The Minnesota-Green Bay game on Sunday night did more than settle Seattle’s playoff destination: It determined which NFC North team the Seahawks will face in 2016.
The Seahawks will play a second-place schedule next season, which means they will once again face the Green Bay Packers, who finished second to the Vikings in the North.
The Packers and Philadelphia Eagles were the only unknowns entering Week 17. The Hawks already were set to face the NFC South, AFC East and, of course, NFC West.
The Seahawks and Packers will face off for the fifth time in five years (assuming the teams don’t meet in the NFC title game again this season — a safe assumption considering how pathetic the Packers have become). Like this year, that game will be in Green Bay.
The Seahawks also will travel to New Orleans, Tampa Bay, New England and the New York Jets. If they don’t meet the Patriots in Super Bowl 50, this will be the Seahawks’ revenge game for Super Bowl XLIX.
The New Orleans game will be yet another chance for everyone to evaluate the Jimmy Graham-Max Unger trade — will Sean Payton still be coaching the Saints?
At home, the Seahawks will host Dan Quinn’s Atlanta Falcons and also see the Carolina Panthers for probably the seventh time in five years (assuming they face off in the playoffs again this season). Miami and Philadelphia both will come to Seattle with new coaches (will Darrell Bevell be one of them?). Also, Rex Ryan’s Buffalo Bills will come to Seattle — will former Bills Marshawn Lynch, Fred Jackson and Tarvaris Jackson still be with the Seahawks?
As it stands, the home slate looks a lot easier than the road schedule — good for at least six wins. They should at least split the road games, so we’re giving them an over/under of 10 wins in 2016.
2016 home opponents: Atlanta, Carolina, Buffalo, Miami, Philadelphia, Arizona, San Francisco, St. Louis
2016 road opponents: New Orleans, Tampa Bay, New England, New York Jets, Green Bay, Arizona, San Francisco, St. Louis
In 2017, the Seahawks are scheduled to play the NFC East — hosting the Eagles again — and AFC South, with corresponding foes in the NFC North and South.
In 2018, the Hawks are set to play the Packers in Seattle again, along with the rest of the NFC North and the AFC West.