Archive | April, 2014

Seahawks 2014 Schedule Review

24 Apr
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The Seahawks will Host the Green Bay Packers for NFL Kickoff 2014
Photo Credit: seahawks.com

The Seahawks 2014 regular season schedule was announced Wednesday night. Here now are my thoughts on what the Seahawks are looking forward to this fall.

Primetime Thoughts: In my primetime outlook post earlier this week I nearly guaranteed that the Seahawks would be scheduled to play five games in primetime. To my surprise I was wrong. The Seahawks have been preliminary scheduled four primetime games, with the possibility of up to two more games flexed into primetime. The Seahawks will play three of these four games on the road; at the Washington Redskins on Monday Night Football, at the San Francisco 49ers on Thanksgiving night on NBC, and at the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday Night Football.

To my amazement the Seahawks were only scheduled one home game in primetime and it was the one game we all knew was coming; on Thursday September 4th against the Green Bay Packers to open the 2014 season. As a season-ticket holder I am furious that we only have one home game in primetime. As the defending Super Bowl champions I feel we have earned at least 2, maybe even 3 home games in primetime. However perhaps we were too good to be scheduled in primetime at home. ProFootballTalk reported late Wednesday night that “the NFL was wary of putting Seahawks home games on in prime-time due to their track record of blowouts in nationally televised games played in Seattle the last several seasons.” As disappointing as this may be, it is accurate. In the Pete Carroll era, the Seahawks are 7-0 at home in primetime. Excluding the win over Green Bay in 2012, the Seahawks have won these games by an average of 21 points.

From where I am sitting the best possible Seahawks home game to be flexed into Sunday Night Football that is currently scheduled for Sunday afternoon is November 9th against the New York Giants. Our week 12 home game against Arizona could also be a candidate to be flexed into primetime but only if the Seahawks/Cardinals game in Arizona week 16 is flexed OUT of Sunday Night Football. I would also expect that FOX has protected the Seahawks week 15 home game against San Francisco, eliminating that game from possibly being flexed into primetime.

NFC West Slugfest: The Seahawks will play their first 10 games and let the cards fall where they may. Once week 11 rolls around however, they will be entering a full 12-round fight cage-match style. The Seahawks will duke it out with San Francisco, Arizona, and St. Louis in 5 of their final 6 games. In this same 6-game stretch Arizona will play 4 games against the NFC West, San Francisco will play 3 games against the NFC West, and St. Louis will play 2 of their final 6 against NFC West foes.

Light on 10am Starts: The Seahawks are scheduled to play only three road games in the 10am Pacific Time slot this season. Our game in St. Louis against the Rams will be played in a dome, our game in week 8 against the Carolina Panthers could be played in warm weather, and the other 10am game in week 11 against the Kansas City Chiefs could be played in a colder climate.

Easiest Stretch of the Season: The Seahawks have a chance to separate themselves from the rest of the pack between weeks 9 and 12. Three of their four games in this stretch are at home, as they host the Oakland Raiders, New York Giants, and Arizona Cardinals. Their one road game comes week 11 against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Toughest Stretch of the Season: Having to play San Francisco 2 out of 3 weeks is no picnic. Road games against the Philadelphia Eagles and Arizona Cardinals only add to the brutality. This is exactly what happens between weeks 13 and 16. The combined record of the Seahawks opponents in these 4 games last season was 44-20.

Toughest Stretch of the Season #2: The beginning of each season provides the most mystery, as teams could start off their season hot but then flounder as the season progresses. The Seahawks will travel to play the San Diego Chargers, a 2013 playoff team, in their home opener week 2. The Seahawks will then come home for a rematch of Super Bowl XLVIII against the Denver Broncos the next week. After their super early bye week (week 4) the Seahawks will travel all the way across the country to play the Washington Redskins in what I see could be an early “trap” game.

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Seahawks 2014 Primetime Outlook

22 Apr
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Photo Credit: cbssports.com

*Before I start this post, let me first apologize to everyone for the two and a half month hiatus. Life has been pretty hectic but I’m back!*

The NFL will release the 2014 regular season schedule on Wednesday night, meaning we will know the “when’s” and “what times” attached to the Seahawks 16 regular season games. To many football fans, the release of the regular season schedule is no big deal but to avid fans and season ticket holders such as myself, the release of the NFL regular season schedule is the most highly anticipated date of the offseason as we finally get to make our plans for the fall. As the defending Super Bowl champions, the Seahawks will certainly see their fair share of the primetime spotlight this season. At the time of the NFL schedule release, teams can be scheduled in primetime no more than five times, and can qualify to play a sixth primetime game via flexible scheduling during the season. It is almost guaranteed that the Seahawks will have five games in primetime when the schedule is released Wednesday night but the speculation as to which games will be in primetime adds to the mystery. Like last season, I have tiered all of our matchups to separate which games I believe are more attractive to a primetime audience. There are four 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: Longshot games I could see scheduled in primetime, but are not likely to be

Tier Four: Games I do not think will be scheduled in primetime

TIER ONE

49ers at Seahawks, Seahawks at 49ers, Broncos at Seahawks, Packers at Seahawks, Seahawks at Panthers, Seahawks at Redskins

After playing them three times in 2013 including the NFC Championship (or the unofficial Super Bowl as some called it), there is no doubt that one of our games against the San Francisco 49ers will be scheduled in primetime with the other game going to FOX on a Sunday afternoon, and once again I believe it will be the game at CenturyLink Field that is destined to be played under the lights. I believe that the NFL will want to start the 2014 season off with a bang, which is why I predict 49ers at Seahawks will be the game scheduled for NFL Kickoff 2014 on Thursday night, September 4th. At first I thought it would make more sense to schedule the Seahawks/49ers game at Levi’s Stadium as the primetime game between these two teams as the NFL would want to highlight the 49ers new stadium. However after learning that the 49ers will likely not play any Monday or Thursday night home games in 2014 due to traffic concerns it became more logical in my mind that the Seahawks would host the 49ers in primetime for the 3rd consecutive season.

