How the Seahawks Compare to their 2019 Opponentsby Prime Time Sports Talk March 4, 2019 1 comment
Just like every season, NFL teams will take on ten non-divisional opponents during the regular season. That includes playing five at their home stadium and five away.
For the Seahawks, they take on the Cincinnati Bengals, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Baltimore Ravens, New Orleans Saints, and Minnesota Vikings at their home stadium, CenturyLink Field.
They face the Cleveland Browns, Philadelphia Eagles, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, and Pittsburgh Steelers in away games.
Their NFC West rivals will be played twice each, once at home and once away.
The NFL does not release the season schedule until April, but they did reveal these opponents at the end of last season. The Seahawks, among every other team, have much preparation and offseason business to take care of as the next few months transpire. Regardless, let’s preview these matchups even though there are hundreds of days before this upcoming season begins.
The Cardinals could land Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray with the first-overall pick, which could change the team’s fate this season. Looking at Arizona, they do not have the best defense and even by adding Murray, they still do not have much of an offense either. The Seahawks should have no problem defeating them unless Kyler Murray has a Rookie of the Year kind of season.
Los Angeles Rams
The Rams and the Seahawks should be the most likely candidates to win the NFC West this year. Jared Goff has become one of the best young quarterbacks in the league, and Los Angeles’ defense is always stellar. It is possible that the teams split the season series against each other. This will all depend on how Seattle can match up against the Rams’ high-powered defense.
San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers have the chance of being very successful this season or very unsuccessful. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo returns after a season-ending knee injury last year, and the 49ers enter the offseason well with a top draft pick. They are also expected to have over $60 million in cap space to start the offseason, too. With their second overall selection, they are likely to draft a defender. In free agency, they have enough cap space to contend for running back Le’Veon Bell and other top free agents. This shows that San Francisco could have lots of talented players on their roster to start the 2019 season. It will be interesting to see how Seattle fares against them.
The Bengals are expected to remain a below-average team next season, but with over $50 million in cap space, they can use free agency to their advantage. It does not seem like Cincinnati is the ideal landing spot for most big-name free agents, though. If the Bengals cannot make the most out of their offseason, Seattle should not have trouble against them.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Buccaneers are another team expected to remain below-average and have similar results to their season last year. They had a troubling quarterback situation between Ryan Fitzpatrick and Jameis Winston and could not seem to figure out a way to play successful defense, either. Seattle outmatches this team significantly and that should become evident during the game.
Going into last season, it seemed very likely that the Pittsburgh Steelers would win the AFC North. However, the Ravens’ then-rookie quarterback out of Louisville, Lamar Jackson, quickly replaced Joe Flacco as the starter and led Baltimore to the playoffs. Their comeback effort in their Wild Card matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers ultimately fell short, but Jackson proved that he could be the Ravens’ starter for many years to come. Baltimore could gain a lot of talent this offseason, which leaves the possibility of the team stealing a road-win this year against Seattle.
New Orleans Saints
Running back Mark Ingram could leave the Saints in free agency, but this does not have much effect on the team’s potential Super Bowl run this upcoming season. The team is still led by Drew Brees, who has a significant amount of offensive talent surrounding him, like running back Alvin Kamara, offensive tackle Ryan Ramczyk, and wide receiver Michael Thomas. Defensively, they have strong veterans and very talented younger players. Among the veterans are linebacker Demario Davis and defensive end Cameron Jordan, and some of the younger players include cornerback Marshon Lattimore, defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins, and safety Marcus Williams. The Seahawks are somewhat rebuilding their team back to the level that they were around five seasons ago, which makes it tough to believe the team can pull off a victory against New Orleans.
The Minnesota Vikings just fell short of playoff contention last season, mostly due to the inability to play at a consistent level. Quarterback Kirk Cousins will have to improve his performance this year, and better utilize the offensive weapons he has. While Seattle currently has a better quarterback situation, there is not much difference to these two teams. Both will need to have effective offseasons if they want to make the playoffs this year. Focusing in on this particular matchup, though, the team that has the better offseason will prevail in this game.
Oh, the Browns. Last year, then-rookie sensation Baker Mayfield was able to improve the laughingstock of the NFL from 0-16 to 6-10. There are some great players on the Browns, including Mayfield, as well as defensive end Myles Garrett, wide receiver Jarvis Landry, safety Jabrill Peppers, and cornerback Denzel Ward. When matched up against Seattle, this could be one of the most intriguing games of both teams’ seasons.
Quarterback Nick Foles once again stepped in for an injured Carson Wentz this season and led the Eagles to the Divisional Round of the playoffs. Foles is expected to depart in free agency, but Wentz will be healthy and ready to get back on the field for Philly. The Eagles have many veteran assets, such as defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, tight end Zach Ertz, and wide receiver Alshon Jeffery. Their consistent level of play over the past two seasons will likely carry over to this season too, as Philadelphia looks to make another playoff run. This could be one of the tougher games on Seattle’s schedule, especially because of having to play at the Eagles’ Lincoln Financial Field.
The Falcons were plagued with injuries last season, ending their two-year streak of making the playoffs. Atlanta is talented both offensively and defensively, of course with franchise players Julio Jones and Matt Ryan on offense, and young stars Deion Jones and Keanu Neal on defense. If Ryan is able to consistently find Jones in the end zone over the course of the season, and the team is able to stay healthy, the Falcons should not have trouble making it back into the playoffs (likely as a Wild Card team). The Seahawks are the better team in this matchup, but having to play this game away could be a big factor in who wins.
The 2018 Carolina Panthers season turned out to be a developmental year for the team. They were able to find bright spots in their draft class but were not able to stay consistent and ultimately finished below .500. Their rookie bright spots included their first-round selection, wide receiver D.J. Moore, who got better as the season progressed. Cornerback Donte Jackson, their second-round selection out of LSU, intercepted four passes this season, with two of those interceptions coming in Week 3 against the Bengals. Fourth-round selection, Indiana tight end Ian Thomas, proved to be a worthy replacement for the injured Greg Olsen. Carolina does have the home advantage in this game, but there is a chance Seattle could come into Bank of America Stadium and come out with a road win.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are going to look like a completely different team next season, especially because of the “Killer B’s” of Le’Veon Bell, Antonio Brown, and Ben Roethlisberger being split up. Bell is expected to get a massive deal elsewhere in free agency, and Brown has attracted lots of trade interest after requesting a trade from the team in February. Running back James Conner, who became one of the NFL’s top running backs after filling in for Bell during his holdout, will well-deservedly be promoted to the Steelers’ number-one runner. Wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pittsburgh’s second-round draft pick in 2017, will be elevated to the number one receiver on the depth chart following an Antonio Brown trade. Even if the Steelers are able to play successfully without two of their best offensive threats, the Seahawks could still give them a hard time.