A tough beginning. A relatively soft-looking middle. A potentially tough ending.
The Seattle Seahawks’ 2017 schedule announced Thursday has Seattle opening on the road for the sixth time in seven years. They play the Packers at Lambeau Field in Green Bay for the third consecutive regular season.
At least it’s not December in Wisconsin this time.
This will be the second time these teams have met in a season opener. The other was Sept. 4, 2014, at CenturyLink Field when the Seahawks got the honor of opening the NFL season as the defending Super Bowl champions.
That remains the only time since 2010, Pete Carroll and John Schneider’s first season as Seattle’s coach and general manager, the Seahawks have started a season at home.
Seattle’s bye is early for the second consecutive season. It’s after Week 5’s road game at the Los Angeles Rams. Last year it was after the fourth game, also in October.
Seattle’s home opener is Sept. 17 against San Francisco, a two-win team in 2016 with a new regime led by first-time head coach Kyle Shanahan and first-time general manager John Lynch. The Seahawks are also likely to be favored the following week at Tennessee, at home Oct. 1 against Indianapolis and Oct. 8 at the Los Angeles Rams.
Thus, a chance for a fast start and the rest of the NFC West chasing Seattle the rest of the season.
At least that’s what it looks like on paper.
The Seahawks finish the regular season at Dallas on Christmas Eve and at home against NFC West arch-rival Arizona on New Year’s Eve.
Last season the Cowboys finished the regular season with the NFC’s best record, before Green Bay beat them in the divisional playoffs.
The last few seasons the Seahawks and Cardinals meetings have determined the division title, and their two games this year figure to do the same. Arizona appears to be the biggest threat to the Seahawks’ defense of their NFC West championship. Seattle plays at Arizona Nov. 9 in the Seahawks’ Thursday night game for 2017.
That is one of four primetime games for Seattle. The first is Sunday night, Oct. 1, that home game against the Colts.
The Seahawks’ other marquee home game this fall is Nov. 20 against former Seattle defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and his defending NFC-champion Atlanta Falcons. That’s Seattle’s only Monday night game. It’s a rematch of January’s NFC divisional playoff game in Atlanta, won by the Falcons on their way to losing to the Patriots in overtime of Super Bowl 51.
The Seahawks host Philadelphia on NBC’s Sunday Night Football on Dec. 3.
Seattle has five playoff teams from 2016 on its ‘17 schedule. The Seahawks have only one dreaded, 10 a.m. Pacific Time start, Dec. 10 at Jacksonville; the rest of their trips to the Eastern and Central time zones are later, afternoon kickoffs. There are no consecutive weekends with road games.
So it could be worse. Much worse.
Seahawks’ 2017 Schedule
Sept. 10—@ Green Bay, 1:25 p.m.
Sept. 17—San Francisco, 1:25 p.m.
Sept. 24—@ Tennessee, 1:05 p.m.
Oct. 1—Indianapolis, 5:30 p.m.
Oct. 8—@ L.A. Rams, 1:05 p.m.
Oct. 22—@ N.Y. Giants, 1:25 p.m.
Oct. 29—Houston, 1:05 p.m.
Nov. 5—Washington, 1:05 p.m.
Nov. 9 (Thu.)—@ Arizona, 5:25 p.m.
Nov. 20 (Mon.)—Atlanta, 5:30 p.m.
Nov. 26—@ San Francisco, 1:05 p.m.
Dec. 3—Philadelphia, 5:30 p.m.
Dec. 10—@ Jacksonville, 10 a.m.
Dec. 17—L.A. Rams, 1:05 p.m.
Dec. 24—@ Dallas, 1:25 p.m.
Dec. 31—Arizona, 1:25 p.m.
Home games in bold