A couple of days ago, the NFL released the opponents each team will play in the 2012-2013 season. And while we don't know when the teams will play each other, we certainly know where the games will be played, and against who.
And while it's nearly impossible to start analyzing and predicting each game, as the entire postseason and offseason has yet to happen, including the NFL draft, at the same time, it's easy to tell who the Seahawks might struggle against in 2012-2013.
Obviously, since the 49ers are in the NFC West, the Seahawks will be playing them at both Candlestick Park and Century Link Field. And in 2011, the 49ers beat the Seahawks both at home and on the road, and even worse for Seahawk fans, the 49ers have a bye in the first round of the playoffs, and a very real chance of making it to at least the NFC Championship Game, and perhaps even the Super Bowl.
Baring a significant drop-off in 2012, the 49ers will be a force to reckon with.
After a slow start to the season, the Arizona Cardinals certainly turned things around. At one point in the season, the Cardinals were 1-6. However, they won seven of their final games nine games, and finished the year with an 8-8 record, a game better than the Seahawks.
They are a team certainly on the rise, and the Seahawks will have to play them both at home and on the road.
Obviously the St. Louis Rams struggled the entire season, finishing with a 2-14 record, and recently fired head coach Steve Spangnuolo and GM Bill Devaney. However, they did secure the No. 2 pick in the NFL draft.
The Rams are in rebuilding mode, but in the NFL, it's never a good idea to take an opponent lightly, something the Seahawks were guilty of doing in 2011, losing to teams such as the Cleveland Browns and blowing a game at home against the Washington Redskins. Obviously, since they are a NFC West team, the Seahawks will be playing the Rams both at home and on the road.
The Detroit Lions are another team on the rise, having made this year's playoffs for the first time in quite a long time. Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford certainly appears to be the real deal, and he has good players on offense surrounding him. However, they do struggle on defense, but as the Green Bay Packers have shown, you can have the worst defense in the league and still finish with the best record in the NFL. The Seahawks will be playing the Lions in Detroit.
In 2010, the Carolina Panthers finished the season 2-14 and were rewarded with the No. 1 pick in the 2011 NFL draft, and they selected quarterback Cam Newton. The Panthers finished this season with a 6-10 record, mainly due to the success of Cam Newton. The defense is still terrible, but if they can find a way to stop teams from scoring against them at will, the Panthers should continue to rise. The Seahawks will be playing them in Carolina.
The Buffalo Bills finished the 2011 season with a 6-10 record, which was an improvement over last year, when they finished with a 4-12 record. The Bills started the season with a 5-2 record, but like the Chicago Bears, had a horrible finish to the season, going 1-7 in their last eight games.
It's hard to know what to expect from them in 2012, but like every NFL team, they will look to improve. This will be the Seahawks first game in Buffalo since the 2008 season.
Following a Week 8 loss to the New York Giants, the Dolphins were 0-7, having already had their bye week. It seemed possible that the Dolphins might finish 0-16 for the year, but they certainly turned things around. They went 6-3 to finish the season, good for a record of 6-10.
It might take a while for the Dolphins to compete in the AFC East, but if they continue to improve in 2012, a wild-card berth is certainly within their reach. The Seahawks will play the Dolphins in Miami.
Well, you hate to say it, but the Seahawks have almost no chance of beating the Green Bay Packers. Even at Century Field. They have perhaps the best quarterback in the league with Aaron Rodgers. The receivers for the Packers are top notch, as well. It's quite possible the Seahawks will be playing the defending Super Bowl champions in 2012.
The Minnesota Vikings really struggled in 2011, finishing with a record of 3-13. Running back Adrian Peterson had his share of injuries and failed to record 1,000 rushing yards for the season. Rookie quarterback Christian Ponder struggled as well, but at the very least, he did finish with a better record than Donovan McNabb, who was brought in at the beginning of the season. This should be a game the Seahawks win, especially at home, but the Vikings have turned their fortunes around in one year before.
To be honest, I never know what to expect from the Dallas Cowboys. I don't think anybody does. At times they are dominate, and at other times they struggle with inferior teams. And for the second straight year, they failed to get the job done and missed out on the playoffs. I could easily see the Seahawks winning this game at home and can easily see the Seahawks losing this game at home, depending on which Cowboy team shows up.
It's entirely possible that not only will the Seahawks be playing the defending Super Bowl champions, it's also possible that the Seahawks will be playing both of the teams who participated in the 2012 Super Bowl. At least, like with the Packers, this game against the New England Patriots will be played at Century Field.
Much like the Dallas Cowboys, it's hard to know what to expect from the New York Jets. With a record of 8-5 late in the year, it looked like the Jets would make the playoffs. However, they lost their final three games to finish 8-8.
Much like the Seahawks, the Jets need to figure out who their quarterback of the future will be, as Mark Sanchez struggled for most of the year. The Seahawks should be able to beat the Jets at home.