While we already knew the Seahawks’ 2020 opponents, and whether the games were to take place at home or on the road, Thursday brought the full NFL schedule for the 2020 season. With the dates and time slots locked in for Seattle’s season, we took a run at the annual exercise of ranking all 16 games by watchability.
16. @ Washington, Week 15
The most worthwhile storyline of this game, startlingly close to the start of the playoffs, is one that invokes fear, not excitement: Please, oh please, let everyone get out of that horrible stadium and off that horrible field healthy.
A more interesting subplot will arise if Washington signs Cam Newton—will Dwayne Haskins still be the starting quarterback for the perennially lifeless franchise by December?
15. vs New York Giants, Week 13
This game will skyrocket up the rankings if Daniel Jones makes a second-year leap, while Saquon Barkley finds Offensive Player of the Year-caliber form. Golden Tate making his second return trip to Seattle helps, too.
More than likely, though, is that it’s a playoff-bound Seahawks team against a top-10 selection bound Giants team. A bump on the road on the way to the playoffs.
14. vs New York Jets, Week 14
Did someone say No. 74 is eligible revenge game? Adam Gase can undo a career of disappointment by drawing up a trick play which sees George Fant score the touchdown he was never allowed to score in Seattle. Unlikely.
Similar to the Giants game, this one moves up a notch if Sam Darnold ascends to franchise quarterback status in 2020—otherwise, it’s another bump in the road, aided only by the slight intrigue of a rare AFC foe.
13. @ Atlanta Falcons, Week 1
The biggest thing this game has going for it, in terms of watchability, is that it’s Week 1. The Falcons should enter the season fully healthy, something they’ve rarely ended the season as in recent years, so it should at least be competitive. Atlanta should be in the wildcard mix come December, so this game may yet end up with big implications—it’s just too early in the season to forecast that.
12. @ Arizona Cardinals, Week 7
The Seahawks head to their house of horrors to face sophomore season Kyler Murray and Arizona Cardinal DeAndre Hopkins for the first time. The Cardinals could be a team that benefits from an extra playoff spot, and they should be competitive in 2020.
11. @ Miami Dolphins, Week 4
Too high? Too low? That depends on who is under center for the Dolphins by Week 4. A Tua Tagovailoa-Russell Wilson matchup so early in the southpaw’s career would be fantastic.
Otherwise? It’s a great test for a rebuilt Seattle pass rush against a dreadful Miami offensive line and a quarterback in Ryan Fitzpatrick who is all too happy to hang in the pocket.
10. vs Arizona Cardinals, Week 11
The second-half of Arizona and the Seahawks’ season series gets the nod over the first for a couple of simple reasons. It’s on prime-time—Thursday Night Football, yes, but prime-time nonetheless—and it’s later in the season. By Week 11, we should have a good idea as to whether the Cardinals are in the hunt or not, giving this game big-time implications.
9. @ Los Angeles Rams, Week 10
A new stadium, an old division rival and an offense Seattle have yet to solve on a consistent basis. The 49ers-Seahawks rivalry was revived in 2019, but it’s the Rams’ offense that still presents the most confusion, and stiffest test, for Seattle.
8. vs Minnesota Vikings, Week 5
The Vikings, set to face the Seahawks for the third consecutive season and the fifth time in six years, has taken over for the Panthers as Seattle’s pseudo-division rival. It’s too early in the season to give this game a boost for playoff implications, but it’s on Sunday Night Football at CenturyLink Field. There’s no better time slot or venue for football.
7. vs San Francisco 49ers, Week 8
The first game between the two NFC West playoff teams from a year ago occurs at CenturyLink Field right at the midway point. Both matchups were incredibly tight in 2019, and it shouldn’t change in 2020.
The Seahawks and 49ers produced the best rivalry of the 2010s—what will the first matchup of a new decade produce?
6. vs Los Angeles Rams, Week 16
L.A. should be expected to get back to the playoffs in 2020, and there’s a good chance these two teams are jostling for playoff position—be it the NFC West title or wildcard spots—in Week 16. Seattle couldn’t have asked for two bigger games to close out their regular season schedule, with this being the first of two pivotal December/January games.
5. vs New England Patriots, Week 2
The Patriots may be starting a new, Tom Brady-less chapter, but they should still be competitive. Plus, it is what will likely be the last matchup between Pete Carroll and Bill Belichick, the two most successful coaches of the 2010s.
Similar to Seahawks-Vikings, this is given a boost because it’s on Sunday Night Football at CenturyLink Field—with the bonus of being Seattle’s home opener.
4. @ Philadelphia Eagles, Week 12
For the third time in two years, the Seahawks head east to Philadelphia to take on the Eagles. After going 2-0 against the Eagles in 2019, including eliminating them from the playoffs, Philadelphia should be an excellent venue for this Monday Night Football game.
Occurring in the second half of the season, it’s another game that could potentially impact playoff standings.
3. vs Dallas Cowboys, Week 3
Perhaps this game is too early in the schedule to rank so highly, however, the Cowboys are arguably the best roster in the NFC and the two teams’ styles make for a great fight. Mike McCarthy, early in his Dallas tenure, returns to the stadium which delivered his head coaching low-point.
Something about games against the Cowboys just feels grander.
2. @ Buffalo Bills, Week 9
A mid-season trip to an AFC team for a 10 AM PST kickoff? The second-most watchable? Oh yes. It’s a new stadium for Russell Wilson to play in, with his only road game against the Bills coming in Toronto in 2012—a 50-17 victory—and it’s a great venue at that. The Bills are tremendously talented and well-coached and should be one of the conference’s best teams in 2020. (Plus, it’s very easy to envision a revitalized Seattle secondary feasting off scattershot “quarterback” Josh Allen.)
It’s an odd choice this high up the list, but Seahawks-Bills is one of the games I’m most looking forward to this season.
1. @ San Francisco 49ers, Week 17
I mean, obviously? Barring disaster for either team, there’s a fairly good chance this game has direct playoff implications, whether it’s for the NFC West crown or a specific seed. Last year’s matchups produced a wild overtime thriller and a Super Bowl XXXIV-esque finish. Two talented, physical teams facing off for a second time, in the final week of the season? I’ll take that every single time.