A tough beginning. A softer middle. A potentially tough ending.
The Seahawks’ 2017 schedule announced Thursday has Seattle opening on the road for the sixth time in seven years. They play the Packers at Lambeau Field in Green Bay for the third consecutive regular season.
Seattle’s bye is early for the second consecutive season. It’s after Week 5’s home game at the Los Angeles Rams. Last year it was after the fourth game, also in October.
Seattle’s home opener is Sept. 17 against San Francisco, a two-win team in 2016 with a new regime led by first-time head coach Kyle Shanahan and first-time general manager John Lynch. The Seahawks are also likely to be favored the following week at Tennessee, at home Oct. 1 against Indianapolis and Oct. 8 at the Los Angeles Rams. Thus, a chance for a fast start and the rest of the NFC West chasing Seattle the rest of the season.
At least that’s what it looks like on paper. That’s all we and the Seahawks have in April.
This will be the second time the Seahawks and Packers have met in a season opener; the other was Sept. 4, 2014, at CenturyLink Field when the Seahawks got the honor of opening the NFL season as the defending Super Bowl champions.
That remains the only time since 2010, Pete Carroll and John Schneider’s first season as Seattle’s coach and general manager, the Seahawks have started a season at home. This season’s Thursday night league kick-off game is Kansas City at defending-champion New England on Sept. 7.
The Seahawks finish the regular season at Dallas on Christmas Eve and at home against NFC West arch-rival Arizona on New Year’s Eve.
Last season the Cowboys finished the regular season with the NFC’s best record, before Green Bay beat them in the divisional playoffs.
The last few seasons the Seahawks and Cardinals meetings have determined the division title, and their two games this year figure to do the same. Seattle plays at Arizona Nov. 9 in the Seahawks’ Thursday night game for 2017.
That is one of four primetime games for Seattle. The first is Sunday night, Oct. 1 at home against Indianapolis. The Seahawks’ other marquee home game this coming season is Nov. 20 against former Seattle defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and his defending NFC-champion Atlanta Falcons. That’s Seattle’s only Monday night game.
It’s a rematch of January’s NFC divisional playoff game in Atlanta, won by the Falcons on their way to losing to the Patriots in overtime of Super Bowl 51.
The Seahawks host Philadelphia on NBC’s Sunday Night Football on Dec. 3.
Seattle has five playoff teams from 2016 on its 2017 schedule. The Seahawks have only one dreaded, 10 a.m. Pacific Time start, Dec. 10 at Jacksonville; the rest of their trips to the Eastern and Central time zones are later, afternoon kickoffs. There are no consecutive weekends with road games.
So it could be worse. Much worse.
Per NFL rules and flex-scheduling guidelines with its broadcasting partners, three teams can appear a maximum of six games in primetime during a regular season on NBC, ESPN or NFL Network; everyone else gets five such appearances. No team may appear more than four times on NBC in a regular season. Those rules are waived for week 17, the final one of the regular season, when TV sets its games most impacting to playoff qualification in the best time slots.
Again this coming season, the league reserves the right to “flex” games out of Sunday-afternoon time slots into primetime kickoff times starting with the fifth week of the regular season. Only Sunday afternoon games are subject to possible flexing to a Sunday night, NBC featured slot.
And flexing doesn’t happen as much as it may seem. So you can etch the schedule the Seahawks got on Thursday in ink. Erasible ink, at least.
SEAHAWKS’ 2017 SCHEDULE
Sept. 10 at Green Bay, 1:25 p.m., FOX/Ch. 13
5th meeting in 3 years. 3rd straight season at Lambeau. Eddie Lacy says at least it’s not December
Sept. 17 SAN FRANCISCO, 1:25 p.m., FOX/Ch. 13
SEA’s won 7 straight in division series; new SF regime with coach Kyle Shanahan, GM John Lynch
Sept. 24 at Tennessee, 1:05 p.m., FOX/Ch. 13
Seattle’s 2nd game ever in Volunteer State, first since 2005. Titans off a 9-7 year without playoffs
Oct. 1 INDIANAPOLIS, 5:30 p.m., NBC/Ch. 5
Talented team with easier schedule coming off non-playoff season could soar in 2017
Oct. 8 at Los Angeles Rams, 1:05 p.m., CBS/Ch. 7
Seahawks’ last trip to Coliseum, last Sept. was perhaps the worst game they’ve played in decades
Oct. 15 BYE
Not optimal. Early again. In October for second consecutive season.
Oct. 22 at New York Giants, 1:25 p.m., FOX/Ch. 13
Far from same Giants Seattle last faced in 2014. Coach Tom Coughlin’s gone. Eli Manning’s 36
Oct. 29 HOUSTON, 1:05 p.m., CBS/Ch. 7
Your guess is as good as anyone’s on who will be QB for Texans in 4th all-time meeting
Nov. 5 WASHINGTON, 1:05 p.m., FOX/Ch. 13
Seahawks have beaten Redskins in regular season just once in 7 tries dating to 1998
Nov. 9 at ARIZONA, 5:25 p.m., NBC/Ch. 5
SEA’s Thursday night game could be Carson Palmer’s final one in desert as Cards QB vs. division rival
Nov. 20 ATLANTA, 5:30 p.m., ESPN
Monday night rematch of Falcons’ Jan. playoff win; defending NFC champs narrowly lost at SEA last Oct.
Nov. 26 at San Francisco, 1:05 p.m., FOX/Ch. 13
Thanksgiving weekend in Santa Clara. Judging on previous years might be 5,893 people in the stands. Might be.
Dec. 3 at PHILADELPHIA, 5:30 p.m., NBC/Ch. 5
Will Eagles have ex-UW WR John Ross blazing in Seattle again as a rookie 1st-round pick?
Dec. 10 at Jacksonville, 10 a.m., FOX/Ch. 13
Gus Bradley long gone as coach of perennially rebuilding Jags. SEA’s last, long trip to FLA (Nov. ‘16 at TB) was a dud
Dec. 17 LOS ANGELES RAMS, 1:05 p.m., FOX/Ch. 13
What will Richard Sherman do if Darrell Bevell calls a pass from the 1 at home vs. Rams again?
Dec. 24 at Dallas 1:25 p.m., FOX/Ch. 13
1st meeting since Cliff Avril’s hit in 2016 exhibition sent Tony Romo from NFL to retirement, TV booth
Dec. 31 ARIZONA 1:25 p.m., FOX/Ch. 13
NFC West-title at stake each time these teams have met last 3 seasons. Probably again this New Year’s Eve