Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson has achieved quite a few milestones in his great career, and this year he will add another to the list – he will play more away games in one regular season than any Seattle QB in franchise history.
With the NFL adding a week to their season this year (making the regular season 18 weeks), Seattle will play 17 regular-season games for the first time, and with the odd number of games, some teams drew the short straw of an additional road game. Seattle was one such club, as they will go on the road to Arizona in their regular-season finale, which will be their 9th road game of the season.
The Seahawks and Wilson are no strangers to additional travel, having played in Toronto against the Bills in 2012 and the Raiders in London in 2018, but at least those games were in place of a road game played in the continental US. Arizona is not a long plane ride, but it is still an extra week of practice; they do not participate in daylight savings so that the game will be played in a different time zone, along with extra preparation, travel, and added wear and tear on already tired and beaten bodies during a long season. While there is not an extra bye week to make up for it, there is one fewer preseason game this year, which will give players the full week before the season kicks off to rest up.
Based on their opponents’ 2020-21 regular-season winning percentages, Seattle is expected to have a tough season, ranking 11th in strength of schedule. Only the Rams have a tougher schedule in the NFC West, ranking 10th. Arizona has the 13th toughest schedule and San Francisco 19th.
The Seahawks’ opening day game will be on the road for the fourth consecutive season, 2016, versus Miami being the last time Seattle opened their season at home. This year, their first game will be a morning game on the road, played in an indoor stadium in the eastern time zone for the second consecutive year (they played at Atlanta week one last season), this time against the Indianapolis Colts. Also, for the second consecutive season, Seattle will start and finish the regular season on the road, and two of their three preseason games will be on the road. If Seattle makes the playoffs and doesn’t win their division (meaning they have to travel for any playoff games), they might set a record for travel by an NFL team in one season.
The Seahawks will play three games in the eastern time zone, three games in the central time zone, one game in the Mountain time zone, and ten games in the pacific time zone. They will have three consecutive prime time games in weeks 5-7 and two more in weeks 12-13. Three of these will be hosted at Lumen Field in front of their fans. Their bye week is right at the halfway point of the season in week nine.
Below is their official schedule pulled from Seahawks.com. They will play four of their nine road games in the first eight weeks, five coming in the final eight weeks. An extra road game and the majority of their travel dates in the second half of the season is not ideal, but this team has proven year over year that they are battle-tested no matter what the league schedulers throw at them.
With winning records in each of Russell Wilson’s nine seasons (including four division titles and eight playoff berths), this team plays the way their QB does – they fight for victory in each game, regardless of the opponent or where the game is played. This season might be their greatest test, but if they pass, it could also be their most successful as they not only play more games than they ever have before, but they also have the opportunity to win more games than they ever have before.
These are the highlights of their schedule –
Week 1: Seattle kicks off their season in Indianapolis against the new-look Colts, who are expected to premiere Carson Wentz at QB for the first time.
Week 4: Their first division game, played at San Francisco, and the 49ers might be healthy for the first time in a game against Seattle since the 2019 regular-season finale.
Week 5: Their first prime time game, this one on Thursday Night Football against the new-look LA Rams, with new QB Matthew Stafford facing Seattle in a Rams jersey for the first time. This will be Seattle’s first shot at beating the Rams after LA ended their 2020 season in the wild card round of the playoffs.
Week 6: The second consecutive prime time game, this time on the road against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday Night Football. This is expected to be QB Ben Roethlisberger’s final season, and unless these teams meet in the postseason, this will be Seattle’s last chance to defeat Big Ben in his home stadium.
Week 7: The third consecutive prime time game, at home against New Orleans on Monday Night Football. This will be the first time Seattle will face the Saints without Drew Brees on the roster during Russell Wilson’s career.
Week 8: Seattle will get their chance to take on former NCAA head coach Urban Meyer and first overall pick QB Trevor Lawrence.
Week 9: Seattle’s bye week
Week 10: Seattle gets their rematch with Green Bay after losing in the divisional round of the playoffs to end their 2019 season.
Week 12: Seattle’s fourth prime time game at Washington on Monday Night Football. Seattle will likely face QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, playing for his 9th NFL team.
Week 13: A prime-time game for the second consecutive week, as long as both teams are competitive enough for SNF to keep it. This will be against San Francisco at Lumen Field and will likely be a critical game in the race for the NFC West division winner.
Week 15: Seattle’s second game against LA, this time at SoFi stadium in LA. The winner will likely have a firm grip on the division race; the runner-up will have a lot of work to do in the remaining three weeks.
Week 17: Seattle’s final home game of the regular season, against Detroit. The Seahawks will host former Rams QB Jared Goff playing for his new team.
Week 18: Seattle’s regular-season finale, at Arizona. If the Cardinals can make a big leap forward from last year, this could be the game that decides the division crown, but given how good all four teams are expected to be, this could also decide which teams make the playoffs and where the road ends for others.
This is not an easy schedule and will likely be a tough year for the Seahawks. I see at least 10, most likely 11 wins for Seattle. They will make the playoffs, but a shot at the division crown will be in question for the bulk of the season, given the quality of their division rivals. It’s a lot to ask this team to go on the road more than they ever have and win more than eleven games, but if any team can pull it off, it’s this resilient group.