Choosing Seahawks games prior to the season is complete folly, but I give it a go anyway…
With injuries and the ascendancy or inefficiency of players, the NFL season’s narrative is always fluid. Teams that may look weak before the schedule starts may end up being very good by week eight. It happens. Every year.
Here is what I think will be the Seahawks’ easiest games to the toughest, starting with the game the Seahawks are most likely to win. I remind you, it is only June. (You can complain to me in December.)
1. Week 2 at home versus the San Francisco 49ers
Why?: This will be Seattle’s first home game of the season. Week one will feature the Packers in Green Bay, so the Seahawks will either want to bounce back from a loss or build more momentum off the big win. The 49ers are not very good. In fact, they should be terrible. Whatever happens in week one, Seattle will win in week two.
2. Week 12 at the 49ers
Why?: Have I mentioned the 49ers are awful? They will not get any better during the season.
3. Week 15 at home versus the Los Angeles Rams
Why?: I know, I know. The Rams are always difficult for the Seahawks. At least, they were under former coach Jeff Fisher. The Rams will still have a good defense, but their offense may not be any better. Plus, there is no Fisher on the other side. That has to help the Seahawks mentally.
4. Week 13 at home versus the Philadelphia Eagles
Why?: The Seahawks totally overmatched the Eagles in 2016. There is no reason to think that Philadelphia will be that much better in 2017. The Eagles are not a bad team; they just do not have the right personnel when facing Seattle.
5. Week 5 in Los Angeles versus the Rams
Why?: Again, the Rams, on paper, do not have nearly as good a team as Seattle. The Seahawks face some really good opponents in 2017, but the Rams are not one of them. That said, this is still the Rams and they seem to give the Seahawks fits for some reason (i.e. Aaron Donald).
6. Week 9 at home versus the Washington Redskins
Why?: The Redskins are a decent team with a good quarterback. If Kirk Cousins plays well in Seattle, the Seahawks could lose. The problem for him is that he lost some good receivers in Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson. I think losing that talent is enough to make Seattle the solid favorite.
7. Week 4 at home versus the Indianapolis Colts
Why?: This is a Sunday prime time game in Seattle. The Seahawks do not normally lose those. Andrew Luck is a great quarterback, but Russell Wilson will want to show he is better. There have always been Luck-Wilson comparisons. Luck got the better of the Seahawks in 2013. Wilson should beat the Colts in 2017.
8. Week 14 in Jacksonville versus the Jaguars
Why?: This is one of those tricky games. The Jags always seem to disappoint. The problem for the Seahawks, though, is that Jacksonville has drafted pretty well over the last two years. They signed some quality defensive free agents this offseason. This game is also the Seahawks only 10 am start in 2017. Maybe not a trap game, but could be a tight contest.
9. Week 17 at home versus the Arizona Cardinals
Why?: The Seahawks were a better team than the Cardinals in 2016, but did not show it in head-to-head games. Seattle tied one in overtime on the road and lost at home. Arizona is old, but they are not without talent. If Carson Palmer is healthy enough to play in both Seattle games this year, the Seahawks will have to play well to win. This game is at CenturyLink, though, so Seattle should win.
10. Week 10 in Arizona versus the Cardinals
Why?: See above. Plus, this game is a Thursday night prime time game and a short week for the Seahawks after playing the Redskins the previous Sunday.
11. Week 8 at home versus the Houston Texans
Why?: Houston has a great defense. That unit could be even better in 2017 if J.J. Watt stays healthy. The problem for the Texans, as everyone knows, is they have a big unknown at quarterback. A young-ish quarterback on the road in Seattle? That usually bodes poorly for the Seahawks opponent.
12. Week 3 in Nashville versus the Tennessee Titans
Why?: The Titans were on the verge of making the playoffs last year. They are a good young team with a good quarterback and great running backs. Tennessee’s defense should be better than 2016. This is a game where the Titans will want to show they are an upcoming team. A defeat of Seattle would be a huge statement for them.
13. Week 7 in New York (New Jersey!) versus the Giants
Why?: Eli Manning has never been successful against the Seahawks. In fact, he has been horrible. He does, though, have a good defense and Odell Beckham. Seattle corner Richard Sherman against Beckham should be great and non-Giants and non-Seahawks fans should tune in to the game for that alone. The Seahawks get a bit of a break, though, as New Jersey should still be mild in week seven so Seattle should not have to deal with inclement weather.
14. Week 11 at home versus the Atlanta Falcons
Why?: The Falcons may be the most talented team in the NFC in 2017. They should have won the Super Bowl last season. The Falcons did lose their offensive coordinator, Kyle Shanahan, to the 49ers, and that might make a difference. Atlanta will still have Matt Ryan and Julio Jones, among others, though. The positives for Seattle? This is a prime time game at home after a 10-day layoff. Plus, Seattle will want revenge for their playoff loss last year.
15. Week 16 in Dallas versus the Cowboys
Why?: Dallas should now be established as a playoff contender. They are difficult to beat at home. Moreover, the Seahawks have basically stunk in penultimate games the last few years for some reason. Hopefully, Seattle has a playoff spot sealed by this game and a loss means only they lose ground in the home-field advantage race.
16. Week 1 in Green Bay versus the Packers
Why?: While the Seahawks play in Green Bay when weather conditions should be fine, they start the season on the road against a really good team. The Packers will not want to overcome another bad start in 2017 as they had in 2016. Green Bay may still be looking for a running game, but they also still have Aaron Rodgers. I will say this, Rodgers is the best quarterback in the game. Tom Brady is 5-2 in Super Bowls. Put Rodgers on those same Patriot teams and my guess is Rodgers has more wins than five.
All that said, you just know Eddie Lacy wants to run for 300 yards in this game.