I have enough time right now to throw this piece together because I basically already wrote 3/4th's of it in my earlier previews. It's the afternoon of July 3rd and most of you won't be doing a lot of reading tomorrow (or maybe you will and like me you'll finish up Catching Fire) so now is the best time to finish up my preview of the Seattle Seahawks season schedule.
I've never examined a season schedule quite like I have over the past week of looking at the Hawks schedule in quarters. It's kind of interesting, especially the last quarter. Seattle plays three road divisional games early and then finishes off the season with three home divisional games. Basically, if the Seahawks manage to make it to the final quarter of the season within a game of first place, they should be the favorites. I might prefer homefield advantage more than most writers or fans, but that's only because its true: Playing at home is the biggest general advantage in football.
And do I even have to say it.... Playing in SEATTLE is one of the biggest homefield advantages in sports. Suck it, Cleveland! (I don't know why I pick on Cleveland so much. I should love them just for the fact that they make us look better in almost every way. Damn it, I'm a jerk.)
We took a look at the first twelve games and generally it was considered that the first four games are difficult but splittable. The second stretch of games is really difficult and a split would be fantastic. The third quarter is much more manageable and includes a break in week eleven. Let's say that Seattle comes out of that at 6-6. They'd likely need to sweep the final four and if they actually did sweep the final four, they could be in first place.
Come out of that stretch at 8-4 though and the Seahawks should be considered a great team that has a very good chance at getting a bye. I'm not trying to get ahead of myself and predict or propose that Seattle could go 8-4, I'm just saying that if they did, the Hawks would be in the upper echelon of teams with a nice home stretch. Ahh yes, the "home" stretch.
The Hawks will face three familiar foes and a fourth foible that faces fearsome football fiends, my friends. Sorry, that wasn't very fun. Let's wrap this sucker up.
Week Fourteen: Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals, a potential playoff team that's considered to be neck-and-neck with Seattle right now, must come up to Seattle in what could be a game of "in-or-out" for the postseason. Or it could be meaningless. That game is on December 9, who the hell knows what could happen between now and five months from now? I could, and probably should, be dead by then.
Arizona themselves might be quite damn tired by the time they reach Seattle. Their schedule leading up to that: at Green Bay, BYE, at Atlanta, St. Louis, at New York Jets, then at Seattle. That's their fourth road game in six weeks, and they're lucky to have a bye. But going from Atlanta, then home, then to New York and Seattle is a lot of travel. And the Cards ain't used to this December weather like we used to this December weather.
I don't dislike our odds of this game that's five months and change from now.
Week Fifteen: at Buffalo Bills
Playing at Buffalo may throw a bit of a wrench into our "sweep the final four" plan. At first glance, the Bills never seem like an opponent you have to worry about, but perceptions of good teams and bad teams can change pretty quickly. We play the Lions this year and how long ago would that have sounded like a GREAT! idea and now it's like, "Damn, we have to go to Detroit and they scores lots of points, dude!"
I am not sold on the Bills scoring a lot of points, but what about that defense? It's not just that they added Mario Williams (but that's really important) but the Bills also added defensive end Mark Anderson in free agency, and cornerback Stephon Gilmore as the 10th overall pick in the draft. The middle of their defensive line is also pretty solid with Kyle Williams and Marcell Dareus. All of that will revolve around Dave Wannstedt returning to be an NFL defensive coordinator, a job he's been pretty successful at.
And don't ya know that their offense wasn't much of a problem at all last year. They had a bad stretch in the middle of the season but still put up 40 on the Broncos in week 16. With a healthy Fred Jackson, the Bills could put up some points and grind you down. Don't forget that Jackson had almost 1,000 yards in ten games last season and 5.5 yards per carry. C.J. Spiller was excellent in spot duty and the two of them together will really ease the pressure off of Ryan Fitzpatrick to be great, which is good because he isn't great. But with Steve Johnson, David Nelson, and Donald Jones, he doesn't have to be great.
Which is why if the Bills defense comes together like it's expected to, the Bills could be a 10-win team or more. Maybe the biggest turnaround this season. Definitely don't underestimate the Bills when you see them there at the end of the schedule. They're so good that they might be in LA by this time next year!
Week Sixteen: San Francisco 49ers
Fuck the Niners.
Is this going to be the game that decides the division? We're at home, suckers.
If you want to read more about SF, go to part two of my preview.
Week Seventeen: St. Louis Rams
FU--- ... ehh. Whatever the Rams. Meh the Rams. Whelm the Rams.
It will be interesting to see how St. Louis changes this year under new leadership. Can Jeff Fisher make a name for himself in two NFL cities? Normally when a coach makes a name for himself in multiple stops, a la Bill Parcells, he's actually won a Super Bowl. I find it interesting that Fisher only had made the Super Bowl once in Tennessee and he lost, but he managed to keep his job forever. I actually admire the Titans will to keep him around and give him a chance. Coaches will get fired this year or next that probably don't deserve it.
Fisher is a smart coach, smart football guy, turned some Titans teams from nothing into something and kept them competitive for a long time, but he never got over the hump there and I'm not entirely sure he'll get the Rams over a hump. But he can probably keep them competitive and that could be really annoying.
I'm sure that by week seventeen they'll just be happy if Sam Bradford isn't breathing through a tube.
For more on the Rams and Cardinals, read part one of my preview.
For more on my life without a girlfriend, prospects, or really any hope in life other than making fun of people that are far richer and happier than me, read my twitter feed. If I get to 600 followers in the next week, I'll release a freestyle Seahawks rap video.