The NFL released its entire 2017/18 regular season schedule on Thursday evening, just weeks after its critically acclaimed preseason schedule release spectacular on NFL Network aired. The Seattle Seahawks will face their usual NFC West opponents twice, as well as the AFC South, NFC East, and fellow division-winners inside the NFC - the Atlanta Falcons, Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers. As always, there’s bound to be some great matchups this season, so let’s get to the watchability rankings:
16. @ San Francisco 49ers, Week 12
Seahawks fan will surely be entertained by a NFC West beatdown, but don’t expect a competitive game. The 49ers have the worst roster in the entire league, and Levi Stadium is a terribly boring venue for NFL football. At least it’s a nice, gradual come down following one of the toughest games on Seattle’s schedule.
15. @ Arizona Cardinals, Week 10 - TNF
Last season, there was genuine excitement around the Cardinals and Seahawks matchups; the division champion against a dominant team fighting to win their division back - which they did with ease. This season, it’s only question marks; if the Cardinals and Carson Palmer don’t bounce back from last year’s down season, it won’t be much of a game at all. Unfortunately, it comes late enough in the year that we won’t even get to enjoy Tony Romo on the call - this game will air on NBC.
14. vs Los Angeles Rams, Week 15
Jeff Fisher’s departure from the Rams just prior to the team’s game against Seattle last year seemed to finally rid the Seahawks of their bogey team, but in its place we get a great defense led by a great defensive coordinator in Wade Phillips. At least Seattle won’t be wearing neon green?
13. vs San Francisco 49ers, Week 2
For as difficult of a matchup Week One in Green Bay is bound to be, Week Two at home against the 49ers should be a breeze. It’ll be new head coach Kyle Shanahan’s first trip to CenturyLink Field as the head honcho, and general manager John Lynch’s first trip to Seattle since last season WHEN HE WAS CALLING THE GAME IN THE BROADCAST BOOTH!!? The first NFC West game of the year, and the home opener for the Seahawks should be entertaining, but not totally competitive.
12. @ Jacksonville Jaguars, Week 14
Just when you think you’ve finally ridded yourself of that 6’8” pain in the ass they call Calais Campbell, you find yourself on a plane to Jacksonville in December. By Week 14 we’ll have a very clear idea of whether 2016 was a blip on the map for Blake Bortles, or if that’s just who he will be moving forward. The watchability of this game hinges on Bortles and the Jaguars finally reaching their sky-high offseason potential, but if history is any indicator we’re sure to be let down. But.. did I mention there is a swimming pool in the stadium!?
11. vs Arizona Cardinals, Week 17
The Seahawks will get a chance to avenge last year’s ugly and frustrating loss to the Cardinals in Week 17, a game overflowing with mistakes and shocked Pete Carroll facial expressions. On the off chance the NFC West title is still up for grabs, this game rockets up the watchability rankings - and probably into prime-time - but I wouldn’t hold my breath. Hopefully this game is little more than a dress rehearsal on a cold, rainy afternoon in Seattle.
10. vs Washington, Week 9
The NFL’s tire fire will slowly roll into CenturyLink Field for a Week 9 game against the Seahawks. This game had a chance to creep into the top half of the watchability rankings, but firing the only competent person in their front office and a stacked schedule pushed Washington back down. If anything, it’ll be fun to watch Seattle’s defense combat Jordan Reed, Jamison Crowder, Josh Doctson and Kirk Cousins for four quarters.
9. @ Los Angeles Rams, Week 5
For the first time since Jeff Fisher was hired by the Rams, I’m genuinely excited for a Rams versus Seahawks game. New head coach and still very young man Sean McVay seems to be creating a refreshingly fun and exciting culture in Los Angeles, and should be able to get the best out of Jared Goff - whatever that may be.
8. vs Houston Texans, Week 8
This game could’ve been one of the marquee matchups of the season, but the Texans were gun shy, Tony Romo works for CBS now, and as it stands Tom Savage will be under center when Houston comes to Seattle in Week 8. Two top-five defenses will always be a treat to watch, and I’m betting that one of this year’s rookie quarterbacks will be starting for the Texans by the time this game rolls around. This could be a sneaky-exciting game if everything shakes out the way I think it will.
7. @ Tennessee Titans, Week 3
Last year’s upstart team in the AFC South, the Titans blended budding star Marcus Mariota with smash mouth running from DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry on the way to a 9-7 finish and a division title cruelly taken from their grasps when Mariota went down injured late in the year. Titans’ general manager Jon Robinson is building a great team down in Nashville and they get a litmus test early on to see where they stack up against the league’s elite in 2017.
6. vs Philadelphia Eagles, Week 13 - SNF
This will be quarterback Carson Wentz and the Philadelphia Eagles’ second trip in two seasons to Seattle, and it is shaping up to be a really exciting matchup. The Eagles added wide receivers Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith in the offseason, giving Wentz two legitimate weapons on the outside, and giving the Seahawks’ defense a stiffer task than last season’s Nelson Agholar Celebration of Drops Day. Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz’s defense only got better this offseason, and will give Russell Wilson’s offense all they can handle up front.
5. @ New York Giants, Week 7
I’ll always put a game at MetLife Stadium far up the watchability rankings - ahh, memories - and this game in particular should be great. The Giants are bringing back the majority of last year’s great defense, and they added an old Richard Sherman foe, Brandon Marshall, in the offseason. Two great defenses and a stacked receiver core against the Legion of Boom should make for a fun NFC matchup.
4. vs Indianapolis Colts, Week 4 - SNF
It’s Andrew Luck against Russell Wilson, at home, on Sunday Night Football. The Colts are acting like a competent organization for perhaps the first time in Luck’s career, and he should hopefully be 100-percent healthy for the first time in years when this game rolls around. Prime-time at CenturyLink Field is always special, and chapter two of Luck vs Wilson should be no different.
3. @ Green Bay Packers, Week 1
As far as tough starts go, it doesn’t get much tougher than this. Thankfully, Seattle will get their third-in-four-years trip to Green Bay out of the way early before the bitter cold arrives. A motivated, healthy Eddie Lacy will lead the charge in an awesome Week One game between two NFC powerhouses. Last year’s bludgeoning aside, the Packers and Seattle usually produce some classics, so this game ranks high on the watchability scale.
2. @ Dallas Cowboys, Week 16
Two of the conference’s elites meet on Christmas Eve! Home field advantage could be on the line when the vaunted Seahawks defense meets Dak Prescot and Ezekiel Elliott for the first time. Gather your family around the television and enjoy three hours of Elliott versus Seattle’s defense and Dez Bryant versus Richard Sherman, while two league heavyweights go toe-to-toe.
1. vs Atlanta Falcons, Week 11 - MNF
Yeah, it doesn’t get better than this: Monday Night Football in Seattle. The team that eliminated the Seahawks from last year’s playoffs. The NFC champion and Super Bowl runner ups coming to town. Uncle Dan coming home. Steve Sarkisian sort of coming back. A high-flying offense against a fast, aggressive defense. So many shots of fish being thrown. So many commercial breaks faded out to any of Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Nirvana or Alice in Chains. This should be the most exciting game of the regular season for the Seahawks.
Sixteen weeks of exciting and great Seattle Seahawks football to look forward to. It’s easy to take for granted what a beautiful golden age of the Seahawks history we’re enjoying, but 2017 has some tough games ahead - hopefully they extend into February, 2018.