This week, the National Football League will release the 2013 regular season schedule. The dates, times, and television broadcasts will be revealed to the nation. As a die-hard fan and season ticket holder this is the most exciting day of the offseason for me. I get very excited to see where and when we play our opponents and to scope out scheduling patterns to get an early look at how our schedule and season will play out. However the most exciting thing most fans get excited about when the schedule comes out is who we play on national television.
Starting last season every team played at least one game in primetime. Bad teams from the previous season only got the bare minimum of one primetime game while super bowl contending teams played in primetime more often, with a couple of teams pushing the maximum of 6 primetime games. Last season the Seahawks had three primetime games coming off a 7-9 campaign in 2011. In 2012, the Seahawks went 11-5, made it to the NFC Divisional playoffs, and they currently feature some of the most exciting players in the league. In my opinion I think the Seahawks will have at least four or five primetime games scheduled in 2013. In this post I have tiered our matchups to separate which games I believe have primetime appeal and which games I think probably will not be scheduled on national television.
There are 4 tiers:
Tier One: Games I think will (and should) be scheduled in primetime
Tier Two: Games I think could be scheduled in primetime
Tier Three: Games I think could be scheduled in primetime, but not likely
Tier Four: Games I think will not be scheduled in primetime
Seahawks at 49ers, 49ers at Seahawks, Saints at Seahawks, Seahawks at Falcons, Seahawks at Colts
It is a no-brainer that one of the Seahawks games against the San Francisco 49ers will be scheduled in primetime but both will not. Here’s why. The Sunday afternoon NFC NFL station (FOX) has the right to protect a certain number of games from being scheduled in primetime or being flexed into primetime in the second half of the season. Last season FOX lost out on both Seahawks/49ers games to NFL Network and NBC. To make sure they do not miss out on one of these hot matchups in 2013, I believe they will protect one of these games in 2013. The game that does not get protected will almost certainly be scheduled into primetime and I am very confident that is what will happen. I think Sunday Night Football is the landing spot for the primetime Seahawks/49ers game this season.
This season the Seahawks do not have a particularly attractive slate of home games. Having said this, the NFL likes to schedule Seahawks home games in primetime to show off the best fans and home-field advantage in the league. The only other matchup I think has a great chance to be scheduled in primetime at home is against the New Orleans Saints. The last time these two teams played was in the 2010 Wild-Card playoffs where the Seahawks upset the Saints 41-36. What could be better than putting the rematch on national television? I can definitely see this game being scheduled on Monday Night Football with Marshawn Lynch’s “Beast Quake” run being replayed during the week leading up to the game.
Two other road matchups have strong primetime appeal in my opinion. The Seahawks head to Atlanta in 2013 to play the Falcons in a rematch of last season’s Divisional playoff heartbreaker. Both of these teams figure to contend to represent the NFC in Super Bowl XLVIII so it wouldn’t be a surprise if this game is scheduled in primetime. This is a game that I could see on either Sunday Night Football or Monday Night Football. The other road game I put in tier one is the Seahawks/Colts matchup. Last year Russell Wilson and Andrew Luck were two rookies who took their respective teams to the postseason. This season they face off for the first time. Two playoff teams from the previous year with two up-and-coming franchise quarterbacks sounds like a primetime matchup to me. This game I think would be perfect for Thursday Night Football.
Vikings at Seahawks, Rams at Seahawks, Seahawks at Texans
The Seahawks host the Minnesota Vikings for the second straight season and there are a couple of reasons why this game could be scheduled in primetime. Both teams made the playoffs in 2012 and the NFL usually likes to schedule primetime games between two teams who made the playoffs the previous season. Perhaps the bigger reason this game could be in primetime is because the Seahawks have become “Vikings West.” The Seahawks have both Sidney Rice and Percy Harvin who went to the NFC Championship game with the Vikings in 2009. The Seahawks also have former Minnesota offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell calling the plays. It would be cool to have Harvin play against his former team in primetime in 2013. This matchup I could see on either Monday Night Football or Thursday Night Football.
The Rams could be a surprise team in 2013. They won 7 games in 2012 and have a very tough defense. Some analysts have already predicted the Rams could challenge for a Wild-Card berth in 2013. This is a rivalry that could be reborn in 2013 and putting one of our games against the Rams in primetime this season is a very real possibility. If this is the case, I think the Rams game in Seattle would be the primetime choice. Thursday Night Football could be the landing spot for this matchup.
The Seahawks and Texans square off in Houston this season. Once again this is a matchup featuring two playoff teams from 2012 which the NFL will smile upon. Sunday Night Football or Monday Night Football might take a look at this game for primetime.
Titans at Seahawks, Seahawks at Rams, Seahawks at Giants
The only other home game that could have primetime appeal is our matchup with the Tennessee Titans. The only storyline that would warrant this game to be in primetime is the return of former University of Washington quarterback Jake Locker who will be playing his first regular season game in Seattle since getting drafted.
Just like my reasoning for the Rams game in Seattle, it is possible one of our games against St. Louis could be in primetime. I think it is more likely the matchup in Seattle would be in primetime but since the Rams also have a home slate that is on the weaker side, the matchup against the Seahawks in St. Louis could be in primetime.
The NFL loves to schedule east coast teams in primetime. The New York Giants are one of the most common teams to play multiple primetime games no matter how good or bad they are. Even though the Giants did not qualify for the playoffs in 2012 they did finish 2nd in the NFC East and could be primed to bounce back and challenge for a playoff spot in 2013. This game’s appeal for primetime is that it is a rematch of the Seahawks 36-25 upset of the Giants at MetLife Stadium in 2011. In addition, the Seahawks will be heading to New York to play the Giants but will make it a statement that they intend to return the New York in February 2014 for the Super Bowl.
Cardinals at Seahawks, Seahawks at Cardinals, Buccaneers at Seahawks, Jaguars at Seahawks, Seahawks at Panthers
I don’t think these matchups have any sort of appeal to be scheduled in primetime in 2013. The scores of most of these games will not be close, which probably won’t attract big audiences. The Buccaneers and Panthers both won only 7 games last season while the Cardinals and Jaguars combined for 7 wins last season. It would be a huge shock to me if any of these matchups are scheduled in primetime this season.