During July, the Last Word On Sports NFL department will be analyzing the schedules of every team in the NFL and ranking each game in order of difficulty (with one being the most difficult). This series will be split into the eight most difficult games (ranked 1-8) and the eight easiest games (ranked 9-16) for each team. In this article, the Seattle Seahawks most difficult games are the focus.
Seattle Seahawks Most Difficult Games in 2017
1. Week Five at Los Angeles Rams
This may seem a bit controversial, but any Seahawks fan knows it’s true. The Seahawks have major issues with the Rams, especially on the road. The Rams aren’t a good football team, but seem to have success within the NFC West. This is simply a matchup issue. The Rams’ greatest strength is their defensive line, which is a horrible matchup for the Seahawks’ putrid offensive line. Russell Wilson is a mobile quarterback, but he often has issues with interior pressure. Aaron Donald is the best interior pass rusher in the NFL. This will be an extremely difficult game for the Seahawks.
2. Week One at Green Bay Packers
It’s never easy to play at Lambeau Field, especially during the first week of the season. The Seahawks are notorious for starting the season slow. They cannot afford a slow start against an Aaron Rodgers led team. The Seahawks have slowed Rodgers more often than not, but it’s a lot easier said than done, especially on the road. Eddie Lacy will look to dominate against his former team, but they know better than anyone how to slow him down. If the Seahawks aren’t ready for a battle, they could start the season 0-1.
3. Week 11 vs. Atlanta Falcons
The Seahawks played the Falcons twice last season with two very different results. The Seahawks defeated the Falcons in Seattle during the regular season, albeit in controversial fashion. The Falcons rebounded and routed the Seahawks in Atlanta during the playoffs. The Falcons may suffer from a Super Bowl hangover to start the season, but they should be fully recovered by Week 11. Although it’s unlikely that they’ll put up the same statistics as their 2016 team, they still should be one of the best teams in the NFC. The Seahawks will have the benefit of the 12th man, but they’ll need to play a stellar game to knock off the defending NFC champions.
4. Week Three at Tennessee Titans
Before Marcus Mariota’s broken leg ended his 2016 season, the Titans looked like a potential playoff team in the AFC. With Mariota healthy and having another year of experience under his belt, he should be prepared to face the Legion of Boom. The Seahawks defense is predicated on turnovers, which they often create by pressuring young quarterbacks. Mariota is a young quarterback, but he’s extremely careful with the ball (except for the occasional fumble). Mariota is a phenomenal decision maker, especially in the red zone. If the Seahawks aren’t able to turnover Mariota, they could be in for a long day at the office.
5. Week 16 at Dallas Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys were the surprise team in the NFL last season. With rookies Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott leading the way, the Cowboys were able to lockup the number one seed in the NFC. Although they’ll probably face some regression to the mean, the Cowboys should still be in playoff contention this season. Prescott was extremely careful with the football, which will need to continue against the Seahawks’ opportunistic defense. If Elliott and Prescott are able to control the game, the Seahawks will be in trouble. But if Seattle can force the Dallas offense to be one-dimensional, they’ll have a great chance of pulling off the road victory.
6. Week 10 at Arizona Cardinals
The Arizona Cardinals struggled last year, but were still able to go 1-0-1 against the Seahawks. If Carson Palmer has another year of regression, the Seahawks should win this game easily. But with Arizona’s stellar defense and the plethora of weapons surrounding Palmer, he should have somewhat of a bounce back season. David Johnson is arguably the best and most versatile running back in the NFL. If the Seahawks aren’t able to slow him down and force Palmer to beat them singlehandedly, they could be in some trouble. Last year’s 6-6 tie was one of the funniest debacles in NFL history. The Seahawks will need to find ways to move the ball against this Cardinals defense if they want to avoid a repeat performance in Arizona.
7. Week Four vs. Indianapolis Colts
This matchup marks the second time that Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson have played each other in the NFL. Luck won the first battle in Indianapolis in 2013, but this time they’ll do battle in Seattle. After an injury-plagued 2015, Andrew Luck bounced back to have a marvelous season in 2016. His supporting cast isn’t talented enough to compete for a championship, but Luck himself is talented enough to singlehandedly beat any team. The Seahawks defense had their issues with him in 2013, but this is a new team and a new year. Seattle’s defensive philosophy hasn’t changed much, so they’ll have to do a better job of executing this time around. If they’re able to get pressure on Luck and force him into some bad decisions, they should come out of this game victorious.
8. Week 15 vs. Los Angeles Rams
I know what you’re thinking, the Rams again? Yes, the Seahawks have major issues with the Rams, even at home. They were able to dominate the Rams in Seattle last season, but have usually struggled with the Rams in Seattle during the Pete Carroll era. Seattle was able to rattle rookie quarterback Jared Goff last year. Now that he’s a year older, Goff should be more prepared for the 12th man and Legion of Boom. The Seahawks will be favorites in this game, but they’ll probably have issues with the Rams’ defensive line. It’s paramount that Seattle’s offensive line keeps Russell Wilson upright. Otherwise, the Rams could pull off the upset.