From starting a rookie, third-round draft pick at quarterback in Russell Wilson to making it two rounds deep in the NFC playoffs, the Seahawks were dominant on defense at times and found ways to win when it seemed like a loss was inevitable (see game vs. Chicago Bears).
Despite losing to the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Divisional Round, the Seahawks have plenty to work toward in the 2013 season, and they even added versatile playmaker Percy Harvin to their offense in an offseason trade (via ESPN).
While Seattle won't have a first-round draft pick this year, it will have most of the pieces from its fourth-ranked defense returning, including standout cornerback Richard Sherman and second-year pass-rusher Bruce Irvin. The team also signed defensive ends Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett.
Expectations are raised in Seattle this season, even though Super Bowl runner-up San Francisco is still the reigning NFC West champ. Let's see what it will take to thrust Seattle into that spot in 2013 now that the full schedule has been released.
|2013 Seattle Seahawks Schedule|
|1||Sept. 8 ||@ Carolina Panthers||1 p.m. ET||FOX|
|2||Sept. 15 ||vs. San Francisco 49ers||8:30 p.m. ET||NBC|
|3||Sept. 22 ||vs. Jacksonville Jaguars||4:25 p.m. ET||CBS|
|4||Sept. 29||@ Houston Texans||1 p.m. ET||FOX|
|5||Oct. 6||@ Indianapolis Colts||1 p.m. ET||FOX|
|6||Oct. 13||vs. Tennessee Titans||4:05 p.m. ET||CBS|
|7||Oct. 17||@ Arizona Cardinals||8:25 p.m. ET||NFLN|
|8||Oct. 28||@ St. Louis Rams||8:40 p.m. ET||ESPN|
|9||Nov. 3||vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers||4:05 p.m. ET||FOX|
|10||No. 10||@ Atlanta Falcons||1 p.m. ET||FOX|
|11||Nov. 17||vs. Minnesota Vikings||4:25 p.m. ET||FOX|
|12||Nov. 24||BYE WEEK||N/A||N/A|
|13||Dec. 2||vs. New Orleans Saints||8:40 p.m. ET||ESPN|
|14||Dec. 8||@ San Francisco 49ers||4:25 p.m. ET||FOX|
|15||Dec. 15||@ New York Giants||1 p.m. ET||FOX|
|16||Dec. 22 ||vs. Arizona Cardinals||4:05 p.m. ET||FOX|
|17||Dec. 29 ||vs. St. Louis Rams||4:25 p.m. ET||FOX
Note: For a complete look at Seattle's 2013 schedule, check out NFL.com.
Things don't get any easier on Seattle after one of its best seasons in 2012.
Four of the Seahawks' eight road games are against teams that made the playoffs last season, and two more playoff teams will come face the 12th man in Seattle.
That being said, aside from the obvious six-game spat against the rest of the NFC West, Seattle is going to have a clear chance to return to the postseason yet again if it takes care of business at home.
Look for this squad to really feel the heat against teams with something to prove. Jacksonville, Tennessee, New Orleans and Tampa Bay are all coming to town after missing out on the playoffs in 2012, but Seattle does have the advantage that CenturyLink Field gives the Seahawks every week.
Paired with the NFC South and AFC South to complete 14 of the 16 games that are on the slate, Seattle will also square-off with Minnesota and the New York Giants to complete what should be a tough, yet winnable, schedule for the 2013 season.
Most Pivotal Matchups
Expect the season to once again hinge on whether or not Seattle can compete in the NFC West.
Three of Seattle's five regular-season losses were to division opponents (all on the road), but the last one to San Francisco in October was also the last time Seattle would drop a divisional game in 2012. The Seahawks won three straight to bring their record against the NFC West to 3-3 on the year, giving them a playoff berth in the process.
While Arizona and St. Louis both pose problems, San Francisco is still the team to beat out West.
With Colin Kaepernick now eager to prove his half-season sprint was no fluke and the rest of the Niners looking to erase the memories of the Super Bowl XLVII loss to Baltimore, San Francisco will come out gunning in its regular-season matchups.
What is Seattle's toughest game on its current schedule?
Seattle can't afford to go 0-2 against the 49ers.
Elsewhere, a tough road game against the Giants should help us map the team's progress, and the visiting Minnesota Vikings should be a fun game for both teams after completing the trade that sent Harvin to the Seahawks.
Another crucial game will be against New Orleans, which figures to be ten-fold better than what it was in 2012. With Sean Payton back and the helm and a new defense in place, the Saints won't accept another near-.500 season in Drew Brees' twilight years.
While the rest of the schedule will be challenging, a road game against Atlanta will be a return to the scene of the crime, of sorts, after the Falcons sent the Seahawks home early at the Georgia Dome in the second round of the playoffs.
Right now, that will be the game of the year for returning Seahawks from the 2012 roster.
Overall, Seattle has several games that will be must-see TV, starting with division-rival San Francisco and branching out to the entirety of the NFC South and the AFC South. Seattle enters 2013 with expectations we haven't seen in the upper northwest in quite some time, and its up to Wilson and a strong defense to deliver this season.