Seahawks 2012 NFL Schedule: Game-by-Game Predictions, Info and Analysis
Although it's early, I figured it might be fun, if not fearless, to offer game-by-game predictions, along with some general information and analysis as a change of pace in between the free-agent period and the upcoming draft.
The Seahawks, coming off a 7-9 season, would seem poised to do bigger and better things in 2012; nevertheless, this is no easy schedule. In fact the Seahawks' strength of schedule would place them at No. 11 overall according to ESPN. Even teams the 'Hawks should beat all present unique challenges they will need to be cautious of once they hit the field. At the same time, that's not to say they're incapable of pulling off an upset or two.
So with that in mind, here's one man's take on the upcoming season. Of course, similar to my draft predictions, I feel it's only fair to offer my patented disclaimer...
Disclaimer: All predictions guaranteed wrong come January 2013...or your money back!
Week 1: @ Arizona Cardinals (9/9)
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This year the Seahawks will kick-off the season on the road in Arizona.
Not an ideal matchup to start the season, but one we should hope the 'Hawks will be ready for assuming everyone is healthy and the starting quarterback question has been answered.
Speaking of starting quarterbacks, is Kevin Kolb the long-term solution in the desert?
After briefly flirting with Peyton Manning this past off-season, the Cards eventually ended up back where they started last year.
Will this marriage last? Will Larry Fitzgerald's talents be squandered for another season?
As for the 'Hawks, trips to the desert never seem to end well and I'm left to believe at this point the team will still be in search of their true identity while ironing out the kinks...Cardinals 26-21.
Seahawks Record: 0-1
Week 2: Dallas Cowboys (9/16)
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After opening their season on the road, the 'Hawks will return home to face the Cowboys.
Every year it seems the Cowboys are given an inordinate amount of attention and some how always come up short. This year should be no different, but the biggest issue comes down to quarterback.
Will Tony Romo ever get over the proverbial hump? Cowboy fans would sure like to know...
Meanwhile last season the Seahawks played tough in Dallas, but lost 23-13.
It was the kind of game that made fans reconsider what the 'Hawks were capable of as a team. Perhaps more than anything, we started to see some key pieces coming together. Who can forget Richard Sherman's hit on Dez Bryant?
Looking for payback, I think the Seahawks will come prepared and pumped up for their home opener. This game will be a tense and taught thriller that will come down to the wire, with the 'Hawks prevailing...Seahawks 21-19.
Seahawks Record: 1-1
Week 3: Green Bay Packers (9/24)
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In week three Aaron Rodgers and the Pack come to C-Link for a reunion with their former backup quarterback in primetime on 'Monday Night Football.'
Honestly this game scares me quite a bit when you figure the Packers will still probably know Matt Flynn better than his own teammates will at this point in the season.
Going up against his old mentor in a game at home should be intriguing and make for some great storylines, yet I don't think the Packers will really care.
Following their upset playoff loss last year to the eventual Super Bowl champion Giants after going 15-1 during the regular season, one would have to figure this team is not about to get sentimental about any one or any thing. I imagine they will approach this season with a scorched earth / scorned lover vengeance while taking down their opponents in methodical fashion.
The 'Hawks and the 12th Man will put up their best efforts especially with all of America watching, but there will be no stopping the Packers of Green Bay...Packers 30-14.
Seahawks Record: 1-2
Week 4: @ St. Louis Rams (9/30)
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In week four the Seahawks will go back on the road to St. Louis.
This is a team that last year many picked to win the division. This year they find themselves picking up the pieces following a disastrous 2011 campaign.
Can new head coach Jeff Fisher fix the Rams?
He certainly should have enough draftpicks to get started after dealing out of the No. 2 spot with the Washington Redskins.
If Fisher can provide Sam Bradford with some weapons on offense, this could be a tough team to take down.
Expect Fisher to get his team ready to play, but ultimately the 'Hawks will simply have more weapons at their disposal and rebound following their loss to Green Bay...Seahawks 26-16.
Seahawks Record: 2-2
Week 5 @ Carolina Panthers (10/7)
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After playing in St. Louis, will the 'Hawks return to Seattle or head straight to Carolina for their matchup with the Panthers?
Perhaps the more important question is whether reigning Rookie of the Year Cam Newton will suffer from a sophomore jinx?
Personally I don't think so. Newton may be many things, but he won't be a one year wonder.
This should be an interesting, if not scary matchup for the 'Hawks as they find themselves on the East Coast for the first time in 2012 in a game they should win, especially given the game won't be starting until 4PM Eastern or 1PM Pacific time.
The Panthers offense is certainly talented even beyond Newton, but their defense simply isn't up to par at the moment.
