Now that the Seahawks' complete 2016 schedule has been announced, reporter Bob Condotta breaks down the best games of the season and the worst.
We’ve known for a while who the Seahawks were going to play in 2016.
On Thursday we learned the dates and times, which gives the schedule a lot more life, able to finally see how it all fits together.
NFL.com reviewed all of the schedules and judged that one Seahawks game — at New England on Nov. 13 — is the best matchup of the season.
Hard to argue that one, as the game serves as a rematch of Super Bowl XLIX, regarded by some as the best Super Bowl of all time (though I imagine those people don’t usually identify themselves as 12s), and as a subplot also marks a homecoming for coach Pete Carroll, who was fired by the Patriots in 1999.
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Here’s my own initial ranking (which means it’s simply subject to change) of the matchups on the Seahawks’ 2016 schedule.
1. at New England, Nov. 13. Seahawks fans won’t necessarily enjoy the walk down memory lane that will inevitably occur in the run-up to the game, and Seattle coaches and players will enjoy it even less so (which probably makes it a good thing that the game comes after a Monday nighter against Buffalo, lessening the time for hype). But it’s hard to argue the lure of the rematch of such a memorable game, and while a Seattle win won’t avenge what happened in Glendale, it would feel pretty darn good in the moment.
2. Carolina Panthers, Dec. 4. Is it possible there could ever be a Seahawks schedule without Carolina on it? This will be the fifth straight regular season game and seventh since 2012 including playoffs. That Carolina beat Seattle twice last year now makes this truly a rivalry, and with it coming the first week of December it could also have huge playoff ramifications, all of which makes it a fitting Sunday nighter on NBC.
3. at Los Angeles, Sept. 18. The Seahawks get the honor of helping welcome football back to Los Angeles — this will be the first regular season game for the Rams at home since relocating from St. Louis. No doubt the presence of Carroll, and that this will be a homecoming to his USC stomping grounds, played a factor. On top of all that, the Rams have beaten Seattle in three of the last four meetings and this could also be the home starting debut for their new quarterback.
4. Arizona, Dec. 24. A game that could well decide the NFC West also allows the Seahawks to be home for Christmas. The Cardinals have won two of the last three in Seattle.
5. at Green Bay, Dec. 11. Seattle’s second trip to Lambeau in two years comes likely bearing a vastly different climate than last year’s September meeting — the average high in Green Bay on Dec. 11 is 30, the low 17. Everyone will be rooting for this one not to get flexed.
6. at Arizona, Oct. 23. Seattle will try to continue its dominance of Arizona in the first of its three Sunday night prime time games. The Seahawks have won the last three games against the Cardinals in Glendale 36-6, 35-6 and 34-22. You think Bruce Arians will remind his players of that during the week?
7. at New Orleans, Oct. 30. So I may have some personal reasons for rating this one here. But Bourbon Street on Halloween weekend would seem to put this at the top of the list for Seattle fans who like to travel to away games. It also serves as a homecoming for Jimmy Graham, whose reception could be interesting.
8. Los Angeles, Dec. 15. Seattle’s Thursday night game will also feature the team’s color rush uniforms (hopefully they don’t run in the rain) and comes against a Rams team that has had a knack for playing Seattle tough at CenturyLink in December, including last year’s rather stunning 23-17 win.
9. Atlanta, Oct. 16. It’s something of a homecoming for former Seattle defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, who is hoping to take the next step with the Falcons in 2016 after a late-season collapse last year led to an 8-8 record.
10. at Tampa Bay, Nov. 27. Year two of Jameis Winston alone makes this one appealing. It’ll be fun seeing how J.R. Sweezy holds up against former teammate Michael Bennett, as well.
11. at New York Jets, Oct. 2. The return to MetLife Stadium – the site of the Seahawks’ greatest triumph — is enough to give this one a little juice. Seattle can also say hello to two-fifths of the offensive line that started that day — Jets guard James Carpenter and tackle Breno Giacomini.
12. at San Francisco, Jan. 1. Who can know what the 49ers will be like in September with a new coach and uncertain quarterback situation, let alone week 17? But there’s still enough of a rivalry there to make this trip fun, and the Seahawks might also have a lot on the line.
13. Buffalo, Nov. 7. The opponent for Seattle’s lone Monday nighter feels like sort of an odd choice, coming against a Bills team that is another that seems to have a wide range of possibilities in 2016. But Rex Ryan will be fun to watch.
14. Philadelphia, Nov. 20. Not a lot of great history between these two — there have been 14 previous meetings with nine decided by 10 points or more. And you probably won’t get great odds that Sam Bradford will still be standing by then.
15. Miami, Sept. 11. The Dolphins are starting over under Adam Gase, Denver’s offensive coordinator when the Broncos were throttled by the Seahawks in the Super Bowl. If nothing else, the Seahawks will be heavily favored to get the season off on a winning note.
16. San Francisco, Sept. 25. Right now, probably the game you’d figure the Seahawks will be the most heavily favored of any they will play in 2016. Worth remembering that Chip Kelly is 1-0 at CenturyLink, winning there in 2012 against Washington State during his last year as coach at Oregon.