You know I love talking about the schedule months and months before the games are played and rosters are finalized! Without further ado:
- Week 1 – @ Green Bay
- Week 2 – San Francisco
- Week 3 – @ Tennessee
- Week 4 – Indianapolis (Sunday Night)
- Week 5 – @ L.A. Rams
- Week 6 – BYE
- Week 7 – @ N.Y. Giants
- Week 8 – Houston
- Week 9 – Washington
- Week 10 – @ Arizona (Thursday Night)
- Week 11 – Atlanta (Monday Night)
- Week 12 – @ San Francisco
- Week 13 – Philadelphia (Sunday Night)
- Week 14 – @ Jacksonville (10am)
- Week 15 – L.A. Rams
- Week 16 – @ Dallas
- Week 17 – Arizona
All times are in the afternoon time slot, unless otherwise posted.
Just to get it out of the way, I don’t care for the Week 6 BYE week. I read that the NFL did away with BYEs in Week 4, which is nice, because GTFO with that shit. I still think there should be one designated BYE week for everyone, smack dab in the middle of the season, so it’s fair for everyone, but obviously that’ll never happen, so you won’t hear from me on the topic again until this time next year, when I make the same exact argument.
Truth be told, I like A LOT about this schedule. The things that stand out include only one 10am start, against Jacksonville, in December, which is a good time to get out of Seattle anyway. I like that there are no back-to-back road games (or the dreaded 3-game road trip), as our only back-to-backers have the BYE week in between. And, on top of all of that, three of our four primetime games are at home! All in all, this might be the best Seahawks schedule I’ve ever seen (at least, this early in the year).
I’m seeing the strength of schedule is pretty easy, but that means nothing. Comparing a schedule to how the teams finished the year before is pretty asinine, so I don’t take a lot out of that. Here are my two cents, game by game (my official Game By Game prediction post comes at the end of the pre-season, so come back in early September for that).
Leading off with Green Bay isn’t the worst thing in the world. Considering we knew we were going to have to go there at some point in the year, it beats playing them on the Frozen Tundra, in the middle of December. Considering the Packers are always really good, there’s never a “good” time to play them, but I’ll settle for Week 1. The best part of this is not having to face a crazy-tough D-Line. The last two years, we had to face the Dolphins’ front four and the Rams’ front four, which is a lot to ask of a young O-Line in the first week of the season. I won’t say we get a soft landing here, but it’s definitely a step down from those two teams. We’ll just have to hope our defense comes to play, as the biggest downside is catching Aaron Rodgers at a point where our secondary is likely to be a little unsettled (even more terrifying if the team trades Richard Sherman, and we’re left with Jeremy Lane and a couple rookies filling the void). Hard to see that as a win for the Seahawks, but we’ll see how I officially feel later this year.
Week 2 home opener against the 49ers? Yes please! That has the feel of the annual Washington Huskies/Portland State Fuckwads football game.
I know I’m supposed to get all hard for some of these marquee matchups (SEA @ GB, SEA v IND, SEA v WA, SEA v ATL, SEA v PHI, SEA @ DAL), but honestly? The game that catches my eye right now is this Week 3 game in Tennessee. The Titans were 9-7 last year, just a game out of winning that division, and I think they’re a team very much on the rise, and very much on nobody’s radar. You’ll hear it here first: don’t be shocked if the Seahawks lose this game. I like their running game, I love their O-Line, I think Mariota has the goods, and I think their defense is poised for a big improvement. Depending on how their draft shakes out, I could see them finally overtaking the Texans and dominating that division for years to come.
Week 4, Sunday Night, home vs. Indy. Wilson vs. Luck, two great offenses, two very different teams in how they’ve been constructed. I’m looking forward to Collinsworth’s analysis more than anything in this game.
We don’t have to play the Rams until Week 5; that feels like a victory in and of itself! If it takes longer than a month for our O-Line to gel into some semblance of a working unit, then I give up.
Coming out of the BYE week, we go on the road to face the Giants. This is actually, lowkey, a pretty brutal stretch of games the Seahawks have to open up with. Aside from the 49ers, and maybe Indy, I see nothing but difficult matchups. The Giants were one of the teams we managed to dodge in last year’s playoffs, and I was going to go into how they posed a difficult matchup for the Seahawks. Their D-Line is vastly improved after last year’s spending spree. But, Eli is still Eli, so if our defense is able to hold it together, I don’t see why the Seahawks couldn’t take this one.
Back-to-back home games against Houston and Washington. I don’t see Houston being much of a problem, unless they somehow fix their quarterback quandary, which I don’t see happening. Washington is a little more interesting, but they’ve never struck me as all that interested in bolstering their defense. With their two primary receivers (from 2016) playing elsewhere, I’m curious to see how their passing attack looks. I’m pretty high on Cousins, so I could definitely see him keeping them in the game.
Thursday in Arizona in early November: who knows? Once again, we don’t see them until the second half of the season, so there’s REALLY no predicting where this one will go. Will Carson Palmer still be playing at this point? Will their defense be able to thoroughly shut us down like they did in that 6-6 game last year? Will the short week throw us off like it usually does when we have to go on the road in our Thursday game?
