Seattle Seahawks Schedule Lookahead – Things Aren’t Getting Any Easier

The Seattle Seahawks are coming off their first loss of the season to their divisional opponents, the Arizona Cardinals. While the game possessed fireworks galore—none more so than DK Metcalf’s touchdown-saving tackle on Budda Baker’s interception return—it also exposed the flaws in Seattle’s roster. Zero sacks on Kyler Murray in 70+ minutes of football, an over reliance on Russell Wilson’s arm, which led to three costly interceptions and a complete inability by Seattle’s coverage unit to produce crucial stops. 

While Seattle still sits atop the division at 5-1, the combined record of those defeated teams is 9-23. This is concerning, especially considering Arizona represented the beginning of Seattle’s toughest stretch of opponents. Over the next four weeks, Seattle opponents have a 19-9 record. 

We’ll take a quick look at each of these opponents and speculate whether they can take advantage of Seattle’s vulnerabilities in the same way Arizona did.

Week 7: San Francisco 49ers –

Seattle’s most hated rival is coming to town this week to face off for what is an increasingly do-or-die game for both sides as they strive for the NFC West crown. While San Francisco sits fourth in the divisional standings, they still have a 4-3 record and a team that can only get healthier going forward. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo will make his fourth start in a row after coming off a foot injury suffered in week two against the Jets. He, along with George Kittle, Raheem Mostert and Deebo Samuel, lead an offense ranked 8th in DVOA that is built upon the NFL’s second-best rushing attack. While Seattle has limited opposing running backs to 94.7 yards-per-game, they are still giving up 4.1 yards-per-carry. That won’t be good enough to prevent the 49ers from doing what they want to do on the ground, which will then open up their myriad of receivers to do what they wish against a Seahawks secondary that ranked 28th in pass-defense DVOA.

While San Francisco boasts a good offense, what is more impressive is their 8th ranked defense after losing pro-bowl defensive end Nick Bosa to injury as well as superstar defensive tackle DeForest Buckner in the offseason. Arik Armstead and rookie Javon Kinlaw lead a still-stingy defensive line, with modern linebackers Fred Warner and Kwon Alexander ready to clean anything up that gets through them. Whether it’s Chris Carson or Carlos Hyde, whoever totes the rock for Seattle this week will have a tough time. The opposite may not be said for San Francisco’s secondary, as Richard Sherman remains out of the line-up for the time being. Reclamation project Jason Verrett has filled in admirably in his place, but no one else in the 49er defensive backfield ranks higher than 36th in Pro Football Focus’ position rankings. With Russell Wilson in MVP form, he should be able to pick his spots against a 13th ranked passing defense.

Week 8: Buffalo Bills –

Whereas Seattle has two grudge matches against San Francisco every year, Seattle rarely plays the Buffalo Bills. It has also been 16 years since they traveled to Bills Stadium, as eight years ago they actually played in Toronto as the NFL was hosting more international games back in the day. It’s an unfamiliar stadium, 3000+ miles away from home, where it will most likely be extremely cold. Add on top of that this Bills team is 5-2, this has the makings of Seattle’s toughest out-of-division match-up of this season.

Their attack is led by quarterback Josh Allen, who at times can play hotter than the sun and at others looks like he should be playing in the XFL. Through the first four games of this season, Allen posted a stat line of 1326 passing yards, 12 touchdowns, one pick, to go with three rushing touchdowns. He looked like a surprise entrant into the MVP discussion and looked to lay claim as one of the NFL’s elite. Over the next three weeks though, his numbers took a serious dip as he threw five touchdowns and three picks as the Bills went 1-2. I would say Seattle would be catching him at the right time if Seattle could cover any better than it has. But in reality, receivers Stefon Diggs, John Brown and Cole Beasley should find themselves open enough that this should be an easy game for Allen to rebound.

The good news for the Seahawks is that Buffalo has had an uncharacteristically weak defense this season, as DVOA has them as 18th against the pass and 26th against the run. If the weather ends up not being much of a factor, Russell Wilson and the rest of the skill players could easily outpace the Bills offense.

Week 9: Los Angeles Rams –

After their Northeastern field trip, Seattle flies back across the country to Los Angeles for another divisional showdown. The Rams have once again reclaimed their offensive showmanship on route to a 4-2 record, ranking 9th in the pass game and first in the run according to DVOA metrics. While quarterback Jared Goff isn’t the most impressive (ranked 13th according to Pro Football Focus), the way head coach Sean McVay schemes his offense using pre-snap motion makes life easy for him and their stable of running backs. I say that because if a team is able to throw a wrench into McVay’s best laid plans, then the Rams are wholly beatable. Unfortunately, as we discussed earlier in the San Francisco section, Seattle’s run defense hasn’t proven good enough to stop such a high-powered attack. The Seahawk defense will not be getting any respite in week nine.

Even more concerning for the Seahawks is this version of the Rams defense. Even though DVOA doesn’t love the Rams 18th ranked defense, they are especially set up to take advantage of Seattle. Aaron Donald is still in his game-wrecking, defensive player of the year form, as he already has NINE(!) sacks this season on opposing quarterbacks. It is fair to expect that even with a much-improved Seattle offensive line, Russell Wilson will be put under pressure from the interior. Cornerback Jalen Ramsey is one of the few defensive backs in the NFL that can physically hang with DK Metcalf, ala Patrick Peterson (49 coverage snaps on Metcalf, 0 receptions allowed). To keep up with the Rams offensive machine, Seattle will have to look to Chris Carson and Tyler Lockett to score.

Week 10: Arizona Cardinals –

Russell Wilson vs Kyler Murray Part II – Will the Seahawks strike back? Unclear, but I would certainly say they should. They had every opportunity to win this past week, as Arizona struggled against Seattle’s passing offense until some key fourth quarter/OT stops, and Seattle will be getting a healthy Jamal Adams back and acquiring Carlos Dunlap via trade. Unfortunately, Seattle isn’t a team that wins according to paper strength, in reality Seattle seems to have a fetish to play one score games. It is more likely than not that this game will once again come down to the last drive to the detriment of their fan’s health.


Today, Seattle sits at the top of the NFC West a 5-1 record. Over the next four weeks, Seattle plays three divisional games and a very good Bills team. Fortunately, Russell Wilson has been scorching every defense he’s come across outside of that 4th quarter against the Cards. This is the real inflection point for this team, the teeth of their schedule. A lot of people have been putting the Seahawks as top five in their power rankings and writing about the “Russ for MVP” trend. But this stretch is where Seattle will show their true colors. They will either rise as a potential super bowl contender… or fall back into the pack of wild-card chasers. The good news is that Seattle has a very cushy stretch after this, facing the Eagles, Giants, Jets and Washington who have five wins between them. Hopefully Seattle won’t be going into these games in a must-win situation to keep their playoff hopes alive after this brutal stretch.

About Evan Peper 58 Articles
Seattle born and raised. I wear my fandom on my sleeve, as I bleed Seahawks blue and green and am Sounders’ Til I Die. To fill the basketball-shaped hole in my heart from when the Sonics were taken away from the city of Seattle, I have adopted the Portland Trail Blazers and rep Rip City. I aim to bring an analytical view on the sports world and hope to impart a deeper understanding of the game to my readers.