Somehow I sense the 'Hawks will make this game more difficult than necessary, but should ultimately prevail in overtime...Seahawks 30-27 OT
Seahawks Record: 3-2
Week 6: New England Patriots (10/14)
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Teams that lose the Super Bowl usually have a tough time rebounding the next season. At the same time, any team with Tom Brady at quarterback would be foolish to dismiss.
With the Pats coming to town it will be a big test for the young 'Hawks.
A win could be the start of something big, yet even an inspired loss can help as well.
The one thing the 'Hawks must avoid is getting blown out at home. I picture a tight game between these two with lots of hard hitting in a see-saw battle where one team finally pulls away in the fourth quarter.
Some day the Patriots will bottom out, but not this season...Patriots 33-21
Seahawks Record: 3-3
Week 7 @ San Francisco 49ers (10/18)
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Following the Patriots game, the 'Hawks will have little time to prepare for their matchup with the 49ers in San Francisco for their second primetime game this season.
Will the 'Hawks be ready?
Will the 49ers be able to dominate again? I actually think they'll come back to Earth a bit after what could be described as a strange offseason.
One minute Alex Smith is caddying for Jim Harbaugh at Pebble Beach, the next the team is chasing Peyton Manning. Just like the Cardinals, the Niners ended up back where they started.
Still, the division champs should be poised for another run and with the Seahawks forced to scramble after a short week following a game against New England, I'm not confident they will able to bounce back on the road...49ers 27-16
Seahawks Record: 3-4
Week 8: @ Detroit Lions (10/28)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Let's hope this doesn't happen when the 'Hawks go to Motown. At the same time another six touchdown passes by Matt Flynn against the Lions should be enough to secure the win.
Like a lot of teams on the schedule this year, the Detroit Lions are hard to figure. Last year, after years of playing some awful football the Lions finally put it together with a 10-6 record and a playoff appearance.
Quarterback Matthew Stafford finally came into his own and wide receiver Calvin Johnson is arguably the best wideout in all the league. If both can stay healthy, I think the Lions will continue to put up points. At the same time, they have virtually no running game.
In order for the 'Hawks to succed they will need an improved pass rush to pressure Stafford. Without a solution for that at the moment, I picture these two teams engaging in a shootout on a fast track indoors.
Today I will give the Seahawks defense the benefit of the doubt and hope they can avoid dropping three in a row as Matt Flynn finally gets into a groove...Seahawks 42-31.
Seahawks Record: 4-4
Week 9: Minnesota Vikings (11/4)
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It doesn't help much to be grooming a young quarterback in a division with three teams all capable of contending for the division title while trying to make sure the team stays in town.
It's sad really, but the Vikings issues are not the 'Hawks concern.
This is a game the 'Hawks must win. No excuses.
With their ability to shut down the run and forcing sophomore quarterback Christian Ponder to throw, the defense should make quick work of the Vikes. Meanwhile the offense will be given the chance to stretch out on a few nifty plays buried in the back of offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell's playbook...Seahawks 34-7.
Seahawks Record: 5-4.
Week 10: New York Jets (11/11)
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Oddly enough I believe the Tebow trade is a good thing for all parties and could actually help push the Jets in the right direction or they could implode in epic fashion.
Either way, the Seahawks will be best served by keeping quiet and avoiding the mayhem surrounding Gang Green.
Getting sucked into the nonsense of Rex Ryan and the Jets is something the 'Hawks should be safe from provided Pete Carroll as usual takes the high road while making sure his players do the same.
On the field this should be a fun game and present some interesting matchups for the 'Hawks in whether they need to defend Tebow, Sanchez, or both.
Offensively, the 'Hawks will need to be careful. The Jets may not be the defensive juggernaut of season's past, but they still have quite a few solid weapons at their disposal that Matt Flynn would be better off avoiding.
At the end of the day, the Jets will talk a good game, but the 'Hawks will actually win...Seahawks 23-19
Seahawks Record: 6-4
Week 11: Bye
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At this point in the season, the 'Hawks will probably need a break to rest up before the stretch run.
With a record of 6-4, they should be in contention, but will still need a strong finish to either win the division or grab a wild-card berth.
Week 12: @ Miami Dolphins (11/25)
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Ever wonder whether Don Shula looks at this once proud franchise and thinks, "I might be old, but I couldn't possibly do a worse job?"
After starting last season 0-7, the Fins actually managed to finish strong with a final record of 6-10 including a Week 17 win over the reeling Jets to keep them out of the playoffs. Veteran Jason Taylor then got carried off into the sunset and head coach Tony Sparano got shown the door.
This year it's former Green Bay Packer offensive coordinator Joe Philbin's turn to coach the Dolphins and he will certainly have his work cut out for him.
