Colts head coach Frank Reich has confirmed that quarterback Carson Wentz will undergo foot surgery, forcing him to miss anywhere from five to 12 weeks of action. The Seahawks are set to open the season in Indianapolis on September 12.
While the earliest possible return date keeps the door open for Wentz to face the Seahawks, all signs are pointing to Jacob Eason making his first career NFL start in Week 1. Eason, who was selected in the fourth round of the 2020 NFL Draft by the Colts, played out his final year in college at the University of Washington after transferring from Georgia.
Indianapolis is coming off a playoff berth, losing to Buffalo in a close wild-card bout in January. But its quarterback, potential future Hall of Famer Philip Rivers, retired after one year with the team this offseason.
In the wake of a falling out with the Eagles organization, Wentz was traded to the Colts for a third-round pick in 2021 and a conditional second-rounder in 2022. Since coming back from a season-ending knee injury suffered in 2017, the former second overall selection has struggled to reclaim the MVP-caliber form he played with in his first year-and-a-half in the league. In that time, he's gone 17-21-1 as a starter with 64 touchdowns, 29 interceptions and 9,733 passing yards.
Against the Seahawks, Wentz is 0-4 with six touchdowns and six interceptions.
Eason, meanwhile, has not only never started an NFL game, but he's never appeared in one either—exhibition or otherwise. With the cancellation of the 2020 preseason due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he never saw the field as a rookie, meaning his first taste of real NFL action will come later this month.
Fans shouldn't write down a win for Seattle in pen just yet, however. Indianapolis boasted one of the best defenses in the NFL last year, ranking seventh in yards allowed and 10th in points scored against. And with a little over a month to prepare, a creative offensive mind like Reich's should be able to add a few wrinkles to help Eason get by.
That said, this is still a significant swing in the Seahawks' favor and gives them a strong chance to start the season 1-0. With tough games against the Titans, Vikings, 49ers and Rams over the following four weeks, a Week 1 victory would be huge for them.