s a load to bring down. Even still he does more than just return kicks, Dallas had a big impact on special teams in the preseason:

I’m sure it’s happened before but I can’t recall ever seeing a running back block a punt. These Seahawks returners are good at what they do but if the Seahawks find themselves needing a miracle return to win the game, I expect them to call Tyler Lockett’s number as the veteran receiver was selected as a first team all pro for his return abilities as a rookie. He only returned one kick a season ago and has become too valuable to the offense for the coaching staff to want to use him on special teams. So while it’s very unlikely, it’s not impossible we see the former K-State star return a kick on Sunday.


Final Thoughts for the Week

The Seahawks have good specialists and have the potential to win the field position battle in every game they play due to Michael Dickson’s talented right leg. That said if we see a lot of kicking and punting from the Seahawks, I feel good about the Colts chances in this one.

You didn’t think I was going to forget about 2020 special teams Pro Bowler, Nick Bellore, did you?

This is my fifth year writing these scouting reports for Stampede Blue and in the past four seasons I can’t remember a player I wished was a Colt more than Nick Bellore. In 2019 did I wish the Colts had a quarterback like Patrick Mahomes in week five? Of course I did, but somehow that didn’t feel realistic. Finding a guy like Bellore seems more possible, but then again, there aren’t very many three way players out there- it might just be Bellore.

I’ll stop swooning over Bellore now.

The Indianapolis Colts have the more talented roster and the Seattle Seahawks have installed a new offense without adding much in the way of potentially game changing talent from a year ago. With that said, Russell Wilson and these Seahawks know how to find ways to win football games and even though this is a game I believe the Colts should win on paper, I’m not sure that’s how it will happen.

I think this is going to be a close game in the fourth quarter and if that’s the case I’m afraid Russell Wilson will remind us that he’s the best quarterback in Lucas Oil Stadium and he will find a way to win.


Predictions

Unfortunately, I am predicting another season opening loss for our Colts. I hope I’m wrong and ultimately I’m just one guy guessing. If you need to feel some hope that I will be wrong, just know that I don’t feel strongly about this prediction, but people seem to love it when writers make predictions so here we are.

Final Score:

Seahawks 28

Colts 27