Since they closed out the regular season with a road victory over the 49ers in early January, the Seahawks have known which teams they would play against in the upcoming 2021 campaign. All that remained unknown was when they would play each opponent.
After months of anticipation, that question will finally be answered on Wednesday as the NFL plans to unveil the 2021 schedule, which will feature 17 games in an expanded 18-week season for the first time in league history.
A finely tuned machine, the NFL schedule undergoes thousands upon thousands of tweaks between the end of the previous season and reveal day. Schedule makers aim to produce a docket chocked full of compelling games that helps the league maximize on television ratings, particularly in prime time slots.
For this simulation, however, I'm going to create a rapid-fire Seahawks 2021 schedule based on past trends and, well, let's just call it intuition. Without further ado, here's a sure-to-be 100 percent accurate prediction for who Seattle will play each week next season.
Week 1 - vs. Chicago Bears
There hasn't been a rhyme or reason to who Seattle plays on opening week, but the franchise has not had a divisional game to kick off the season since 2015. This seems to be by design, as the NFL would rather have those games later in the schedule due to playoff implications. Pitting the Seahawks against the Bears would make a ton of sense, especially considering the trade rumors that once revolved around Russell Wilson. Add in the fact Justin Fields may be making his NFL starting debut and this would be a fun matchup to open the season.
Week 2 - at Indianapolis Colts*
*Monday Night Football
After earning a wild card berth last season, the Colts believe they have upgraded at the quarterback position putting Carson Wentz back with coach Frank Reich. With a strong running game and a quality defense, they look poised to contend for an AFC South title and potentially be a Super Bowl dark horse. This should be one of the better early season matchups with Wilson and Wentz restoring their rivalry and would draw well ratings-wise on Monday night.
Week 3 - at Los Angeles Rams**
**Sunday Night Football
Seattle hasn't fared well in Los Angeles, losing each of its past three road games to its division rival, including a prime time matchup in 2019. Pete Carroll's club will get a shot to end that streak on national television with two of the NFC's best battling at SoFi Stadium in what should be a critical early-season contest to determine who wins the NFC West. Get your popcorn ready to watch Wilson and Matthew Stafford face off for the first time as divisional adversaries and Shane Waldron coaches against his former employer.
Week 4 - vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Coming off a dreadful 1-15 season, the arrival of quarterback Trevor Lawrence and coach Urban Meyer has rejuvenated the Jaguars as a franchise. This game will be a fun one for numerous reasons, as Wilson will face off against Lawrence for the first time and it will be a homecoming of sorts for cornerback Shaquill Griffin, offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, and pass game coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, who all previously spent time in Seattle.
Week 5 - at Pittsburgh Steelers
The NFL has recently had a tendency to schedule many of Seattle's lengthy East coast trips early in the season. Added as the 17th game to the schedule earlier this offseason, this trend will continue as the Seahawks will head to the Steel City for the second time in three years. This may be the last time Wilson and Ben Roethlisberger square off, adding another compelling story line for a contest between two teams with Super Bowl pedigree.
Week 6 - vs. Arizona Cardinals
There's a chance this could be a prime time affair, as the Seahawks and Cardinals played on Sunday Night Football in Week 7 a year ago. But for this simulation, with Seattle already having two prime time games to this point, this first matchup between divisional foes will be a traditional afternoon tilt. Arizona will be looking to prove its ready to challenge for an NFC West title after adding J.J. Watt and several other pieces this offseason, while Seattle will try to hold serve at home.
Week 7 - at Washington Football Team
Knocking another long East coast trip out of the way, the Seahawks will have to deal with a vicious Washington defensive line and an improved offense orchestrated by grizzly veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. This has a good chance to be an old-fashioned low-scoring slugfest between two teams with defensive-minded coaches and may be a potential playoff preview as well.
