Earlier this week, the NFL released the full schedule for the 2019 season. Based on the winning percentage of last season’s opponents, the Seattle Seahawks face the eighth-easiest schedule in the league.
Combined, opponents on the schedule for this season won .479 percent of their outings in 2018.
Of course, things change from season to season. Some teams get better, and some teams get worse.
That said, the Seahawks will face five teams that made the playoffs in 2018 and four teams that won 10 or more games last season.
Notable Home Games
While the opener at home on September 8th against the Cincinnati Bengals would appear to be somewhat uninspiring, the Seahawks do have their fair share of quality opponents coming to CenturyLink in the Fall. September 22nd sees Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints, who were one blown pass interference call away from going to the Super Bowl last February, come to town for a battle of potential playoff teams. The team that ousted the Saints to go to the Super Bowl, the Los Angeles Rams, comes to the Pacific Northwest two weeks later on October 3rd in a night game that can be watched on Amazon Prime, as well as Fox.
Two additional playoff teams from last season, the Baltimore Ravens and the Minnesota Vikings, invade the Emerald City on October 20th and December 2nd respectively. Depending on the continuing development of Lamar Jackson and the tailoring of the Ravens offense to his skill set, the late October game could be an exciting matchup at QB, albeit one very rich one and one on a rookie contract. And the battle against Kirk Cousins in December could be, well, two really rich quarterbacks.
Rounding Out the Home Games
In addition to the four playoff teams from last season, the Seahawks will open the season at home against the Bengals in their first post-Marvin Lewis era contest. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers come to town in week nine. Depending how the early season goes for the Bucs, that game could also be in a post era…post-Jameis Winston.
Finally, division rivals; the Arizona Cardinals and the San Francisco 49ers roll up into CenturyLink for the final two games of the season, December 22nd and December 29.th If the Cardinals do draft Kyler Murray next week with the number one overall pick, he should be getting comfortable in the NFL by the time he gets to Seattle. A healthy Jimmy Garoppolo and a solid draft could make the 49ers contenders in the last week of the season.
Notable Road Games
Depending on the trajectory of certain teams, whether they continue to improve or if they bounce back, the Seahawks’ road schedule has the potential to be very rocky, at best. Week two sees the team at Heinz Field against the Pittsburgh Steelers. When last we saw the Steelers, they were in the process of parting ways with the best running back in the league and one of the best wide receivers in the league over contract disputes and general dysfunction.
With Le’veon Bell in a New York Jets uniform and Antonio Brown set to liven up Jon Gruden’s offense with the Oakland Raiders, it will be interesting to see if the Steelers have themselves a case of addition by subtraction or simply subtraction by subtraction.
The Cleveland Browns in Baker Mayfield’s second season are trendy Super Bowl picks at 15-1, behind only the Saints, Rams, Kansas City Chiefs, and the perennial favorite New England Patriots. For the first time since Bernie Kosar was the QB and the Browns suffered “The Drive” in the 1986 AFC Championship Game at the hands of John Elway in the old Municipal Stadium, the Dog Pound in Cleveland should be an intimidating place to play. The ‘Hawks will visit Ohio in week six.
Depending on bounce backs and rebuilding, weeks eight, ten, twelve, and fifteen could be rough. In week eight the Seahawks go down to Georgia to face the Atlanta Falcons. With the return of Dirk Koehler as offensive coordinator, Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, and Mohamed Sanu will look to make the Falcons soar once more.
The next scary bird on the road schedule is in week ten in the City of Brotherly Love. Two seasons removed from a Super Bowl victory, the Philadelphia Eagles, having settled on Carson Wentz as their franchise quarterback, look to get back to the playoffs.
Week twelve is a Monday Night Football Game against the 49ers. This will be the two teams’ first meeting of the season, but by November we should know if this is the last five games of 2017 49ers or the 2018 49ers.
And then in week fifteen the Seahawks travel cross country to Charlotte, North Carolina for the matchup that has become must watch TV over the past several seasons. Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers, like Atlanta and Philly, are looking to return to the playoffs after a disappointing 7-9 season.
Rounding Out the Road
Do you remember when the Arizona Cardinals were really good? It wasn’t that long ago. However, the Seahawks travel to Arizona in week four and it’s probably unlikely that either Murray or Josh Rosen (or someone else) will have figured out by then. Get in. Get out. Post a W.
The last road game on tap to discuss is at the defending NFC Champion. That takes place in week fourteen in early December. The Los Angeles Rams are 8/1 to win the Super Bowl, but they seem like a potential regression candidate. The past two NFC representatives in the Big Game have failed to make the playoffs the following year – Falcons and Eagles. The offense that tore up the league during the regular season ended up tying the Miami Dolphins from Super Bowl V for the fewest points ever. So, there could definitely be a hangover effect. And super back Todd Gurley’s health is in serious question. By the close of the season, this matchup could either be a barn burner or a snooze fest.
It’ll Be Here Before You Know It
Next up is the NFL draft on Thursday, April 25th through Saturday, April 27th. The Seahawks hold the 21st overall pick, and according to Todd McShay of ESPN in the most recent McShay and Mel Kiper alternating mock draft, the Seahawks will look to shore up the O-Line with Cody Ford of Oklahoma. After that, it’ll be training camp before you know it and then the pre-season opener on August 8th against the Denver Broncos in Seattle. Just three and a half months, and it will go quickly.