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Seattle Seahawks 2016 NFL Schedule: Dates, game times, strength of schedule and more

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Seahawks' 2016 schedule has now been announced! I'm not going to waste your time with pleasantries. Here it is.

Seahawks 2016 schedule:

1 9/11/2016 Miami Dolphins 1:05 PM CBS
2 9/18/2016 At Los Angeles Rams 1:05 PM FOX
3 9/25/2016 San Francisco 49ers 1:05 PM FOX
4 10/2/2016 At New York Jets 10:05 AM FOX
6 10/16/2016 Atlanta Falcons 1:25 PM FOX
7 10/23/2016 At Arizona Cardinals (SNF) 5:30 PM NBC
8 10/30/2016 At New Orleans Saints 10:00 AM FOX
9 11/7/2016 Buffalo Bills (MNF) 5:30 PM ESPN
10 11/13/2016 At New England Patriots (SNF) 5:30 PM NBC
11 11/20/2016 Philadelphia Eagles 1:25 PM CBS
12 11/27/2016 At Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1:05 PM FOX
13 12/4/2016 Carolina Panthers (SNF) 5:30 PM NBC
14 12/11/2016 At Green Bay Packers 1:25 PM FOX
15 12/15/2016 Los Angeles Rams (TNF) 5:25 PM NBC/NFLN/Twitter
16 12/24/2016 Arizona Cardinals 1:25 PM FOX
17 1/1/2017 At San Francisco 49ers 1:25 PM FOX

As you can see, Seattle opens the year against the Dolphins at home, which is a nice surprise. They'll then travel to Los Angeles to take on the Rams in the LA Coliseum, which is sure to be a fun return for Pete Carroll. They come back home to face the Niners in Week 3, then hit the road in Week 4 at the Jets.

Their bye is Week 5. There are two 10am start times. There are five primetime games. This schedule looks pretty fun.

How the schedule is formed

The NFL schedule is formulaic. The two divisions that Seattle gets to face (which is based on a rotation), in addition to the six games against their NFC West rivals, are the AFC East and the NFC South. Yes, that means that once again, Seattle will have to play the Panthers, who have become what seems to be a de facto division opponent. Obviously, they'll also draw the Falcons, the Saints, and the Buccaneers. As for the AFC East, it will mean Seattle will get a tantalizing rematch with the Patriots in New England, and get to face off against the Dolphins, Jets, and Bills as well.

Finally, Seattle gets to face NFC North and NFC East teams that finished in the same respective spots in the standings. This year, with the Seahawks' 2nd place finish in the NFC West, they draw the Packers (2nd place - NFC North) at Lambeau Field, and the Eagles (2nd place - NFC East) at home. Obviously, it's always fun to play in Green Bay, and the Eagles will be a new-look group in a lot of ways next season so that will be interesting as well.

Strength of schedule:

So, we now know the order of Seattle's games and when they'll be played. As per usual, Seattle's schedule looks pretty tough. They get 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 how it looks.

T-1. Atlanta Falcons (0.555)
T-1. San Francisco 49ers (0.555)
3. Los Angeles Rams (0.551)
4. New Orleans Saints (0.547)
T-5. Seattle Seahawks (0.543)
T-5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0.543)
T-7. Arizona Cardinals (0.531)
T-7. New York Jets (0.531)
9. New England Patriots (0.523)
10. Buffalo Bills (0.520)
11. Miami Dolphins (0.516)
12. Carolina Panthers (0.512)
13. San Diego Chargers (0.508)
14. Denver Broncos (0.504)
15. Oakland Raiders (0.500)
16. Kansas City Chiefs (0.496)
17. Washington Redskins (0.492)
18. Minnesota Vikings (0.488)
T-19. Baltimore Ravens (0.484)
T-19. Houston Texans (0.484)
21. Cleveland Browns (0.480)
22. Indianapolis Colts (0.477)
T-23. Jacksonville Jaguars (0.473)
T-23. Pittsburgh Steelers (0.473)
T-23. Tennessee Titans (0.473)
26. Philadelphia Eagles (0.469)
T-27. Cincinnati Bengals (0.465)
T-27. Detroit Lions (0.465)
T-27. Dallas Cowboys (0.465)
T-30. Chicago Bears (0.461)
T-30. New York Giants (0.461)
32. Green Bay Packers (0.457)

What do you think?