The Seahawks will open their 2022 season by welcoming Russell Wilson back to Seattle on a Monday night, Sept. 12.
They will close it by welcoming Bobby Wagner and the defending Super Bowl champion Rams to Seattle on either Jan. 7 or Jan. 8 — official date and time to be determined.
Those games were the highlights of the release of the 2022 regular-season schedule, officially unveiled Thursday afternoon. The NFL had earlier announced that the Seahawks will play the first regular-season game in league history in Germany on Nov. 13 against Tampa Bay in Munich.
But maybe indicative of the low expectations for the Seahawks in the wake of the trade of Wilson and coming off a 7-10 season, they have just two prime-time games — the opener against Denver and a Thursday-night game on Dec. 15 at home against the 49ers. The last time the Seahawks had two or fewer prime-time games was 2011, the year before Wilson arrived. They had the maximum five scheduled in 2021 (but one was flexed out of prime time).
The matchup of Denver and Seattle was set long ago in the NFL’s scheduling formula, as were the rest of the opponents. The Broncos game took on added resonance when Wilson was traded to Denver on March 8.
The NFL — never one to miss a chance at maximizing hype — will try to get as much exposure out Wilson’s return to Seattle by putting it in the marquee Monday night time slot to open the season.
The Monday night opener against Denver will also be the debut for the broadcast team of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman on ESPN/ABC, with the network luring them away from FOX Sports in the offseason.
It is also only the second time in team history it has opened with a prime-time game. The other was in 2014 when Seattle hosted Green Bay on Thursday as the season kickoff game.
Denver was installed as a 3.5-point favorite by sportsbetting.ag, and tickets just to get in the door were already going for $271 on Vivid Seats within an hour of the announcement of the game.
Here is the Seahawks entire 2022 schedule (all times Pacific), which features a franchise-record nine home games as the NFL went to a 17-game schedule last season, in which conferences trade off having an extra home game each year — AFC in odd years and NFC in even years.
Sept. 12: vs. Denver, 5:15 p.m.
Sept. 18: at San Francisco, 1:05 p.m.
Sept. 25: vs. Atlanta, 1:25 p.m.
Oct. 2: at Detroit, 10 a.m.
Oct. 9: at New Orleans, 10 a.m.
Oct. 16: vs Arizona, 1:05 p.m.
Oct. 23: at Los Angeles Chargers, 1:25 p.m.
Oct. 30: vs New York Giants, 1:25 p.m.
Nov. 6: at Arizona, 1:05 p.m.
Nov. 13: vs. Tampa Bay in Munich, 6:30 a.m.
Nov. 20: Bye week
Nov, 27: vs. Las Vegas Raiders, 1:05 p.m.
Dec. 4: at Los Angeles Rams, 1:05 p.m.
Dec. 11: vs. Carolina Panthers, 1:25 p.m.
Dec. 15: vs. San Francisco 49ers, 5:15 p.m.
Dec. 24: at Kansas City, 10 a.m.
Jan. 1: vs. New York Jets, 1:05 p.m.
Jan 7/8: vs. Los Angeles Rams, time to be determined.
Wilson coming back to Seattle will rank right up there — if not at the top — of other noteworthy returns of iconic figures in the city’s sports history, along with that of Lenny Wilkens in 1972, Alex Rodriguez in 2001 and Ken Griffey Jr. in 2007, to name a few.
The game will be just the third between the two teams since the Seahawks beat the Broncos 43-8 in the Super Bowl following the 2013 season. The Seahawks beat Denver in overtime the following season, 26-20, while the Broncos beat the Seahawks in Denver to open the 2018 season, 27-24.
While fans and football analysts will forever debate who won the trade, the game will undoubtedly serve as something of a referendum on which team is better off currently. While Denver got Wilson, the Seahawks got quarterback Drew Lock, tight end Noah Fant and defensive end Shelby Harris in return as well as five draft picks, including two it used this year on left tackle Charles Cross (ninth overall) and edge rusher Boye Mafe (40th).
The Seahawks also got pick 145 this year out of the trade, which it dealt to Kansas City to move down and get another pick, selecting edge rusher Tyreke Smith at 158 and receiver Dareke Young at 233.
The Seahawks also have the Broncos’ first- and second-round picks next year as part of the deal.
The Week Two game at San Francisco will give the Seahawks a challenging opening to the season, with the 49ers coming off a run to the NFC title game a year ago.
The Seahawks will also have four of their last five and five of their last seven at home, a forgiving end to the schedule if they can get off to a good enough start to be in playoff contention.
As expected, the Seahawks will have its bye week following the trip to Germany, after which its only two trips will be to the Los Angeles Rams and Kansas City.
The Seahawks also announced their preseason schedule, which because of nine regular-season home games means just one at home.
The Seahawks often play AFC West teams in the preseason, but this year they play the AFC West in the regular season. The preseason slate features games against teams the Seahawks won’t play in the regular season — at Pittsburgh (Aug. 13), Chicago (Aug. 18) and at Dallas (Aug. 26-28).