SEATTLE – It’s a game fans have played since schedules were released by teletype and on the radio. Pore over it game-by-game, and guesstimate a win total.
It’s not easy to do in the NFL, with so many teams coming out of nowhere every season. So many injuries dashing the hopes of contenders. So many bad bounces of the oblong pigskin.
But here’s a look at every matchup of the season for the Seahawks, with a little commentary to help put each game in perspective.
We’re not picking winners, and surely the players will talk of taking things one game at a time. But don’t let that stop you from looking ahead.
Week One – at Denver, 1:25 p.m., Q13 FOX
Seattle’s former AFC West rival is coming off a 5-11 season, but they added Case Keenum after the veteran quarterback posted the best numbers of his career with the Vikings. Denver also drafted explosive running back Royce Freeman from Oregon, and he was recently named the starter. This will be a tough road test for the Seahawks’ inexperienced defense.
Week Two – at Chicago, 5:15 p.m., ESPN
The first of five scheduled prime time games for the Seahawks in 2018 takes them to Soldier Field on Monday night to face off with second-year signal caller Mitch Trubisky. If Seattle is going to get back to the playoffs, they can’t afford to suffer a loss here.
Week Three – vs. Dallas, 1:25 p.m., Q13 FOX
Seattle’s home opener brings the Cowboys to Seattle for the first time since Tony Romo torched the Legion of Boom for 250 yards and two touchdowns in a 30-23 Dallas victory in 2014. Since then, the Seahawks have beat the Cowboys twice on the road – including last year. This could be another winnable game, but it won’t be easy.
Week Four – at Arizona, 1:05 p.m., Q13 FOX
Bruce Arians and Carson Palmer are both gone in the desert. In their place are new head coach Steven Wilks and rookie quarterback Josh Rosen. Seattle should be able to continue its trend of beating the Cardinals on the road, something they’ve done four times in Russell Wilson’s six seasons.
Week Five – vs. L.A. Rams, 1:25 p.m., Q13 FOX
The Rams were clearly the best team in the NFC West last season, and they only got better in the offseason — at least on paper — with the additions of former Pro Bowlers Ndamukong Suh, Aqib Talib, Sam Shields and Marcus Peters on defense. That’s a scary thought to pair with L.A.’s high-powered offense.
Week Six – vs. Oakland in London, 10 a.m., Q13 FOX
The Seahawks make their first trip across the pond, and waiting for them will be their former running back Marshawn Lynch and former ESPN analyst Jon Gruden. This will be a difficult test, especially for a team that already travels more miles than any other franchise every season.
Week Seven – BYE
The bye week comes at a good time for the Seahawks, close to the middle of the season and right after the trek to London. The team will surely be ready for some rest.
Week Eight – at Detroit, 10 a.m., Q13 FOX
Matthew Stafford has played well against the Seahawks in the past, but that’s only translated into one win in four tries. Just like Seattle, the Lions are coming off a 9-7 season. Detroit, though, hired a new head coach in Matt Patricia. This will likely be another critical game for both teams.
Week Nine – vs. L.A. Chargers, 1:05 p.m., CBS
Philip Rivers picked apart Seattle’s young secondary in the first preseason game. Perhaps a half-season of experience will have the Seahawks better prepared this time. All Pro Earl Thomas’ return from his preseason holdout could mean a lot as well.
Week 10 – at L.A. Rams, 1:25 p.m., CBS
Speaking of Thomas, it was in Los Angeles against the Rams last season that he made another one of his signature plays, chasing down running back Todd Gurley and forcing a fumble right before he crossed into the end zone. The Seahawks won that game 16-10 and could use more of the same magic in this one.
Week 11 – vs. Green Bay, 5:20 p.m., Q13 FOX
The Seahawks and Packers have played some memorable games over the years. Perhaps none more memorable than Seattle’s 28-22 overtime victory in the NFC Championship a few years back. Since then, the Packers have won three in a row in the series and will certainly be poised for another one as long as Aaron Rodgers is healthy.
Week 12 – at Carolina, 10 a.m., Q13 FOX
Seattle has recently played some tough games with the Panthers, too. In fact, last year was the first time in Russell Wilson’s career he didn’t play Carolina. Including two playoff games, the teams played seven times from 2012-16. The series resumes this year and will likely be a key matchup in the race for the playoffs.
Week 13 – vs. San Francisco, 5:20 p.m., NBC
Richard Sherman’s return to CenturyLink Field will be on everyone’s mind, but whether or not the Niners actually live up to the preseason hype will be more important. San Francisco has finished last in the division three consecutive seasons, but after finishing last year on a five-game winning streak, many are expecting big things from the Hawks’ rival.
Week 14 – vs. Minnesota, 5:15 p.m., ESPN
With the Seahawks’ swoon last year, the Vikings took over the distinction of having the best defense in the league, allowing the fewest points and yards en route to a 13-3 record and trip to the conference title game. Minnesota comes in with even higher expectations this year after adding free-agent QB Kirk Cousins. This will be a tough one.
Week 15 – at San Francisco, 1:05 p.m., Q13 FOX
If the Niners and Seahawks end up competing for second place in the NFC West, which many have predicted, this game could be critical in the race for the wild card. Both games against San Francisco could be the difference between a winning record or a losing one.
Week 16 – vs. Kansas City, 5:20 p.m., NBC
After three straight seasons in the playoffs, Andy Reid and company turn their prolific offense over to Patrick Mahomes after trading Alex Smith to Washington. We’ll know by Week 16 if that was the right decision if the Chiefs are still in line for a playoff spot in December.
Week 17 – vs. Arizona, 1:25 p.m., Q13 FOX
The Cardinals at home to end the season seems like a tradition. So does a Seattle loss. Last year, Arizona came to town and handed the Seahawks a disappointing end to the season. In fact, Arizona has won four of the last five games they’ve played at CenturyLink Field, a trend the Seahawks will be looking to turn around.