By John Boyle Herald Writer
RENTON — Thanks to their 2012 success, the emergence of Russell Wilson and some significant offseason additions, the Seahawks have become a popular pick to be Super Bowl contenders next season.
They’re also apparently pretty popular with the NFL’s schedule makers, who put the Seahawks in four prime-time games for 2013.
The Seahawks were not scheduled for a single prime-time game in 2009 or 2010, though their 2010 season finale that decided the NFC West was flexed into prime time. They also had just two night games scheduled last season, though a third, their late-season showdown with San Francisco, was moved to Sunday night.
This season, however, Seattle plays twice on Monday Night Football (at St. Louis on Oct. 28 and vs. New Orleans on Dec. 2). They also haved one game on a Sunday night (vs. San Francisco on Sept. 15) and one on a Thursday night (at Arizona on Oct. 17).
This will be the first season since 2006 — when the Seahawks were coming off an NFC title — that Seattle plays twice on Monday night. The Seahawks’ prime time appearances in the 2013 season also are the most since the five they had in 2006.
The Seahawks open their season on the road against Carolina, and they’ll play six games against playoff teams from 2012 — two against San Francisco, and games at Houston, at Indianapolis, at Atlanta and home against Minnesota. That Carolina game is one of five for Seattle that kicks off at 10 a.m. Pacific Time, a slot that historically has been rough on West Coast teams. Last year, Seattle lost three of four regular-season games that kicked off at 10 a.m., winning only at Chicago. Seattle’s playoff run also ended in an early game that saw the Seahawks get off to a slow start in Atlanta before storming back in the second half.
In a bit of an odd quirk, Seattle plays the entire AFC South in succession, beginning with a Week 3 game against Jacksonville, which is coached by former Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, and ending with a Week 6 game against the Jake Locker-led Tennessee Titans.
Seattle’s bye is in Week 12, and while that’s late, the Seahawks get something of a mini-bye earlier in the season when they play at Arizona on a Thursday in Week 7 then play on Monday night in Week 8.
In addition to rivalry games against San Francisco, a playoff rematch in Atlanta, and a game against a former assistant coach, other notable matchups include the Russell Wilson-Andrew Luck matchup in Indianapolis in Week 5; New Orleans’ first trip to Seattle since the “Beastquake” playoff game; and a showdown with the Vikings in Week 11 that will match new Seahawks Percy Harvin and Antoine Winfield against their former team.
Seattle’s season ends with a pair of tough road games in San Francisco and New York followed by home games against Arizona and St. Louis to close out the season.
The Seahawks are expected to re-sign kicker Steven Hauschka, according to a league source. Hauschka, the team’s kicker for the past two seasons, became an unrestricted free agent following the 2012 season. Hauschka, 27, has made 49 of 57 field goal attempts in his two seasons with Seattle, with a long of 52 in each of the past two seasons.
Herald Writer John Boyle: email@example.com.