Mike Sando put together a good article about the shaft West Coast teams consistently get from the NFL in terms of scheduling early road games on the East Coast. Though us Left Coasters have complained about this for years, the NFL has not done anything significant to rectify the situation. While this gets me pretty riled up in principal, the one thing that stuck out to me in Sando's article was the fact that Seattle, over the past 5 years, is actually better in the 10am PST East Coast road games (10-16) than they are in the later games (7-15).
This makes me care a little bit less. But it's still annoying. However, the fact is, the Seahawks have stunk on the road in general for the past five years. Winning on the road is something that good teams do and until the Hawks have managed to gain some momentum and develop a road-warrior culture team-wide, they'll remain mediocre or middling at best. I know it's one of the top priorities for this front office and something they take seriously, so that gives me some hope.
Before free-agency starts I figured I'd take a look at the schedule and makes some notes about each game. We'll revisit this again just before the season and compare.
Week 1, September 11, 1:15 pm: At San Francisco 49ers: Another week one game against San Francisco but this time it's on the road. Should be a good game; of course a lot depends on who is starting for each team, but if we assume it's Alex Smith against Charlie Whitehurst, we can expect a defensive battle. The turnover margin will win this one. San Francisco was 5-3 at home last season and beat us pretty easily later in the year there. Storyline: The QB position for each team.
Week 2, September 18, 10:00 am: At Pittsburgh Steelers: This one will be tough. 10 am start time in Pittsburgh, one of the better defenses in the league. The Steelers were 5-3 at home last year as well. Hopefully they'll be slow starters in 2011 and the game will be competitive. At least we get this one pretty early in the year before it starts getting really cold. Storyline: Superbowl Rematch.
Week 3, September 25, 1:15 pm: Vs Arizona Cardinals: Our first home game, I can see the CLink being pretty riled up and will expect a win here. Obviously, depends on who is QB on each team, but either way I see a very competitive and exciting atmosphere in this one. Cards were 1-7 on the road last season so we'll most likely be favored. Storyline: Patrick Peterson matched up on Mike Williams... ? I dunno, maybe.
Week 4, October 2, 1:05 pm: Vs Atlanta Falcons: This will be my birthday so if any of you want to take me to the game that's cool with me. The Falcons will roll into town and I believe this will be a winnable game. Again, turnovers will factor in but if the Hawks fall behind early it could be bad news. We'll have to control the clock and keep Atlanta's offense off the field as much as possible. Falcons were 6-2 on the road in 2010. Storyline: Matt Ryan, Roddy White, and Julio Jones against the Hawks young secondary; their first major test (if you don't count Pitt as a passing team).
Week 5, October 9, 10:00 am: At NY Giants: Another really tough, early game. The good news is that the Giants were pretty all over the place last year, especially Peyton's brother, so hopefully we rattle him early and he struggles. Will be a good test of our new offensive line. Storyline: Revenge for last year's throttling.
Week 6: Bye: Storyline: Ice Baths, Healing, Stretching. That kind of stuff.
Week 7, October 23, 10:00 am: At Cleveland Browns: Cleveland was 3-5 at home last year. The Browns are actually a team I'm excited to watch next season and it's mostly due to the Holmgren factor. I feel like Holmy is my long last grandfather and I just like to see him succeed. Anyway, this game will be a test for our run defense as we take on the two-meatheaded monster in Owen Marecic lead blocking for Peyton Hillis. Should be fun. Storyline: The new vs the old - Holmgren v Carroll.
Week 8, October 30, 1:15 pm: Vs Cincinnati Bengals: The Bengals were 1-7 on the road last year so that's a good sign. I'm guessing they will suck if Andy Dalton is their QB in 2010. Here's what I really hope the storyline is: New Seattle Seahawk Carson Palmer giving a big F-U to his old team by smoking them for 400 yards and everyone will finally shut the hell up about us not drafting Andy Dalton. Dalton will throw 4 interceptions to Earl Thomas and Mark LeGree and fumble the ball in the endzone.
Week 9, November 6, 10:00 am: At Dallas Cowboys: This should be a tough game. Though the 'Boys sucked it up in 2010 I doubt that will happen again. Storyline: Romo botched that snap, and people don't forget.
Week 10, November 13, 1:05 pm: Vs Baltimore Ravens: This will be a good test for our young offense. Hopefully by week 10 the Ravens will have suffered some major injuries and will be weak. This game is definitely winnable but things will have to go our way. Storyline: Excited anticipation for Ray Lewis' pre-game dance.
Week 11, November 20, 1:05 pm: At St Louis Rams: Another good test for this young Seahawks team. Last year we got smoked by the Rams in their place so we'll be looking to get revenge for that. They'll be looking for revenge for week 17 and missing out on the playoffs. Should be a good game. Storyline: Rematch.
Week 12, November 27, 1:05 pm: Vs Washington Redskins: The Redskins were a mess last year and mostly due to Mike Shanahan's mad scientist way of tooling with the roster. I expect that they'll be better this year but of course that depends on who is running the show at QB. Storyline: Zoneblocking, run game battle royale.
Week 13, December 1, 5:20 pm: Vs Philadelphia Eagles (Thursday Night NFL Network Game): Should be a good game - if Kevin Kolb is the Seahawks QB that could be a very interesting storyline. If not, ... I guess the storyline would be Mike Vick coming to Seattle and people will most likely put up a fuss. If there's one player in the NFL that annoys me the most it would be DeSean Jackson, so hopefully we do something that embarrasses him in this game. I don't want him to get hurt, but if he were to fumble whilst celebrating or something I'd be ok with that.
Week 14, December 12, 5:30 pm: Vs St Louis Rams (MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL BABY): After a good rest break, the Hawks will come into this game mostly injury free (knock on wood) and ready to show the nation that they're still the best in the West. Could factor into the West Title race so could be a very big game. Storyline: Rematch part deux.
Week 15, December 18, 10:00 am: At Chicago Bears: December in Chicago. Ugly, cold and annoying we have to play there again. Will be a revenge game for us so we'll be jacked up. This is one of the games I'm most looking forward to. Would like to see Cutler play terribly. Storyline: It always comes back to Jay Cutler and whether he's actually any good or not.
Week 16, December 24, 1:15 pm: Vs San Francisco 49ers: These last two games could be big in the NFC West title race. Obviously a lot has to happen before week 16 for the Hawks to be in it, but if that's the case this last part of the year will be huge. Storyline: Either the Seahawks' impending draft position or chance for the NFC West title.
Week 17, January 1, 1:15 pm: At Arizona Cardinals: Same deal as last week - on one hand could be a huge game. If the Hawks are out of it and the Cardinals are in the race it's always fun to play spoiler. Storyline: Draft position/spoiler role/NFC West race.