The NFL released the full schedule for the 2018 season on Thursday night, headlined by its annual Thursday Night Kickoff game, with the Atlanta Falcons travelling to the Philadelphia Eagles to open the season. With every schedule, there’s always some great games and some painfully dull matchups. For every Week 7, 2011, there’s bound to be a Week 14, 2012. So what will be the most and least watchable games on the Seattle Seahawks’ 2018 schedule?
16 - @ Arizona Cardinals, Week 4
While it’s Seattle’s first game against a new look Cardinals team without Carson Palmer or Bruce Arians, and the first NFC West matchup on the Seahawks’ schedule, the glamour ends there. Arizona looks all set to begin a rebuild this season — don’t tell them that — and with Sam Bradford under center, the methodical, accurate quarterback doesn’t provide the entertainment of a downfield, pass-happy offense led by Arians and Palmer.
15 - vs L.A. Chargers, Week 9
This matchup has a couple things going for it: Brandon Mebane’s return to Seattle and it sparks memories of an incredibly fun 2010 game between the Chargers and Seahawks, featuring breakout performances from a then-rookie Earl Thomas and two touchdowns from kick returner Leon Washington. Beyond the nostalgia factor, it’s a visit from an AFC foe, in the middle of the season, on a Sunday afternoon. Just another game.
14 - vs Arizona Cardinals, Week 17
The same reasons for the Week 4 matchup between Arizona and Seattle being ranked last apply here. Making matters worse, who knows who will be under center for a listless Cardinals team by the time Week 17 rolls around. The only two things this game has going for it is its location (home) and the potential for win-and-in implications for the Seahawks.
13 - @ Detroit Lions, Week 8
- Potential wildcard implications, albeit coming early in the season.
- Fresh off a bye week.
- 10 AM kickoff... in a dome!
GOLDEN TATE REVENGE GAME!!!
12 - @ Carolina Panthers, Week 12
There was a time not too long ago when a Seahawks-Panthers matchup felt like a seventh divisional game, with the teams facing one another so often between the regular season and playoffs. Two teams that played with punishing styles are undergoing transitions on both sides of the ball, and might not recognize the team across from them come Week 12. However, it’s still Cam Newton against Bobby Wagner, Russell Wilson against Luke Kuechly, and it very well could have playoff implications. Unfortunately, it’s one of three 10 AM kickoffs.
11 - @ Denver Broncos, Week 1
Let’s be honest: Being the first game of the season gives this game a massive bump. So does the potential for Sebastian Janikowski magic. Revisiting an old AFC West rivalry is always fun, too. Von Miller rushing against Germain Ifedi, is not! Disclaimer: This game rises rapidly up the rankings if Denver stuns the league by drafting a quarterback and it sets up to be a Baker Mayfield/Josh Rosen NFL debut.
10 - vs Dallas Cowboys, Week 3
Early in the season, and so soon after the last game between Dallas and Seattle should probably bump this game down a bit, but there’s something special about playing the Cowboys. Especially after the two teams have met often enough this decade to establish a light rivalry. Dez Bryant and Richard Sherman’s departure from the matchup dims its shine, but not enough. For the sake of transparency: I’m expecting this to be Earl Thomas’s Dallas Cowboys against the Seahawks, in Seattle. Emotions could be raw and high.
9 - @ San Francisco 49ers, Week 15
After the 49ers-Seahawks rivalry went cold in recent years, the arrival of Jimmy Garoppolo has potentially re-sparked one of the league’s best rivalries of the decade. San Francisco, the L.A. Rams and Seattle all figure to be in the wildcard and NFC West hunt in Week 15, so this matchup figures to have huge playoff implications. Plus, it’s the second game in three weeks between the two teams. In the immortal words of Chris Ballard, the rivalry is back on!
8 - vs Green Bay Packers, Week 11
Thursday Night Football is the worst night on the NFL schedule, it’s a terrible idea and it rarely produces quality games, but Seahawks-Packers is just... different. The last two times Green Bay has visited Seattle produced classics, and Jimmy Graham’s return could be no different. It’s two NFC powerhouses in a strange, ‘which way are you going to go with it’ phase, meeting in prime-time. Getting into the final stretch of the NFL season, this game is set to be wonderfully tense.
7 - @ Chicago Bears, Week 2
Monday Night Football at Soldier Field is a truly beautiful event. Add in a new look Chicago Bears team that is lined up to be an entertaining follow in 2018, and you have the makings of an awesome early season prime-time affair. It’s perhaps the best play action passer in the league in Mitchell Trubisky, running an inventive, sideline-to-sideline passing game, against a fast and rangy defense. Monday Night Football hits its stride in Week 2.
6 - @ L.A. Rams, Week 10
The Seahawks and Rams round out their season series in the second week of November, with the potential for huge division tiebreakers down the line. Seattle will feel like they owe the Rams after last December; L.A. will feel like they owe the Seahawks after losing at home early last season. It’s the division’s old champion against the new champion, and it will be glorious.
5 - @ Oakland Raiders, in London, Week 6
It’s in London and therefore a new, exciting place to watch Seattle play. More importantly, it’s going to invoke some very strange emotions. Marshawn Lynch running at/over Seahawks defenders. Bruce Irvin trying to sack Wilson. Jon Gruden doing Jon Gruden things. And all... in London!
4 - vs San Francisco 49ers, Week 13
The first of two games in three weeks between Seattle and the 49ers will see Garoppolo make his first start at CenturyLink Field, but more importantly, see Richard Sherman return to the city where he became a legend. Add in the element of prime-time (Sunday Night Football) and the late season division ramifications, and this matchup becomes one of the best.
3 - vs L.A. Rams, Week 5
42-7... at home!?! The way the Seahawks react in the first game since — again at home — will be captivating.
2 - vs Kansas City Chiefs, Week 16
This game craters down the rankings if sophomore quarterback Patrick Mahomes doesn’t live up to expectations, but as it stands, I expect the Chiefs to be one of the most exciting teams in the league in 2018. Sunday Night Football, another old AFC West rivalry and an AFC juggernaut coming to Seattle is a recipe for a prime-time classic.
1 - vs Minnesota Vikings, Week 14
Last season, Kirk Cousins came to CenturyLink Field and played one of his toughest, most clutch games with Washington in a 17-14 win. In 2018, Cousins will return with his new team and one of the NFC favorites. It’s Monday Night Football in Seattle, with one of the conference’s newest dominant teams coming to visit the conference’s old dominant team, late in the season. Week 14 could be a huge statement from the Seahawks, and one of the best games of the regular season.