A very interesting map we've received this year. Lots of interesting obstacles and possible rally points along the way. Lots of things for the Hawk fan to consider before we put on our gear and grab a beer for the road. Let's consider them:
They gave us one night in the lights. The rest of the time we're going by day. Hardly seems fair, having proved last year we're one of the most exciting teams in the league, clearly on the come, with lots of young talent. This is, plain and simple - a mistake by the NFL. They'll regret that oversight by December, I assure you.
We converted plenty of non-believers last year, getting our hands on Green Bay in the Playoffs. People want to know what we're about. Who are these young punks, led by that guy who smiles for overtime coin tosses and says "We want the ball, and we're gonna score" for the world to hear? Balls are flying around. Our RB is a fantasy favorite. Serve up an attacking defense with 2 young studs in the secondary. Made some noise this off-season. People are telling you to watch for them…
But they're never on where I live.
Naughty, naughty NFL schedule guy. You make a very large boo-boo. Fortunately, we don't care. We don't need your lights. We're used to disrespect. You'll just have to wait until the playoffs to learn what we're about. Sorry.
We'll be spending lots of time in the East, early. You can look at that as a positive, or a negative. Since none of this has actually occurred yet, let's think positive. And here's how:
Though we open with 4 out of 6 road games – the 2 home games are our most important divisional rivals: the Niners and the Rams. Additionally, we've got the BYE week spliced between the two, so we'll actually be home for 3-weeks. Ah yes, happy to be home – and look who we've invited! I'm starved. Let's eat!! (Understand what I'm saying there, folks? Is there anyone else you'd rather have at home in that stretch than those 2)? The Rams are the second course, after we've thumped the declining Niners and had a week with nothing to eat. Famished.
In fact, 6 of our first 9 games – are on the road. The final 2 of that stretch being road games against those very same divisional foes (SF, ST LOU). The other home game encounters SuperBowl loser, Carolina. We'd like to beat Carolina, wouldn't we? Well, in a 5-week stretch following that Rams game – they're the only home cooked meal we've got. I think we'll find out a lot about ourselves that week, yes?
By mid-season, we'll know if we still have a "problem winning on the road". If last year's record persists – we'll be fighting our way back from week 11 forward (a situation we're historically quite comfortable with). If we're able to conquer the road aesthetic, and at the very least split games @New Orleans, Tampa, New England, Arizona, SF and St LOUS – we're in real good shape, my blue-winged friends. Cuz the thing about having most of your road games early…
We're perched comfortably at home for weeks 11-17. Oh yes. Once we've taken out all the laundry, we encounter a 3-week stretch at home that includes Miami, Buffalo, and Dallas (under the lights and a swarm of birds). A couple December games in Minnesota and NYJ. Followed by what should be a comfortable finish at home vs Arizona and Atlanta.
Is there a game we can't win in that stretch? Is there a game we don't expect to win? Miami concerns me, but they're in the soup this off-season. Minnesota? Payback is a… female-dog-that-don't-get-no-respect. I expect the bookmakers to favor us in all of those contests. And if they fail to do so on Monday Night vs Dallas? I'll be even more comfortable.
We're fired up this year. Should be out of the gate with a lot more confidence than usual. I'd rather encounter the road question early, rather than later. I'm of the opinion the NFL did us a very nice favor to serve us that calendar. Depending on our commitment, of course.
My sense from the team is the loss in Green Bay did nothing but erupt an itch they've been unable to scratch. They can't wait to get back on the field and correct unfinished business (isn't that precisely how YOU feel?). The momentum remains, only – more assured and more focused. "If only we hadn't lost a game here or there on the road, we could have had home field and torn up anyone they sent to us". Expect there to be a true dedication to the record required for Home Field Advantage this year, HawkFans. They can taste it. (And so can I).
Here's another small caveat. That week 2 Tampa Bay game has a 1pm PST tee time. Not the 10am time we normally encounter. Does that make a difference? Maybe. I think it does. When an East Coast team flies over here, they essentially start the game at the same time they're used to. When we fly over there? We lose 3 hours. Would it bother you to clock in for work 3 hours earlier than you're used to… on occasion? You bet your spinning globe it would! And you're not required to face "Chuckie" in office meetings.
So they tossed us a bone vs TBay. They could have done us some truer justice by throwing a couple Sunday Night games at us on the East Coast. But we can't exactly expect them to be Seahawk fans now, can we?
They'll get on the bandwagon
after we shock the world this year in Jacksonville, Florida.
See ya there…
G. Scott Jones is a regular contributor for SeahawksInsider.com. You can send him feedback (not to mention screenwriting offers) at firstname.lastname@example.org.