Colts: Matt Eberflus must switch up his usual defense against Seattle

PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 30: Tyler Lockett #16 of the Seattle Seahawks. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 30: Tyler Lockett #16 of the Seattle Seahawks. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

Frank Reich, Matt Eberflus, and the Indianapolis Colts aren’t going to get the luxury of easing into the 2021 season against a below-average opponent, as they will have to contend with Russell Wilson and a Seattle Seahawks offense that features one of the best collection of skill position talent in the entire league.

Not only will the Colts have to account for Chris Carson in the running game, but they have to contend with a lethal collection of wide receivers in Tyler Lockett, DK Metcalf, and rookie D’Wayne Eskridge. For such an uneven defense on the back end, that is quite a nightmarish scenario.

The Colts have been able to overachieve on defense over the last few years thanks to Eberflus’ scheme, which leans on Cover 2 looks and pressures coming from a variety of different positions and angles. While that strategy might work well in a general sense, the Seahawks are perfectly equipped to exploit that defense.

According to Sports Info Solutions, Lockett had the second-most yards in the NFL against 2-hi zone defenses last year with 410 on 36 catches. Metcalf was right behind him with 337 yards on 26 catches. If Eberflus just sits back and runs tons of 2-hi, Seattle will feast on this secondary, especially considering the lack of depth.

The Seahawks’ offense could feast against Matt Eberflus and the Colts.

Indianapolis not only has some schematic issues that Seattle could exploit, but they have some personnel deficiencies that the Seahawks are likely salivating over. With Xavier Rhodes likely not 100% healthy, Rock Ya-Sim might be in charge of matching up with the mighty Metcalf.

Seattle also replaced a dinosaur of an offensive coordinator in Brian Schottenheimer with Shane Waldron, who spent the last three seasons as the Rams’ passing game coordinator. A Sean McVay disciple against a predictable defense and inexperienced cornerback group? Look out!

These issues could be sidestepped if the Colts are a touch more aggressive with how they blitz. Even with Duane Brown at left tackle, Seattle’s line is still questionable, and Wilson might have difficulty distributing the ball if he has a big mouthful of Kwity Paye or Julian Blackmon in his face.

Seattle has the speed to bust big routes down the field and the size to win one-on-one matchups, and Wilson has clearly shown an aptitude for finding the soft spots in this coverage. Eberflus showing multiplicity and the ability to win games by eschewing old defensive schemes from last year could be the deciding factor in this one.