The Seahawks have played both up and down to the competition lately. I expect that to change in 2017. These are their biggest games.
In the last few seasons for Seahawks Football 2017, there has been a common theme of playing down or up to their opponent. For example, walk out of Foxborough with a win and beat the NFC Champion Atlanta Falcons at home. Then, lose 9-6 against the L.A. Rams and be beaten in every element of the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I expect those lapses will disappear in 2017, and only the best teams will be their biggest tests. I think these will be the biggest games on the Seahawks schedule in 2017.
Seahawks top three games of 2017
3. Week 1, Away against the Green Bay Packers
I have trouble with placing this game at just third. But it’s the first game of the season, and the magnitude of this game won’t be deciphered until much later in the year. But a full roster of healthy players and finally some warmth in Green Bay will bring forth fireworks in September.
It’ll also be newly-acquired Seahawks running back Eddie Lacy’s first trip back to the Midwest.
The opposing assignments for each team will always make these game a must win, even in Week 1. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is the best in the league. Wide receivers Randall Cobb and the returning Jordy Nelson are dangerous threats at any time. In addition, newly acquired tight end Martellus Bennett is a welcome target for Rodgers to find downfield.
Although he had a down year in 2016, linebacker Clay Matthews moved back outside in his normal position in the latter half of last season and became what he originally was in Green Bay. He is a pass-rushing, high motor threat to wreck havoc at any moment of a game. In the secondary, safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is still roaming around for the Packers.
The last two contests have gone to Green Bay at home by a considerable margin of victory. Seattle has trademarked starting slow and finishing strong at the end. This could be a testament to the mindset early.
2. Weeks 5 & 15. At home and away against the Los Angeles Rams
Every season, there has been one team who scares 12s for the entire week. Their tenacious defense and ball controlling offense, always seems to sway into a lower scoring affair each time around.
Furthermore, their entire offensive output is based on whether running back Todd Gurley can bounce to his rookie form.
Since the 2014 season, the Los Angeles Rams have owned the Seahawks 4-2 in the last six games. I would even argue the Rams could have won twice last season, but they did not take advantage of their opportunities.
In 2016 we saw a heavyweight bout in the Coliseum and an important but blah win on Thursday Night Football.
The Los Angeles Rams have a stout defense. They make it very difficult for the Hawks quarterback Russell Wilson and company on every occasion. A deficiency for the Seattle Seahawks, as of late, is the protection for Wilson and the strength of the Rams is their defensive line.
Arguably, the best defensive tackle in football resides in Los Angeles. Aaron Donald has manhandled the front five of Seattle. “Donald has recorded 30 tackles and four sacks in the last six match-ups“(). Hopefully, Center Justin Britt and the rest of the franchise grow and can contain him in the future.
I say contain, because a player of his caliber will make plays, but limiting his impact is key.
1. Week 11. At home against the Atlanta Falcons
There is not another defense in the NFL that has duplicated what the Seattle Seahawks have since 2012. A young, up and coming juggernaut already making their case as the class of the National Football Conference (NFC).
Last year, the Seahawks and Falcons met twice, splitting both contests, the victorious one was the team whom hosted. The Falcons welcome back everyone on their offense and defense for their upcoming campaign.
An offense lead by All-Pro Quarterback Matt Ryan and his reliable wide receiver Julio Jones, who are ready for their sixth NFL season together. Furthermore, a balanced rushing attack showcasing the abilities of Devontae Freeman and Tevin Coleman. A defense lead by outside linebacker Vic Beasley on the inside and cornerback Desmond Trufant in the secondary.
In addition, the Atlanta Falcons acquired two defensive tackles in free agency; Dontari Poe from the Kansas City Chiefs and Courtney Upshaw, Baltimore Ravens.
The victor will more than likely run the table in the playoff picture for home-field advantage.
Week 16, at Dallas Cowboys: The offense features the best lineman in the NFL. Off-season trouble has clouded running back Ezekiel Elliot. Quarterback Dak Prescott has the entire locker room to himself, after Tony Romo exited for the booth.
The loss in the secondary is what made me take them out of the Top 3. Defensive backs J.J. Wilcox, Barry Church, Morris Claiborne and Brandon Carr all left for other teams, making a brand new secondary in place to start in 2017. Offensive lineman Ronald Leary departed as well.
The lack of the depth in the secondary and losing an integral member of the offensive line make it tough to add Dallas to the Top 3.
Also, there could be a sophomore slump in line, as well as playing for their NFC East life against the Washington Redskins, New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles.
Others to Mention: New York Giants, Arizona Cardinals, Washington Redskins, Houston Texans, Tennessee Titans.
Quite frankly, all of the teams on the Seahawks upcoming schedule are important in deciphering the 2017 chapter of Seattle. But, there are glaring question marks that I have regarding each team.
The utmost importance is how you stack up against the class of the NFC and closer to home, winning against the NFC West.
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