Pete Carroll is the greatest head coach in Seahawks history. Be that as it may, there are a few things the soon-to-be 70-year old needs to improve upon. Playing on the road is never easy in the NFL. Playing on the road in Week 1 is even harder, given the turnover and unknowns each team faces when preparing for that initial game.
Carroll owns a sterling 112-63-1 record as Seattle's head coach, which comes out to a .636 winning percentage. However, that percentage drops significantly for the initial game of each season, at .455 (5-6). This may seem strange after the Seahawks won their season opener in Atlanta last season; however, that was just Carroll's second road Week 1 win of his tenue in Seattle, which adds up to a meager .250 winning percentage.
The only other Week 1 road victory under Carroll's belt in Seattle was in 2013, a year that saw his team win the Super Bowl.
What is the cause for Carroll's struggles on the road in season openers?
First: as mentioned, any road game is tough. Even the best NFL teams have somewhat middling records on the road.
It seems as if more often than not, the opponent appears to be more prepared and execute better in season openers against the Seahawks. It's merely a statement of fact that teams under Carroll have typically played below their potential in Week 1.
However, this is not intended to question Carroll's ability to prepare a team for an upcoming game. The Seahawks are 7-4 under his tutelage coming off an bye, indicating he is proficient at preparing a team when given enough time.
Is some of it just pure bad luck? In 2011, they opened the season against the 49ers, who went on to win the NFC West and finish a stellar 13-3. In 2015, the schedulers did the Seahawks no favors by slating them to face the Rams in St. Louis for Week 1, a team and a place that historically has given Seattle fits. The Seahawks got the "privilege" of opening their 2017 campaign at Lambeau Field against Aaron Rodgers. They have had some tough draws to open the season under Carroll.
On the surface, this season's opener on the road against the Colts seems benign. Historically, the Seahawks torture new Colts quarterback Carson Wentz. Indianapolis is dealing with injuries galore, who missed cornerback Xavier Rhodes and perennial All-Pro guard Quenton Nelson at practice on Wednesday. Left tackle Eric Fisher was limited as well. Four-time Pro Bowl receiver T.Y. Hilton will start the season on injured reserve.
Don't let this put you into a false sense of security, though. The Seahawks better bring their A-game Sunday afternoon. A cautionary tale is in 2018 when the Seahawks opened the season in Denver against the Broncos. Seattle lost that game after three giveaways and going 2-for-12 on third down. Seattle eventually finished 10-6 with a playoff berth and Denver went 5-10 the rest of the way following that game.
This goes to show you, Week 1 favors the prepared, or at least, the home team. Carroll needs to have his squad prepared for a hungry Colts team.