The Seattle Seahawks have dominated the NFC West in recent years, and they now know their 2017 schedule as they chase a fourth division crown in five seasons.
Seattle has navigated its recent slates to make the playoffs in each of the last five years. It made two Super Bowls in that span, winning one and losing the other after a heartbreaking Malcolm Butler interception at the goal line. It fell short of last season's Super Bowl thanks to a playoff loss to the eventual NFC champion Atlanta Falcons but still went 10-5-1 and won the NFC West.
The Seahawks now have the roadmap to this season's Super Bowl following Thursday's schedule release.
The schedule is courtesy of NFL.com.
|2017 Seattle Seahawks' Regular-Season Schedule|
|1||Sept. 10||at Green Bay Packers||4:25 p.m.||FOX|
|2||Sept. 17||San Francisco 49ers||4:25 p.m.||FOX|
|3||Sept. 24||at Tennessee Titans||4:05 p.m.||FOX|
|4||Oct. 1||Indianapolis Colts||8:30 p.m.||NBC|
|5||Oct. 8||at Los Angeles Rams||4:05 p.m.||CBS|
|7||Oct. 22||at New York Giants||4:25 p.m.||CBS|
|8||Oct. 29||Houston Texans||4:05 p.m.||CBS|
|9||Nov. 5||Washington||4:05 p.m.||FOX|
|10||Nov. 9||at Arizona Cardinals (Thursday Night Football)||8:25 p.m.||NBC/NFL Network/Amazon|
|11||Nov. 20||Atlanta Falcons (Monday Night Football)||8:30 p.m.||ESPN|
|12||Nov. 26||at San Francisco 49ers||4:05 p.m.||FOX|
|13||Dec. 3||Philadelphia Eagles||8:30 p.m.||NBC|
|14||Dec. 10||at Jacksonville Jaguars||1:00 p.m.||FOX|
|15||Dec. 17||Los Angeles Rams||4:05 p.m.||FOX|
|16||Dec. 24||at Dallas Cowboys||4:25 p.m.||FOX|
|17||Dec. 31||Arizona Cardinals||4:25 p.m.||FOX|
As long as the Seahawks have Russell Wilson under center, they figure to compete for an NFC West crown. The three-time Pro Bowler is just 28 years old and theoretically still in the middle of his prime.
One issue against last season's schedule was the lack of support for Wilson from the running game. Seattle finished a disappointing 25th in the league in rushing yards per game without Marshawn Lynch, although that can partially be attributed to injuries.
Thomas Rawls played just nine games, while C.J. Prosise appeared in a mere six.
Seattle added Eddie Lacy this offseason but needs better play up front. Football Outsiders ranked its offensive line as the 26th-best run-blocking unit in the league last season, which limited the offense and allowed opposing defenses to focus on stopping Wilson.
Elsewhere, Seattle's defense has largely served as the backbone of the team's recent success and was third in the league in points allowed per game in 2016.
Wilson and the strong defense provide the Seahawks with steady building blocks that should propel them into postseason contention. A better showing from the rushing attack against this newly minted schedule could be the difference between another Super Bowl appearance and an early playoff exit.
As with any NFL team, the divisional contests for the Seahawks will prove critical to their 2017 campaign.
Don't let the fact they were the only team above .500 in last season's NFC West make it seem like the division will be a cakewalk again this year. The Arizona Cardinals are a mere one campaign removed from a 13-3 record and NFC Championship Game appearance and have the trio of quarterback Carson Palmer, wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald and running back David Johnson leading the way.
Those showdowns will have a significant impact on the NFC West crown this season.
Outside of the division, the clash with the Dallas Cowboys immediately jumps out. Dallas finished with an NFC-best 13-3 record last season, and the return of running back Ezekiel Elliott, quarterback Dak Prescott and wide receiver Dez Bryant means it should once again be one of the Super Bowl contenders.
A head-to-head win for Seattle over Dallas could go a long way toward home-field advantage and tiebreaker scenarios in the NFC.