We don't yet know the Seahawks' full schedule for the 2016 season, but we do know their opponents, including which teams Seattle will play at home and on the road.
The two divisions that Seattle gets (which is based on a rotation) next year, in addition to the two games against each of their NFC West rivals, are the AFC East and the NFC South. That means Seattle will play the Panthers and Falcons at the CLink, the Saints, and the Buccaneers on the road. They'll draw the Patriots in New England, and the Jets in New York, and get to face off against the Dolphins, and Bills at home. With Seattle's 2nd place finish in the NFC West, they also draw the Packers (2nd place - NFC North) at Lambeau Field, and the Eagles (2nd - NFC East) at home.
So, is that a hard schedule?
Seattle gets the NFC Champion Panthers again, and the Patriots, Jets, and Bills aren't slouches. Nor are the Eagles and Packers, and as with every year, all of the NFC West opponents should make things tough for Seattle as well (well, except for maybe the 49ers, but Chip Kelly is the wild card).
So, on the surface, it definitely appears to be a tough schedule heading into 2016. Based on one way of looking at it -- using the 2015 records of the Seahawks opponents -- Seattle has the fifth toughest schedule in the NFL in 2016.
Here's the full list, via CBS Sports.
1. San Francisco 49ers: 142-114, .555
1. Atlanta Falcons: 142-114, .555
3. Los Angeles Rams: 141-115, .551
4. New Orleans Saints: 140-116, .547
5. Seattle Seahawks: 139-117, .543
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 139-117, .543
7. Arizona Cardinals: 136-120, .531
7. New York Jets: 136-120, .531
9. New England Patriots: 134-122, .523
10. Buffalo Bills: 133-123, .520
11. Miami Dolphins: 132-124, .516
12. Carolina Panthers: 131-125, .512
13. San Diego Chargers: 130-126, .508
14. Denver Broncos: 129-127, .504
15. Oakland Raiders: 128-128, .500
16. Kansas City Chiefs: 127-129, .496
17. Washington Redskins: 126-130, .492
18. Minnesota Vikings: 125-131, .488
19. Houston Texans: 124-132, .484
19. Baltimore Ravens: 124-132, .484
21. Cleveland Browns: 123-133, .480
22. Indianapolis Colts: 122-134, .477
23. Pittsburgh Steelers: 121-135, .473
23. Tennessee Titans: 121-135, .473
23. Jacksonville Jaguars: 121-135, .473
26. Philadelphia Eagles: 120-136, .469
27. Cincinnati Bengals: 119-137, .465
27. Detroit Lions: 119-137, .465
27. Dallas Cowboys: 119-137, .465
30. Chicago Bears: 118-138, .461
30. New York Giants: 118-138, .461
32. Green Bay Packers: 117-139, .457
Now, of course, strength of schedule based on last year's records... doesn't always mean a whole lot. There are consistently good teams like the Patriots, Packers, and Panthers, of course, but there is so much change from one year to the next in terms of team quality league-wide, that it's been shown that looking at this strength of schedule based on the previous year isn't super helpful.
So, uh, you're welcome, for publishing it anyway.
Nonetheless, it was as good of a time as any to re-print the Seahawks' 2016 opponents to get a better idea of which teams to watch once the draft season starts to pick up. You can come up with your own conclusions about how difficult this schedule is, but the truth is, we won't really know much until the season is humming along. Games that look really tough on the schedule during the offseason can look like cake-walks once the season gets going, and games that initially looked easy can quickly turn into really challenging games as well.
Seahawks home games, 2016:
Seahawks road games, 2016:
New Orleans Saints
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
New England Patriots
New York Jets
Green Bay Packers
San Francisco 49ers
Los Angeles Rams