It's my favorite time of the week, other than Sunday, which means it's time to break down the best individual matchups for the Indianapolis Colts.
After a dominating performance last week, the Colts will be preparing to take on the Seattle Seahawks this Sunday, looking to improve to 4-1 on the season. Things won't be easy, however, as the Seahawks are 4-0 on the season and look like one of the best teams in the NFL.
So, which matchups are going to be the most intriguing to watch for this Sunday? Let's take a look.
Marshawn Lynch vs. Colts Defensive Line
If you want to stop the Seahawks offense, the key is to contain Beast Mode.
As we saw last week against the Houston Texans, that isn't always the easiest thing to do.
So far, Lynch has been huge for his team. He's produced nearly 400 yards of total offense and four total touchdowns. The good news for Colts fans, however, is that he's running for only 3.9 yards per carry.
In order for the Colts to stop Lynch, the defensive line is going to need to step up once again. The defense has looked better than in previous seasons, but they're still allowing 106.8 rushing yards per game.
Cory Redding is going to be a big key, and he's been great so far this year. He's the top ranked defensive player for the Colts, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), with an overall grade of 8.9 and a grade of 6.0 in run defense.
This team's philosophy is to run the ball and stop the run. This is their game to officially prove that this strategy can not only win them games, but make them a Super Bowl contender.
Colts Receivers vs. Seahawks Secondary
While the Colts keep wanting to run the ball, they're going to have to run pass plays, and Andrew Luck might have some trouble finding open receivers this week.
The Seahawks have the most talented secondary in the NFL without question. With Richard Sherman, Brandon Browner, Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas, the Seahawks can stop pretty much anyone. They do a great job handling their receivers, allowing just 191 passing yards per game and already grabbing seven interceptions.
As good as the Seahawks secondary is, they haven't played as good of a group of receivers this season as the guys the Colts have. With Reggie Wayne, Darrius Heyward-Bey and T.Y. Hilton, these guys are able to create space and give Luck options when he's sitting in the pocket.
This is the biggest test all year that the Luck and his receivers will have. If they struggle, at least things will get easier after that game. But if they do play very well, we will understand that this offense is the real deal.
Colts Offensive Line vs. Seahawks Defensive Line
The other matchups are important, but this is the one that will single-handedly decide this game if the Colts offensive line can keep it together.
The Colts O-line hasn't been nearly as bad as it was in 2012. A lot of that is likely due to the fact that the new offense under Pep Hamilton is getting the ball out of Luck's hands a lot faster, but at least he isn't getting knocked around as much.
Mike McGlynn, as bad as he usually is, has done a decent job moving to center while Samson Satele has sat out the past two weeks. If Satele comes back this week, McGlynn will move back to guard, and he has struggled at that position.
Anthony Castonzo has been the team's best offensive lineman up to this point. He's ranked by PFF as the seventh-best offensive tackle in the NFL, but is tied for first in run blocking among them.
This is going to be very difficult for the offensive line this week. Michael Bennett has been one of the best defensive ends in the NFL, ranking third in the NFL for 4-3 DEs by Pro Football Focus (subscription required). Cliff Avril has been fantastic as well, ranking fifth on that same list.
Look for the Colts to run a lot of quick passes to negate Seattle's defensive line, but it's going to be a tough one for this offense.