This is a more favorable—and more marquee—schedule than the Seahawks should have expected for coming off their first non-playoff season in six years.
Yes, Seattle is starting the 2018 season on the road for the first two weeks in the schedule the NFL announced on Thursday. But they are getting a far more preferable finish: At home for the holidays and, they hope, a push back into the playoffs.
This is the first time since 1991 that Seattle has had four of its final five regular-season games at home.
Ex-Seahawks All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman makes his return to Seattle in one of the Seahawks' five prime-time games, the maximum a team can get. Sherman's San Francisco 49ers come to CenturyLink Field on Dec. 2 for a Sunday night game on NBC.
The Seahawks also have a prime-time home game Thursday, Nov. 15, at home against Green Bay, Monday, Dec. 10 at home against Minnesota and Sunday, Dec. 23 against Kansas City.
The Chiefs are one of five playoff teams from 2017 on Seattle's schedule this year.
"Well, we've got another season. We've got football games," quarterback Russell Wilson said Thursday, deadpanning his thrill at the schedule being released.
"I'm excited about it. Anytime there's a game, anytime the lights come on, I'm excited about it. We are excited for the opportunity. But we can't get there until the hard work happens. That's the truth. That's the reality of being great.
"We've had a great first few days here (of offseason workouts at team headquarters)."
The Seahawks begins what they hope is their bounce-back season with games at Denver on Sept. 9 and a Monday night one at Chicago on Sept. 17. This will be the fourth time since 2014 and third time in the last eight seasons Seattle has started with back-to-back road games. It started 0-2 in 2011, that last non-playoff season until this past one, and again in 2015. The Seahawks rallied to make the postseason in '15 as a wild-card entry, then lost in the second round of the playoffs at Carolina.
Three of the first four games of 2018 are away from Seattle, with a home game against Dallas Sept. 23 sandwiched between the trip to Chicago in week two and a game at NFC West-rival Arizona in week four. After a second consecutive division game, at home against the defending West champion Los Angeles Rams, the Seahawks play the Oakland Raiders in London on Oct. 14. That game in the new, billion-dollar palace of English Premier League soccer team Tottenham Hotspur in north London will be Seattle's first game in the NFL's long-running series of annual games in England.
The Seahawks' bye week comes Oct. 21 the week immediately after the London trip, per usual for teams that play across the Atlantic Ocean.
The final five weeks include three division games and home games against the 49ers, 2017 NFC finalist Minnesota Vikings, Chiefs and Cardinals. The lone road game in December is at San Francisco, on the 16th.