Seahawks stock: Seattle comes into this one with a perfect 4-0 record, with top notch wins coming at Houston in week four and against the 49ers in week two. Along with the Saints, the 'Hawks are the only undefeated team left in the NFC.
Colts Stock: In their last two games the Colts have outscored opponents 64-10. Yes, most of those points came against the lowly Jaguars, but the Colts also took part in a blowout two weeks ago in San Fran, beating the 49ers 27-7 at Candlestick Park.
Seahawks X-Factor: Russell Wilson- Maybe picking the quarterback as a team's X-factor is a bit of a cop-out, but Russell Wilson is the definitive key player of not only this game, but the Seattle Seahawks franchise. Seattle's defense will show up when needed, and the team will go as far into the playoffs as Wilson, the leader of the offense, can carry them. Seahawks fans won't have a problem with this; Wilson threw 26 TD's to 10 interceptions in his rookie year last season. This year, Wilson has been slightly more prone to error, with 3 interceptions and two lost fumbles, but overall, he excels when under pressure. If Wilson can limit the turnovers, the Seahawks will win in Indianapolis.
Colts X-Factor: Robert Mathis- What will it take for Robert Mathis to get some love in the media? Mathis is one sack away from triple digits for his career, and is the co-leader in the same statistical category this year, with 7.5 sacks. Ever since the Dwight Freeney days, Mathis has been the forgotten warrior, a quiet sack artist on the cusp of his 100th quarterback takedown. The Colts defense has been exceptionally better this year than last, largely due to the play of former Alabama A&M standout. With Mathis' penetration on the line, coupled with the team's new found ability of consistently tackling at the line, the Colts have turned into a formidable defensive unit. You can bet that if Mathis gets his hand on Russell Wilson as often as he did last week (3.5 sacks against the Jaguars), the Colts will come out Lucas Oil with a W.
Key Matchup: Reggie Wayne vs Richard Sherman- The old vs the new, the quiet vs the obnoxious. Reggie Wayne and Richard Sherman have one thing, and one thing only in common: they are both very skilled at what they do. Even though Sherman spent most of the offseason lobbying to fans as to why he was the best cornerback in the NFL, he was able to strengthen his trade and become even more of a defensive menace than he was last season. Reggie Wayne on the other hand is ageing like a fine wine. Wayne is Andrew Luck's security blanket, whenever he finds himself in trouble, the Stanford grad is sure to look the way of Reggie's reliable hands. Sherman has a tendency of shutting down top receivers, with the most recent example coming in a week two matchup against the 49ers, where Anquan Boldin was held to a single catch for seven yards. If Reggie Wayne is able to register a few catches early on, it could open up room for the Colts running game and the rest of the receiving corps. Expect heaps of trash talk wherever Sherman lines up on the field.
Prediction: Colts 24 vs Seahawks 20- Sunday's matchup is being played in Indianapolis, giving a big advantage to the Colts. Home-field advantage is becoming ever more crucial in sports today; just ask the Seahawks fans, who set a Guinness World Record for being the loudest stadium in history in week two against the 49ers at Centurylink Field. Seattle is a darn good football team, but this Colts squad has a new identity, predicated on smash-mouth football and tough defense. With that in mind, look for the Colts to pull this one out late in the fourth quarter.