The Seahawks’ 2018 schedule was going to be tough enough given the sudden rise of their rivals in the NFC West. But the presence of the NFC North and the AFC West on Seattle’s 2018 regular-season schedule makes it that much tougher.
The good news for the Seahawks as they look over their schedule for 2018: Most of their toughest opponents have to travel to Seattle. And one of their “away” opponents in 2018, the Raiders, will meet them in London for an October showdown. Neither West Coast team will be happy about that haul.
Seahawks schedule 2018
|Date||Opponent||Kickoff time||TV network|
|Sept. 9||at Denver Broncos||4:05 p.m.||(FOX)|
|Sept. 17||at Chicago Bears||8:15 p.m.||(ESPN)|
|Sept. 23||vs Dallas Cowboys||4:25 p.m.||(FOX)|
|Sept. 30||at Arizona Cardinals||4:05 p.m.||(FOX)|
|Oct. 7||vs Los Angeles Rams||4:05 p.m.||(FOX)|
|Oct. 14||at Oakland Raiders (London)||1 p.m.||(FOX)|
|Oct. 28||at Detroit Lions||1 p.m.||(FOX)|
|Nov. 4||vs Los Angeles Chargers||4 p.m.||(CBS)|
|Nov. 11||at Los Angeles Rams||4:25 p.m.||(CBS)|
|Nov. 15||vs Green Bay Packers||8:20 p.m.||(FOX/NFLN)|
|Nov. 25||at Carolina Panthers||1 p.m.||(FOX)|
|Dec. 2||vs San Francisco 49ers||8:20 p.m.||(NBC)|
|Dec. 10||vs Minnesota Vikings||8:15 p.m.||(ESPN)|
|Dec. 16||at San Francisco 49ers||4:05 p.m.||(FOX)|
|Dec. 23||vs Kansas City Chiefs||8:20 p.m.||(NBC)|
|Dec. 30||vs Arizona Cardinals||4:05 p.m.||(FOX)|
From a 2017 record standpoint, the Seahawks are tied for the fifth-hardest schedule in the sport. From a practical standpoint, things should be about that hard or even tougher.
The NFC West is arguably the best division in football. The 49ers and Rams loaded up this offseason on their improving rosters, equipped with rising young quarterbacks who could challenge Wilson as the best in the division.
The 49ers looked like a completely revamped team after handing the reins over to Jimmy Garoppolo last season and awarded him with a massive contract based on a limited sample size. Their skill position talent is still a little lacking, but they loaded up enough on defense—including a vengeful Sherman—to be a playoff contender.
The Rams had a Madden-esque offseason. They added Sam Shields, Aqib Talib, Ndamukong Suh and Brandin Cooks as part of a clear all-in push to bring a Super Bowl contender to Los Angeles. Sean McVay did wonders during his first year as a head coach, and if Todd Gurley and Jared Goff continue thriving, there’s little reason to bet against the Rams as a repeat division winner.
The non-divisional matchups don’t get much easier. The AFC West and NFC North are the NFC West’s common opponents—a pair of divisions with strong teams. No team is particularly Super Bowl-worthy in the AFC West, but all four teams will enter this season with playoff hopes.
The NFC North features a reigning conference finalist that added Kirk Cousins (Minnesota Vikings) and the Green Bay Packers, who employ Aaron Rodgers. With the Carolina Panthers and Dallas Cowboys on the slate to round things out, the Seahawks will play three-quarters of their games against teams that think they could be playoff bound.
Winning in the division is every team’s top priority, but it’ll be of the utmost importance for these NFC West teams. Getting to 10 or 11 wins will probably win the division given the difficult schedule they all face.
The Rams and Seahawks are probably going to compete for the division when things are said and done. The 49ers made a nice improvement with Garoppolo but are still a team that looked like one of the worst in football before he took over. A quarterback can make a huge difference, but only so much.
Toughest tests: The Cowboys, armed again with running back Ezekiel Elliott for a full season and a further developed QB in Dak Prescott, present the Seahawks a tough intraconference matchup, even though Dallas will have to travel to Seattle. The Seahawks also have to travel all the way to London for their October matchup against the Raiders.
Biggest breaks: For the most part, Seattle draws its toughest opponents (on paper) at home. The Seahawks also have to make just one trip to the East Coast in 2018 — their trip to Carolina to play the Panthers. Of course, that does not include the trip to London.
Bottom line: Despite their division’s tough matchups against the NFC North and AFC West, the Seahawks have a relatively manageable schedule. Based on 2017 results and 2018 projections, Seattle’s home opponents are much stronger than its away opponents, making the home-field advantage of CenturyLink Field that much more important. The Seahawks might be slipping into rebuild mode around Russell Wilson, but while that’s happening, they’re fortunate their 2018 schedule is not tougher. Record prediction: 8-8