We are only 75 days away from the start of the 2018 NFL regular season, as we embark on yet another 267-game journey to determine who will be crowned Super Bowl champion.
Looking at Week 1’s lineup, I can tell you that the Seattle Seahawks’ game against the Denver Broncos is not going to garner much national attention, especially not when the lead late game on FOX is the Dallas Cowboys and Carolina Panthers. However, when you glance at the rest of the schedule, you’ll see more than a few recognizable names if you’re a Seahawks fan.
Atlanta Falcons at Philadelphia Eagles (Sept. 6 on NBC)
In a world where the Falcons are in literally any other city besides Atlanta, this could be an opening night game between the two most recent Super Bowl champions. Instead, you have a rematch of the 2018 NFC Divisional Round game, which saw the Eagles hang on for a 15-10 win over the Falcons, who came up a few yards short of victory.
The Falcons are obviously led by one-time Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, while the Eagles’ new-look defensive line includes none other than Michael Bennett, who was traded by the Seahawks earlier this offseason.
San Francisco 49ers at Minnesota Vikings (Sept. 9 on FOX)
Are the 49ers for real? Well they get the main 10 AM slot on FOX, as they travel to Minneapolis to take on a Vikings team that was oh-so-close to reaching the Super Bowl with Case Keenum, but have moved on from him and will ride with Kirk Cousins.
San Francisco’s highest of high-profile acquisitions is obviously Richard Sherman, and I... I think I’m going to kill the rest of this paragraph because it bums me out just typing that up. The Niners defense is coached by ex-Seahawks assistant Robert Saleh, and the roster also includes Brock Coyle, Cassius Marsh, Korey Toomer, and Super Bowl 48 MVP Malcolm Smith.
On Minnesota’s defense is Sheldon Richardson, whom Seattle traded for last year and for my money didn’t exactly get what they were hoping for in terms of productivity. That said, Minnesota’s defensive line is absurdly good, so Richardson could thrive in Mike Zimmer’s system, playing alongside Everson Griffen and Danielle Hunter among others.
Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers (Sept. 9 on NBC)
This year is the 100th season in Green Bay Packers history, hence the NFL made them the Sunday Night Football curtain-raiser. The Chicago Bears start off with two primetime games, with a home opener against the Seahawks coming on Monday Night Football in Week 2, but with promising talent on both sides of the ball and the hiring of head coach Matt Nagy, they could be a team that’s capable enough to at least fight for a playoff spot.
The former Seahawk taking part in this game is Jimmy Graham, whom after playing with Drew Brees and Russell Wilson, now gets to catch passes from Aaron Rodgers. Green Bay doesn’t normally make any major free agent splash, but Graham was an exception, and he gets a primetime opportunity to showcase his stuff under a new offense.
New York Jets at Detroit Lions (Sept. 10 on ESPN)
I guess this game was put on Monday Night Football in hopes that the Jets would draft a quarterback who would start on day one. Well the Jets did draft a QB, and maybe Sam Darnold could be starting, but he is in competition with Josh McCown and Teddy Bridgewater.
The Jets are loaded with former Seahawks, of which Jermaine Kearse is the best known. Kearse was shipped to New York as part of the Sheldon Richardson deal, and managed a career-high 65 catches for 800 yards and 5 touchdowns. Also added to the roster is running back Thomas Rawls, who is in desperate need of a career reboot after a frustrating last two years in Seattle. Left guard James Carpenter has been with the team since 2015, and naturally after being injury-prone in Seattle, he hasn’t missed a start in New York.
On defense, Gang Green has linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis, as well as 2017 preseason standout David Bass, who made Seattle’s 53-man roster only to be cut during the regular season.
As for the Detroit Lions, we all know about Golden Tate’s success as one of Matthew Stafford’s top receiving targets, but they also picked up TE Luke Willson, as well as DB DeShawn Shead. Last week, Detroit also inked a deal with TE Sean McGrath, who apparently is still in the league.
Los Angeles Rams at Oakland Raiders (Sept. 10 on ESPN)
There’s no point in talking too much about the Los Angeles Rams beyond them being sexy picks to at least make the Super Bowl. They have no ex-Seahawks on the roster, but one-time quarterbacks coach Jedd Fisch is a senior offensive assistant. Let’s just hope the expectations are nowhere near close to being met.
Jon Gruden may have left Monday Night Football to become the Raiders head coach again, but both his first and last home games of the season will be shown by his former employer. That’s right, Broncos at Raiders is the MNF finale, and that... I’m not that optimistic that either one of these teams will be contending.
This is expected to be the Raiders’ last hurrah in Oakland before moving to Las Vegas, so they want to bid farewell in a positive way. Oakland’s own Marshawn Lynch is the #1 running back on the team, while the other familiar faces of Seahawks rosters past are on the defensive line. Bruce Irvin is coming off an 8-sack campaign, and the team recently signed Ahtyba Rubin.
Oh yeah, and Tom Cable is Oakland’s offensive line coach. I heard he used to be Seattle’s offensive line coach. His assistant OL coach is Lemuel Jeanpierre, who was both an ex-player and ex-assistant under Pete Carroll.
In case you’re wondering, the Denver Broncos do have a former Seahawks player, having signed defensive tackle Clinton McDonald to a two-year deal back in March.