The Seahawks will have a chance to get off to a fast start before playing a host of night games at midseason and finishing with four West Coast games in the final five weeks as the NFC is decided, according to the NFL schedule released today.
The Seahawks tied 2015 with a team-record five prime-time games: at Arizona in Week 7, home vs. Buffalo in Week 9, at New England in Week 10, home vs. Carolina in Week 13 and home vs. the Rams in Week 15. They have three home night games for the first time since 2006.
They have just two 10 a.m. starts: at the Jets in Week 3 and at New Orleans in Week 8. The Seahawks are 8-8 in 10 a.m. starts since Russell Wilson became QB in 2012.
The Seahawks also have just two possible cold-weather games: at New England on Nov. 13 and at Green Bay on Dec. 11.
The Hawks will open against the Miami Dolphins at home on Sept. 11, as cornerback Byron Maxwell returns to face his former team.
They then head to California for the Rams’ second game back in Los Angeles since they left in 1995. It will feature the return of Pete Carroll to Los Angeles Coliseum, where he coached USC for a decade. The Rams could be starting the No. 1 pick in the draft at quarterback — Jared Goff or Carson Wentz — after making a big trade with Tennessee earlier today.
The Seahawks then host the 49ers and new coach Chip Kelly and play at the Jets before a Week 5 bye. It is just their second first-half bye in Wilson’s five seasons. They had a Week 4 bye in 2014, Week 9 in 2015, Week 11 in 2012 and Week 12 in 2013.
Worst case, the Seahawks should be 3-1 heading into the bye.
They host former DC Dan Quinn’s Falcons coming off the bye in Week 6. Then they play their only consecutive road games: at Arizona on “Sunday Night Football” in Week 7 and at New Orleans to finish October.
That leads into consecutive night games vs. AFC East teams: home vs. Buffalo on “Monday Night Football” and then the Super Bowl XLIX rematch with the Patriots on Nov. 13. The Patriots will be coming off their bye, while the Seahawks will be playing on a short week. but the Seahawks will be plenty pumped.
The Hawks should be no worse than 6-3 after the Patriots game.
The Hawks play four of the last seven at home — and two of the road games are in California, thanks to the Rams’ move back to L.A. That’s as friendly as they could have hoped for to finish the season.
They start Week 11 at home with the Eagles, then head to Tampa Bay for an afternoon game. Both of those teams have new coaches this year.
The NFL set it up so the NFC will be decided in December.
The Hawks will return to Seattle in Week 13 for a huge revenge rematch against Carolina, which swept two games from Seattle last season, knocking the Hawks out of the playoffs. The Seahawks should be jacked for this Sunday night battle. It will be their seventh meeting in five seasons.
They follow that with another trip to the Packers, whom they will play for the fifth time in five years. It’s possible this big NFC match will be flexed to prime time, but it is currently set as the national afternoon TV game.
The Seahawks then finish with their division foes — a Thursday night home game vs. the Rams, a Christmas Eve day game vs. Arizona and the New Year’s Day finale in San Francisco.
All in all, it is a solid slate — with nothing really to complain about for a team facing the fifth-toughest schedule in the league (based on 2015).
Let’s put the over/under at 11 wins.