- Week 1 – @ St. Louis, 10am
- Week 2 – @ Green Bay, Sunday Night
- Week 3 – Chicago, 1:25pm
- Week 4 – Detroit, Monday Night
- Week 5 – @ Cincinnati, 10am
- Week 6 – Carolina, 1:05pm
- Week 7 – @ San Francisco, Thursday Night
- Week 8 – @ Dallas, 1:25pm
- Week 9 – BYE
- Week 10 – Arizona, Sunday Night
- Week 11 – San Francisco, 1:25pm
- Week 12 – Pittsburgh, 1:25pm
- Week 13 – @ Minnesota, 10am
- Week 14 – @ Baltimore, Sunday Night
- Week 15 – Cleveland, 1:05pm
- Week 16 – St. Louis, 1:25pm
- Week 17 – @ Arizona, 1:25pm
Right off the bat: gotta like the BYE week right smack dab in the middle of the season. It’s neither here nor there the fact that ALL teams should have the same BYE week right in the middle of the season, but at least it’s something I shouldn’t have to bitch about going forward.
Next up: where are our night games? We kick off a 5-game series of night games this year with a showdown for the ages in Green Bay in Week 2. If you want to take a look at the Packers’ cream puff schedule this year, I’ll give you a moment; they catch the AFC West on a down year for all teams involved, they get the NFC West which is chock full of wild card teams who could be great or terrible, their own division houses the underwhelming Bears and Vikings, then they get the Cowboys at home and the inferior Panthers on the road. Like the Seahawks of last year, all the Packers’ hardest games are at home. Which leads me to believe 1 – if they stay healthy, they’ll be the team to beat for the NFC again this year, and 2 – our showdown with them could very well determine who gets the better overall playoff seed.
This is NOT a game the Seahawks can afford to lose, if the Packers are as good as I think they’ll be (then again, this time last year I was pretty fucking convinced the Saints were the real deal, so take my words with a
grain pound of salt).
Moving on down the line of night games, the Seahawks host the Lions on our only Monday Night game of the year. So, you know, be prepared for all the Golden Tate talk you can possibly handle that week. Next up, we go to Frisco for our lone Thursday night game again this year. Boy, there’s a team that doesn’t scare you at all, huh? Then, we come out of our BYE week with a Sunday night home game against the Cardinals (I believe the NFL is trying to make amends a little bit by making 2 of our 5 night games at home, so thank Christ for small miracles). Finally, one of the more interesting matchups of the year – The Battle Of The Best Front Offices In Football – as the Seahawks travel to Baltimore in Week 14 to square off against the Ravens. I’ll tell you this much: if either of these two teams are less than great, NBC will flex out of that one in a heartbeat. So, if you want to see the Seahawks five times in primetime this year, you better be a huge Ravens fan.
After that, gotta look at the 10am starts. Only three this year, with two of them in the first five weeks (at St. Louis & at Cincinnati). I like our chances of winning an ugly game in St. Louis in Week 1, but I think that Bengals game has loss written all over it. It’s not that I think Cincy is all that great, but they’re pretty solid. Plus, it’s coming off of our Monday Night game, which I’m sure is going to be an emotional battle of titans. Even the best Seahawks teams of recent years managed to lay a turd in at least one AFC road game (2012 at Miami, 2013 at Indy, 2014 at San Diego & Kansas City), so if I find myself in a sportsbook, you better believe I’m betting the farm on the Bengals in Week 5 (have I sufficiently reverse-jinxed this matchup? OK, moving on). The final 10am start is in Minnesota, which is another cheesy one. I like the Seahawks to be 2-1 in 10am starts.
Overall, it strikes me as very balanced. I really don’t mind starting on the road the first two weeks of the season, especially when we’ll have a 4-week stretch (starting with the BYE week) where we’re at home the entire time. Being home for the month of November? How cushy can you get? This is what happens when you prove to the NFL that you’re one of the model franchises: you start getting these perks in the schedule.
I guess if I had to pick “The Tough Stretch”, it probably starts with the Lions and goes through Cincy, Carolina, San Francisco, and Dallas. Still, as long as we don’t blow games early, I could see us going 3-2 or 4-1 in that 5-game run and not having it affect our season too badly. Again, the game against the Packers is ALL IMPORTANT. Win that game, and we’ve got a fighting chance at the #1 seed again. Lose that game, and we’re probably fighting for the 2-seed with the likes of Arizona and whoever pops in the East.
Remember this time last year when we were all slapping our foreheads over the closing stetch of games – with five of six against our division, and a tough one against the Eagles mixed in? Well, how about our final 8 games this year? I’m not saying they’ll be pushovers, but I like five of eight at home, with the only truly difficult matchup being against the Ravens on the road (but, again, that’s a primetime matchup, and clearly we dominate at night). I think the most fun we’ll have all year is that game against the Steelers. If everyone’s healthy, I could see that being quite the scoreboard spinner (spoiler alert for my Seahawks coverage later this year: I think teams are going to be able to throw all over whoever’s opposite Richard Sherman, and it’s going to be very painful at times to watch). Roethlisberger to Brown is the type of elite combo that transcends even the greatest defenses, so look for both teams to get into the 30s in that game.
I’ll have a more in-depth look at the schedule when we get into August, so that’s it for now. A lot to like, if I’m being honest. Some real marquee games against the Packers, Lions, Steelers, Ravens, Cowboys, and maybe the Bengals and Panthers. Some real potential pushovers with the Bears, Browns, Vikings, and maybe the Bengals and Panthers. Then, the usual slate of division games, but this time only 2 games in the last third of the season. And, for the first time in practically forever, our Week 17 game ISN’T us hosting the Rams (albeit, pushed all the way back to Week 16).
A lot to like. Now, let’s tuck it away in the rear of our brains. We’ve got a baseball season to contend with!