Seahawks 2008 Schedule Analysis

The National Football League hasn't become so successful by being dumb. They elected to wait until after the first week of the Major League Baseball season, after the NCAA men's basketball tournament and after the Masters to announce their full 2008 season schedule.

End result? Millions of hours of productivity lost this morning as NFL fans across the globe furiously refreshed their browsers searching for any bit of leaked information until 2pm ET.

The Seattle Seahawks’ quest for a 5th consecutive NFC West title begins in Orchard Park, New York against the Buffalo Bills, who have gone 7-9 in each of the last two seasons under head coach Dick Jauron. Seattle is 6-4 lifetime against the Buffalo Bills, and will be looking to avenge the 38-9 shellacking the Bills put on the Seahawks in Qwest Field on November 28th, 2004, which remains the most lopsided defeat the Seahawks have suffered since opening Qwest Field in 2002.

Seattle opens up their 2008 home schedule with back-to-back home games against NFC West rivals San Francisco and St. Louis. Seattle swept both teams in their season series in 2007, and getting them both at home in September is an opportunity for the Seahawks to make a statement that the NFC West still belongs to them.

After a bye in Week 4, Seattle heads back to the east coast for a 10:05 a.m. PST game against the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants, who will be coming off a bye week, as well. Historically, Giants Stadium has been unkind to the Seahawks. The last time the Seahawks won in that stadium was 1983.

The retirement of Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre likely removed this year’s Packers-Seahawks game from primetime consideration. Had Favre not retired, NBC or ESPN surely would have included a Favre/Holmgren match-up on their calendar.

In 2007, Seattle made two back-to-back road trips. In each one, the second game was played further from Seattle than the first. In Week 3, the Seahawks played at San Francisco and then traveled to Pittsburgh in Week 4. Later in the season, the Seahawks played at St. Louis before traveling to Philadelphia the following week.

This year, Seattle will only make one such trip, and the NFL schedule-makers have made it as bearable as possible.

In Week 7, the Seahawks will make the long flight to Tampa, Florida to play the Buccaneers. The NFL, however, has made this a Sunday night game, so Seattle avoids not only the dreaded 10am start time, which has been a bug-a-boo during the Mike Holmgren era, but the glaring sun and sweltering heat, as well.

The Seahawks go on the road again in Week 8, but it’s to San Francisco, by far the shortest flight the Seahawks will make all year.

Andy Reid, a former assistant who worked under Mike Holmgren, brings his Philadelphia Eagles to Qwest Field in Week 9. Unless Philadelphia and Seattle meet in the playoffs, this will be the last time the two friends square off against one another while in their current positions. The series is tied at 2-2, and surprisingly, the road team has won each of the four contests.

In Week 10, the Seahawks start the second half of the regular season by making their second (of three?) trips to Florida for what appears to be a winnable road game against the rebuilding Miami Dolphins. They’ll also get their first look at whomever the #1 pick of the 2008 NFL Draft is. The last time the Seahawks traveled to Miami was to open the 2000 season, which Seattle lost, 23-0.

Seattle begins the most difficult portion of their schedule with a home game against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 11. Seattle and Arizona have split their season series the last two seasons. The Cardinals, who are looking to build on their 8-8 2007 season, will be coming to Seattle on a shortened week, having hosted the 49ers on the previous Monday night.

Week 12 has the Washington Redskins, led by first-year NFL head coach and Seahawks’ Ring of Honor member Jim Zorn, visiting the Seahawks in a re-match of last year’s divisional playoff game.

On just three days rest, the Seahawks will travel to Irving, Texas to play the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day. This will mark the third time in franchise history that the Seahawks have played on Thanksgiving, and the first since a 31-14 win over the Cowboys in 1986. (Nobody needs to hear what happened the other time they played on Thanksgiving)

After Thanksgiving, the Seahawks will have 10 days to prepare for a home game on December 7th against the New England Patriots. The Patriots have never played in Qwest Field, and in fact, haven’t played in Seattle since 1993.

Seattle will go on the road for two of their final three 2008 regular season games. First they’ll go for their 4th straight win over the Rams in the Edward Jones Dome in Week 15, before returning home to face the New York Jets, who will be making their first appearance in Qwest Field. The last time the Jets played in Seattle was 1997, when they opened that season with a 41-3 win over the Seahawks.

Seattle wraps up the 2008 regular season with what may be a pivotal divisional road game in Week 17 against the Cardinals.

Aside from opening and closing on the road, Seattle appears to have caught a few breaks and should be pleased with their 2008 schedule. Though they won’t be on ESPN’s Monday Night Football, Seattle will make three appearances on national television.

Seattle will have extra time to prepare for games against both Super Bowl teams from a year ago (Giants, Patriots), and they only have one back-to-back road trip all season. The Seahawks will play just four games at 10am, down from six last year, and only one of which will come in the final seven weeks of the season. Seattle also won’t have any late season road games into inclement (re: snowy) weather, as both trips the Seahawks will make to the Northeast come early in the season.

Additional Schedule Notes

- The Seahawks will be opening on the road for the 7th time in Mike Holmgren’s 10-year tenure as head coach.
- The Seahawks are 3-3 when opening the season on the road, and 6-3 in season openers overall under Holmgren.
- 2003 was the last time Seattle went an entire season without appearing on MNF. It was also the last time Seattle had a bye week in Week 4.
- After the Patriots and Jets visit Seattle this season, the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans will be the only two teams in the NFL who have yet to play in Qwest Field. Both teams make their Qwest debuts in 2009.


When Boston-based writer Brian McIntyre isn't channeling his inner Papelbon, he's blogging for Seahawks.NET. You can reach him here.


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