Then, we come upon perhaps the biggest or second biggest game on our non-divisional schedule: Monday Night, home against the defending NFC Champion Atlanta Falcons. This game was one of the best ones we played in 2016, and at least on paper looks to be no different in 2017. I’m REALLY interested in how Atlanta is going to rebound this year. Super Bowl collapse, offensive coordinator takes a head coaching job, target nevertheless squarely on their backs each and every week, will they be like the Panthers of last year? Or the Seahawks of the year before. I’ll be thoroughly impressed if they’re able to make the playoffs again after a year like that.
On the Sunday after Thanksgiving, we’re on the road in San Francisco. Again, they should be pushovers.
Then, it’s right back in primetime with a home game against the Eagles. I don’t totally understand why this game is on the schedule, to be honest. Rather, I don’t understand why it’s in primetime. I have some serious doubts about Carson Wentz and that coaching staff in general, and I don’t think that team stands a chance in that division, with how good the Cowboys, Giants, and Redskins look. Look, just don’t be shocked when the NFL flexes this game out of primetime in favor of, oh I dunno, Giants at Raiders, Panthers at Saints, Bucs at Packers, or even Pats at Bills if they just want an excuse to play the Patriots in primetime yet again.
In Week 14, we finally come upon our lone 10am game. GOD I LOVE IT! From the looks of things, the other teams in our division got jobbed on the 10am game thing, but you know what? I think we deserve it. With the way we have to travel from Seattle, the Seahawks are constantly doing the most travelling in the league, so it’s better to reward us with those late afternoon road games.
Home vs. the Rams in mid-December? No thank you. Again, it’s the Rams, so expect the unexpected (but usually pretty terrible, for Seahawks fans).
Christmas Eve afternoon in Dallas? Woof. If it’s anything like last year’s Christmas Eve game against the Cardinals, I shan’t be happy. But, all eyes will be on us, almost like it’s a Thanksgiving Day game, in which case that should be an interesting build-up (also, this game would’ve been much more appropriate as a primetime game, but what are you gonna do?).
Then, we close out on New Year’s Eve at home against the Cardinals. We’ll either be fighting for our playoff lives, fighting for a division title, or hopefully fighting for a top spot in the NFC, so I would bank on this game actually meaning something. In which case, either smart planning by the NFL, or they got really lucky. Either way, should be a good one.
If you had to pin me down to a prediction, I don’t know what to tell you. The rest of the NFC West doesn’t look all that impressive. The Seahawks SHOULD go undefeated against the likes of the Rams and 49ers, but you know that won’t happen. Let’s say 4-2 in the division, 3-1 against the AFC, bringing us to 7-3 with six more games against the NFC. I gotta tell you, this conference schedule LOOKS tough. GB, NYG, and Dallas on the road; ATL, Philly, and WA at home. I see 1-2 in the road games and 2-1 in the home games, which would put us at 10-6 on the year. That looks like it could be enough to win the division, but certainly not enough to get anything more than a 3 or (more likely) 4 seed in the playoffs.
The road to getting the top seed – and getting back to the Super Bowl – is simple. First, the Seahawks need to stay remarkably healthy. ESPECIALLY on defense, where I still see depth as being our primary issue (regardless of what happens in the draft). Second, the Seahawks absolutely need to take care of business in the division. That means going a perfect 6-0, no excuses! The 49ers are terrible, the Rams are still rebuilding, and the Cards are on the cusp of collapse and a rebuild of their own. This should be a down year for all three of those teams, and the Seahawks need to stop fucking around with them, playing down to their levels, and take advantage of the weak division in front of them.
If you give me 6-0 in division, with 3-1 against the AFC (which, if the Seahawks stayed as healthy as they need to, you’d think they’d go 4-0 against the AFC, but there’s always one of those weird outcomes seemingly out of our control every year against some random AFC team on the road), that’s 9-1 heading into the rest of the NFC slate. Figure you can’t lose more than 2 of those games to be safe, which means probably running the table on those home games against the Falcons, Redskins, and Eagles, and then making sure you steal a tie-breaker game on the road. Which is tough, because it looks like the Cowboys and Packers will be our primary competition for the top seed in the NFC. Indeed, that game in Dallas in Week 16 very well could be a showdown for the top spot, should everything break right for the Seahawks.
Probably the best thing about the schedule is that there’s really not a huge cluster of tough games back-to-back-to-back. Like I alluded to earlier, there’s 3 road games out of 4 (with a BYE mixed in) where we go @TEN, IND, @LAR, @ NYG. The Seahawks SHOULD win all of those games, or at least 3 of 4, but I could also see all of those games going sideways for a variety of reasons. Other than that, you have to say the toughest stretch would be WA, @ AZ, ATL right in the middle there, or LAR, @ DAL, AZ at the end, but both of those stretches have 2/3 games at home.
All in all, a lot to like. And a lot to work one’s self into a lather about, if given half a chance.