With the release of the NFL 2019 regular season schedule, we break down the challenges facing the Seattle Seahawks.
Wednesday saw the release of the 2019 NFL regular season schedule. Understandably, this is always one of the most intriguing times during the offseason for football fans.
Of course, we’re most interested in the Seattle Seahawks’ schedule. Let’s take a look at what they can expect in 2019, with our five takeaways:
1) A welcome home opener
It’s pretty much accepted that the Seahawks have one of the very best home-field advantages in the NFL. And yet, they don’t often get to begin the regular season at CenturyLink Field.
The 2019 campaign will represent just the seventh time in the last 20 years that Seattle will open the season at home. They will host the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, September 8th, with a 1:05 pm kickoff time.
The Bengals lead the all-time series 11-9, including winning the only playoff game between the two franchises. (21-13 in 1988, when Cincinnati were on their way to Super Bowl XXIII.) In Seattle specifically the series is tied 4-4, with the Bengals dominating 34-12 in their last trip to the Pacific Northwest in 2011.
2) A potential playoff matchup
One of the Seahawks’ biggest challenges comes early on in the season, when they host the New Orleans Saints in Week 3. The Saint arguably should have been in last season’s Super Bowl, but lost out in controversial fashion after a no-call on a seemingly obvious pass interference penalty late in the fourth quarter of the NFC Championship game.
The Seahawks and Saints have been involved in some memorable clashes during the last decade, including the “Beast Quake” game in January 2011, which was the first ever playoff matchup between the two teams. The second playoff matchup came following the 2013 season, when Seattle won 23-15 on their way to winning Super Bowl XLVIII.
The Bengals lead the overall all-time series 8-7, when including the two playoff games. It is also worth noting that the Seahawks have never lost a home game in September, during the Peter Carroll era.
3) National exposure
Seahawks fans sometimes complain about the lack of national exposure their beloved team gets. There will be no such issue in 2019, with five prime-time appearances.
The first appearance comes in Week 5, when Seattle hosts the Los Angeles Rams on Thursday Night Football. Interestingly, the return matchup with last season’s Super Bowl participants will also be played in prime time, in Week 14 on Sunday Night Football.
The second Rams game will actually conclude a run of four consecutive games in prime time (albeit, with a bye week in Week 11). They will face the San Francisco 49ers away on Monday Night in Week 10, travel to Philadelphia to play the Eagles in Week 12 on Sunday Night and then host the Minnesota Vikings on Monday night in Week 13.
4) Road warriors
The Seahawks are usually among the teams who travel the most miles during an average NFL season. This is just par the course and something they are used to, purely based on where they are located in the country.
At least the 2019 schedule is fairly kind to Seattle in this respect, with only one true set of back-to-back road games, in Week 14 and 15. The other time they play back-to-back road games, this will be broken up by their bye week in Week 11.
It is worth noting the Seahawks will play four games which kick off at 10:00 am. However, under Carroll they have more than proved that this is just about your mindset, with the early starts not being as much of a hinderance as earlier in the existence of the franchise. (Improvements in travelling have also helped significantly.)
5) Other notes
Week 7 sees the Seahawks face the Baltimore Ravens, who will have a certain Earl Thomas suiting up for them. The game will be played in Seattle, so it will be interesting to see what kind of reception Thomas receives at CenturyLink Field.
The Seahawks travel to Carolina to play the Panthers in Week 15. This will be the 10th overall meeting between the two teams since 2010, including a couple of playoff encounters.
The relevance of strength of schedule is debatable, just because of the unpredictability and parity that exists in the NFL from season to season. Regardless — for what it’s worth — the Seahawks have the eighth-easiest schedule for 2019, based on the winning percentages of all teams from last season.
With the release of the Seahawks’ 2019 schedule, is there anything in particular which stands out to you? Which game or games are you most looking forward to? Let us know in the comments section below.