I would be absolutely stunned if the Broncos/Seahawks game, a rematch of Super Bowl XLVIII, is not slated for primetime. It makes too much sense. The fact that these two teams are once again the early favorites to make it back to Super Bowl XLIX makes this game a potential ratings wonderland. I expect this game to be a serious candidate for Sunday Night Football, or possibly Monday Night Football.

Two years ago the Seahawks beat the Packers in Seattle in what has been remembered then and now as the infamous “Fail Mary” game. The Packers return to Seattle this season to try to avenge that sour loss and I believe this matchup will be the Seahawks 3rd game scheduled in primetime. I think it would make all the sense in the world to have this game scheduled on Monday Night Football just like it was two seasons ago.

NOTE: On paper the Seahawks have a more attractive road schedule than home schedule, so I think the Seahawks will have two scheduled primetime games on the road and if Seattle qualifies for a sixth primetime game sometime during the season, that too will be a road game.

This is the third consecutive season that the Seahawks travel to Charlotte to take on the Carolina Panthers. This season however, both teams are defending division champions and took the top two seeds in the NFC Playoffs last season. The Seahawks game against the Panthers is one of the more attractive road games we play this season and I could see this game being played on either Monday Night Football or Thursday Night Football.

This year the Seahawks also play the NFC East, the one division that the NFL loves to over-schedule into primetime every year. If the Seahawks are going to play one game in primetime against an NFC East opponent, count my vote towards our game in Washington against the Redskins. Even though the Redskins finished in last place last season, couldn’t you see the “Russell Wilson wins a Super Bowl before #2 overall pick Robert Griffin III does” storyline be dissected for days leading up to the game? I definitely could. Monday Night Football would be the best fit for this game.

TIER TWO

Cowboys at Seahawks, Cardinals at Seahawks, Seahawks at Eagles, Seahawks at Chiefs

The Dallas Cowboys are one of the most attractive teams for the NFL to have playing in primetime. Any Cowboys game is a candidate to be in primetime and their game against the Seahawks in Seattle is no different. I believe there are more attractive teams for the Seahawks to play in primetime at home but a Cowboys/Seahawks game is definitely a possibility.

Last season the Arizona Cardinals snapped the Seahawks 14-game home winning streak dating back to December 2011. With the competition within the NFC West getting stronger there will certainly be some NFC West rivalry games slated for primetime in 2014. I could see Cardinals/Seahawks in Seattle on Thursday Night Football.

I could also see the Seahawks play two other 2013 playoff teams in primetime in 2014. The Philadelphia Eagles are the defending NFC East champions and will see an expanded slate of primetime games this season. Sunday Night Football or Monday Night Football would be the ideal landing spot for this game. If the Seahawks are going to play a road game in primetime against an old AFC West foe, I think it should be the Kansas City Chiefs. Monday Night Football or an early season Thursday Night game would be the best fit for Seahawks/Chiefs.

TIER THREE

Rams at Seahawks, Giants at Seahawks, Seahawks at Cardinals, Seahawks at Chargers

The Seahawks were challenged by the St. Louis Rams last season and the Rams may be ready to make a splash in the playoff conversation this year. Rams/Seahawks in Seattle is sure to be a longshot given the Seahawks other home opponents but it is the better matchup of the two. The New York Giants are another NFC East team which could draw big ratings in primetime but I do not believe this game is likely to be played in primetime. The one thing potentially working in favor of this matchup however is the legacy of the series; specifically the Seahawks win over the Giants in 2005 when New York surrendered 11 false start penalties.

Seahawks/Cardinals in Arizona was a primetime matchup last season which is why it is unlikely to be repeated in primetime this season. Of the matchups in this tier, the Seahawks game in San Diego against the Chargers may have the best chance to be scheduled in primetime, especially since the Chargers also made the playoffs last season.

TIER FOUR

Raiders at Seahawks, Seahawks at Rams

The only way Raiders/Seahawks sneaks its way into the primetime schedule is the argument that the NFL wants to display former bitter AFC rivals on a national stage much like they did the last time Oakland came to town in 2006. I think this matchup is a gigantic mismatch on paper at this point and could be just as ugly as the Super Bowl was. An early double-digit Seahawks lead could turn viewers away later on in the broadcast.

Last season the Seahawks played the Rams in St. Louis on Monday Night Football and that game went head to head with the World Series which was being played just down the street. The environment inside the Edward Jones Dome that night was less than ideal and introduced the prospect of St. Louis missing out on attractive matchups in primetime down the road. Pencil this year’s matchup against the Rams in St. Louis into a Sunday morning/afternoon slot.