The full Seahawks’ 2019 schedule is finally out, including dates, times and TV affiliations. And that means it’s time to let the analyzing begin.
Projecting wins and losses at this point is tricky, with the draft yet to be held and lots more personnel moves still to come.
And what looks tough now can look like cupcake city late. Remember how in 2013 the tough road games appeared to be trips to play teams like the Giants and Falcons? By the time those games rolled around, those teams were floundering and the Super Bowl-bound Seahawks simply rolled.
So I’ll wait for just a tiny bit more information before making picks.
What I will do is unveil my annual ranking of the games themselves, from most to least appetizing. Or, the games that I’m looking forward to the most, and those I’m looking forward to the not-most.
1. Oct. 3 vs. Los Angeles Rams
Thursday night games have often tended to be blah or tragic affairs for the Seahawks in recent years. But Seattle’s lone Thursday nighter this year seems really well timed — in week five at home against the Super Bowl-losing Rams — an early chance for Seattle to make a statement in the NFC West. The $140-million man, Russell Wilson, is 22-5-1 in prime-time games, 14-2 at home, 2-0 against the Rams. Those would be nice trends to continue in this one.
2. Oct. 20 vs. Baltimore Ravens
The return of Earl Thomas is enough to make this a really fun one. Throw in Lamar Jackson and a Baltimore offense that was surging at the end of the season, and this is as intriguing as any game on Seattle’s schedule, even if the two teams may not combine for more than 20 passes.
3. Sept. 15 at Pittsburgh Steelers
You always have to like the places Seattle hasn’t been to in a while — this is one of just three NFL cities in which Russell Wilson hasn’t played — and a chance to go against old Super Bowl rival Ben Roethlisberger one more time. Seattle also hasn’t won or scored a point in Pittsburgh since 1999, shut out in their last two appearances there.
4. Sept. 22 vs. New Orleans Saints
This game not only pits the Seahawks against a team that will be a Super Bowl favorite but also features a matchup of two of the top 10 active QBs with the most touchdown passes, but the only two who don’t stand taller than 6 feet.
5. Oct. 13 at Cleveland Browns
Here’s one of the other two places Wilson has yet to visit in a regular season game (Buffalo is the other on sort of a technicality — Seattle’s last road game against the Bills was played in Toronto). And talk about another fun QB matchup with Wilson going against Baker Mayfield. Was sort of surprised this one didn’t end up on prime time.
6. Dec. 8 at Los Angeles Rams
A Sunday night game in La-La Land? You’ve got to figure Pete Carroll will like that in what could be the last game he coaches in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, barring a playoff game (or, well, something else happening someday).
7. Oct. 27 at Atlanta Falcons
This looms as a make-or-break year for former Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, now in his fifth season with Atlanta and coming off a 7-9 campaign. That, and the challenge of stopping Matt Ryan and Julio Jones and playing in the new mega stadium in Atlanta make this a fun one.
8. Nov. 11 at San Francisco 49ers
Maybe a Monday night game will mean a little more raucous environment than the usually sleepy crowd that has greeted the Seahawks here in past seasons. And along with seeing old friend Richard Sherman again, maybe the Seahawks will also get another crack at Jimmy Garoppolo, whom they didn’t face last season.
9. Nov. 3 vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
This game marks the conclusion of a bizarre stretch for the Bucs, who won’t play a home game from Sept. 22 to Nov. 10, with their bye and a trip to London in the middle of what are four true road games. That Bruce “Seattle ‘is our home field’ ” Arians is back on the sideline for the Bucs won’t be lost on the Seahawks.
10. Nov. 24 at Philadelphia Eagles
A night game on the Sunday before Thanksgiving in the City of Brotherly Love could make for some challenging conditions. Seahawks fans, as well as the players, may want to take their helmets. Personal mental note for this trip — run up those steps like Rocky and try not to look like the first time he did it.
11. Dec. 15 at Carolina Panthers
Really? Another trip to Carolina? What’d Seattle do to deserve this? This will be the Seahawks’ sixth visit to Carolina since 2012 in the regular season, and they had a playoff game there in 2016. This trip is because the Seahawks play all of the teams in the NFC South this season, and it was the turn in the rotation to go to Charlotte. But before you lament another long trip, consider this — Seattle is 4-0 at Carolina in the regular season in the Wilson era, including a 30-27 win last year that was one of his finest moments.
12. Dec. 2 vs. Minnesota Vikings
If this game feels familiar, it should. Seattle hosted Minnesota on a Monday night in December last year, as well, a 21-7 victory that helped key the Seahawks’ late-season playoff surge. They will be hoping for more of the same in what will be the third consecutive year Kirk Cousins plays a game in Seattle.
13. Sept. 8 vs. Cincinnati Bengals
The Seahawks open against a Cincinnati team making just its third visit here since 1999. Carroll is 0-2 against the Bengals as Seattle’s coach, so there’s something to liven up this one.
14. Dec. 22 vs. Arizona Cardinals
If the Cardinals draft Kyler Murray and he turns out to be all that, then this game may move up a few notches on this list by the time the season rolls around. Otherwise, games against Arizona of late — home or road — have mostly been ones for the Seahawks to dread.
15. Dec. 29 vs. San Francisco 49ers
Who knows? Maybe by December there will be something riding on it and it’ll seem a whole lot more interesting. At the least, maybe Richard Sherman can leave a tip on his way out.
16. Sept. 29 at Arizona Cardinals
Well, at least they can’t lose an original member of the Legion of Boom for good this time around.