Week 8 - BYE WEEK
Week 9 - vs. San Francisco 49ers**
**Sunday Night Football
With numerous key players back healthy, the 49ers expect to be back in the running for not just a division title, but a deep playoff run. Last time these teams met in prime time, the two rivals turned in an instant classic at Lumen Field, as Jacob Hollister was stopped mere inches from the goal line to seal San Francisco's NFC West title. Expect another barnburner under the lights when these teams rekindle their rivalry coming out of the bye.
Week 10 - at Houston Texans
This is one of the true "wild card" games on Seattle's schedule. Houston may or may not have quarterback Deshaun Watson, who demanded a trade earlier in the offseason before becoming entangled in numerous sexual misconduct allegations. More than likely, he won't be suiting up for this game because he's serving a suspension or gets traded, meaning rookie Davis Mills will be under center. If that's the case, this should be a very winnable road game.
Week 11 - at Minnesota Vikings
It feels like the Seahawks and Vikings have played in prime time at Lumen Field every season since Wilson entered the league. In reality, it's only been the last four seasons, but who's counting anyway? Minnesota missed the playoffs last year but could be a strong bounce-back candidate to make noise in the NFC North after a stellar draft. Playing away from home, this will be a challenging road matchup early in the second half of Seattle's 2021 schedule.
Week 12 - vs. New Orleans Saints
While the Saints have quarterback questions following the retirement of Drew Brees, the team remains loaded on both sides of the football and should be in the mix for a playoff spot in the NFC South. Luckily for the Seahawks, they will get to face Sean Payton's team at home and by this stage of the season, they should have a good idea which quarterback they will be facing. Depending how well New Orleans plays in the first post-Brees season, this has the potential to be flexed into prime time.
Week 13 - vs. Tennessee Titans***
***Thursday Night Football
Having to tackle Derrick Henry on three days rest would not be an ideal situation for the Seahawks, especially coming off a difficult game against another great running back in Alvin Kamara. But the NFL has been dead set on trying to ramp up the quality of matchups on Thursday Night Football. With both of these teams expected to be contenders, it would make sense selecting these two physical squads for one of those short week dates.
Week 14 - at San Francisco 49ers
Anytime these teams get together late in the season, there's the possibility of the matchup being flexed into prime time. If the Seahawks and 49ers are both vying for a division title, that may very well happen come December. But if the past is an indicator, when these two teams meet up in the bay late in the season, this rematch will originally be scheduled for an afternoon slot.
Week 15 - at Green Bay Packers**
**Sunday Night Football
Aside from the Texans, the Packers are the other major wild card on the Seahawks' upcoming schedule due to the Aaron Rodgers rumors. Will No. 12 be under center for Green Bay? If so, then this will be a huge matchup of potential Super Bowl contenders set to be played in cold conditions at Lambeau, which hasn't been ideal for Seattle. If Rodgers forces his way out of town, there's a chance the Packers could be out of contention by this stage, depending how youngster Jordan Love performs in his stead.
Week 16 - vs. Detroit Lions
Long-time nemesis Jared Goff will return to Lumen Field wearing a different uniform as the Lions embark on the Dan Campbell era. More than likely, Detroit will be out of contention by this point, but the organization did add a lot of talent in the draft and looks to be heading in the right direction, so this may be a tougher fight than anticipated for Seattle entering the final stretch of the regular season.
Week 17 - at Arizona Cardinals**
**Sunday Night Football
Over the past decade, the Seahawks and Cardinals have played numerous prime time games, including one last season. They've also played frequently in the final two weeks of the season. Expect those trends to continue into 2021, with Wilson and Kyler Murray squaring off once again in Glendale for what could decide the fate of the rugged NFC West. If the game is anything like their Week 7 matchup at State Farm Stadium a year ago, fans should be in for one heck of a treat.
Week 18 - vs. Los Angeles Rams
There's not another option more desirable for the NFL - and for fans either - than to have the Seahawks and Rams meet up in Seattle to close out the regular season. Out of all the afternoon games with a chance to get flexed into prime time, this rematch would take the cake. The league would be rolling in dough if these two teams are battling for a division title and/or jockeying for playoff positioning on the final weekend.