Thus far all attempts to bring in a new quarterback have failed with both Peyton Manning and Matt Flynn taking their talents as far away from South Beach as one can possibly travel.
Easy win coming off a bye week, right?
Oddly for the Seahawks, this game could be a trap.
The trip from Seattle to Miami alone is cause for concern given the distance (2,720 miles, but who's counting?), but by this point in the season one can only hope the Dolphins will have serious regrets in having low-balled Matt Flynn.
I think or at least hope Flynn sticks it to the Dolphins and lets loose...Seahawks 38-28.
Seahawks Record: 7-4
Week 13: @ Chicago Bears (12/2)
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"'I think Jay Cutler is going to blow up this year,' Dilfer said. 'I saw so much last year. I think once I saw it in person, being at 'Monday Night Football.' Watching his demeanor. The body language changed. The toughness. The talent has always been there. I saw him pay more attention to detail.'"
As a Vandy grad I'd like to think Cutler can do it, but I'm skeptical to say the least. Either way this year we should find out once and for all if Cutler is elite.
Assuming Cutler is healthy, throwing to Brandon Marshall and handing off to Matt Forte, the Bears should present a challenge when the 'Hawks venture to the Windy City. Last season's trip to Chicago is hard to factor when looking at this matchup as the 'Hawks managed to handle the Bears easily, but Cutler was long gone at that point.
The initial hype might circle around both quarterbacks, but I picture a grind it out/punishing game with both defenses playing hard from start to finish. Therefore the team that manages to control the clock and the ground game will ultimately win out. Marshawn Lynch may not get a ton of yards against the Bears, but his two touchdowns will be just enough to do the job...Seahawks 19-13.
Seahawks Record: 8-4
Week 14: Arizona Cardinals (12/9)
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By this point in the season Larry Fitzgerald and the Cardinals could either be in the hunt or looking for a new quarterback. Right now I will put them in the hunt with the 'Hawks and Niners for the division and a wild-card.
However on this particular Sunday I picture the 'Hawks exacting some revenge from the season opener and with it putting some distance between the two team in the standings...Seahawks 24-10.
Seahawks Record: 9-4
Week 15: @ Buffalo Bills (12/16)
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Buffalo in December? Actually it's more like Toronto...indoors at the Rogers Centre.
Seems like the 'Hawks lucked out, no?
Meanwhile will Ryan Fitzpatrick be the guy who led the Bills to a fast start last season or the guy who helped them limp to a 6-10 record while losing eight of their last nine games.
Will recently signed Mario Williams put up a monster effort to earn his monster paycheck?
It's hard to gauge where the Bills will end up in 2012. This could be a team on the rise, but they could just as easily take a back-seat to the Patriots like everyone else in the AFC East.
For now, I'm guessing they'll be competitive. Tough on defense, capable on offense, but they won't surprise anyone this year.
This is a game the 'Hawks should win, yet I have a sinking feeling that they might just end up on the losing end here...Bills 22-14.
Seahawks Record: 9-5
Week 16: San Francisco 49ers (12/23)
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It's like deja vu all over again as the 'Hawks will likely have another holiday matchup with the 49ers and a shot at the playoffs up for grabs.
With everything on the line, it would seem the perfect time for the 'Hawks to assert themselves, but just like last season the 'Hawks still can't solve the Niners.
It will be the type of game that throws everyone and everything off kilter...49ers 19-10.
Seahawks Record: 9-6
Week 17: St. Louis Rams (12/30)
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The Seahawks will finish the season with the Rams in need of a win to secure a wild-card berth.
After a season of highs and lows, the Seahawks will do what they always do against the Rams...win.
It will be a tense first half with turnovers and miscues on both sides, but eventually the team will pull together and take care of business...Seahawks 22-9.
Seahawks Final Record: 10-6 (Wild-card / 2nd Place)
Will the 'Hawks really make the playoffs?
I believe they can provided they stay healthy, get the quarterback situation sorted quickly and cleanly, and avoid making mistakes on offense. Taking an optimistic approach means giving Matt Flynn the keys early on and watching him become a franchise quarterback. Realistically though it won't be that simple as we will probably find out in Week Three when Green Bay comes to town.
On the defensive side of the ball the 'Hawks should continue to improve, but teams like New England and Green Bay could eat them alive if they can't put pressure on the likes of Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady. Matchups with Matthew Stafford and Cam Newton are also worthy of concern, but should be interesting to watch. The season though will be won or lost based on whether someone like Alex Smith or Mark Sanchez can cause trouble if he has time to throw...
A lot can happen between now and September, but for now these are my thoughts. Let's hope the 'Hawks can sure up some loose ends throughout the roster and most importantly find someone who can eat quarterbacks in a few weeks time during the Draft.