In previous years, I've entitled this piece Hope Springs Eternal but thought a change was needed this year. Hope turned into reality on February 2, 2014. Even though kickoff is 133 days away, it's always fun to talk football and get excited for the season. So, let's take a look at the 2014 Seahawks schedule through the lens of confidence as opposed to hope.
Week 2: At San Diego. The first of 4 games against our old AFC West foes. I drove by ol' Jack Murphy Stadium last weekend as I was in the town founded by the Germans in 1904. Not a whole lot of good memories from remembering Stan Humphries shelling us on a yearly basis in the mid-90's. But then I started to daydream about watching the Hawks stomp that goofy grin off of Philip Rivers' face and felt a lot better. For those who are so inclined, know that there will be a large Seahawks fan contingent down there so feel free to join us for some southern California tomfoolery and ballyhoo.
Week 3: Home vs. Denver. If you listen very carefully, you can hear the crack in Demaryius Thomas' collarbone re-breaking. One wonders if Peyton Manning and his My Little Ponies will practice the silent count this time before playing the Hawks. Here's a nickel's worth of free advice Peyton. You may want to. If you thought MetLife Stadium was loud, keep in mind that place was only half-full of Seahawks fans and we have only slightly better acoustics up here.
Week 4: BYE. Last year we had the latest bye week, now the earliest one? Not a big fan of having a bye this early in the season as it then means have to go 13 in a row without a break.
Week 5: At Washington on Monday Night. The first of 3 road games in prime time this year for the Hawks. A return to the painted dirt gridiron known as FedEx Field. At least this game's in October so there's a reasonable chance the field won't take out the ACL of half the players. We don't get to see Lady Fairchild anymore (aka Mike Shanahan) but Jay Gruden should provide some good entertainment as he tries to figure out how to keep RGIII upright.
Week 6: Home vs. Dallas. America's Team makes its way to Seattle for the first time in a while. If ever there was a team that's a perfect matchup for the Seahawks, it's the Cowboys. The Hawks tend to wait until the 4th quarter to win games. Tony Romo often obliges teams trying to make comebacks with his very generous turnover program in the 4th quarter.
Week 7: At St. Louis. While the NFL snubbed the Seahawks with the number of prime time home games, they were awfully kind with the lack of 10am pacific time road games. There are only 3 and the first one is here in the Gateway City. Hopefully by this time the Seahawks are able to put together a stout offensive line because I think we all remember how close Russell Wilson was to being carried out on a stretcher last year.
Week 8: At Carolina. Is it me, or is Carolina becoming the new Chicago? It seems like we've played them every year for the last decade. The Hawks make their yearly trek to Charlotte to take on Cam Newton and his fake Superman act. Not exactly sure who Cam's gonna throw to this year as every decent receiver they had fled like the team complex was on fire. Kind of tough for Riverboat Ron to gamble when all the chips take off for greener pastures.
Week 9: Home vs. Oakland. The circus known as Raider Nation comes to town the first weekend in November. We know Terrell Pryor won't be their QB, so the question becomes who is it? Matt Schaub? Matt McGloin? Matt Lauer? Matt Damon? The one thing we do know is that Pioneer Square will be full with everyone in their finest Halloween costume. I'd hide my face too if I were a Raider fan.
Week 10: Home vs. New York Giants. Ahhh....the Giants. The unintentional cause for the explosion of the 12th Man in 2005. I think Tom Coughlin's learned his lesson. He knows better than to accuse the Seahawks of pumping in crowd noise. Which Eli Manning will we see in November? The one who leads his teams to improbable Super Bowl victories? Or, maybe the one we saw last year who had a constant look on his face like he was in timeout? Granted, I think we'd all have that face if we led the league in interceptions for most of the year.
Week 11: At Kansas City. The Seahawks return to scene of one of the greatest games in their history. Derrick Thomas set the NFL record with 8 sacks that day. As I think we all remember, as he was going for his 9th, the oh-so-nimble Dave Krieg slipped out of Thomas' grasp and flung a prayer towards the endzone that Paul Skansi answered, and with it, ended the curse of Arrowhead. This time, they get to see Andy Reid and their old pal Alex Smith try to duplicate their surprising success from last year.
Week 12: Home vs. Arizona. We enter a stretch where the Hawks end their season with 5 of 6 games being in the division. If I'm at the Seahawks facility yesterday when the schedule comes out, I circle this game with a big red marker. As we all know, the Cards were the one team able to come into CenturyLink Field last year and walk out with a victory, thus giving other teams hope they could do the same. Of course, they couldn't last year but they got a lot closer than others had. Time to re-establish our dominance over the birds of the desert here at home. Special note for this game. This will be our annual Thanksgiving In The Alley game as it is our last home game prior to the holiday.
Week 13: At San Francisco on Thanksgiving Day. What a way to end Thanksgiving night. The renewal of the NFL's greatest rivalry on the greatest day for football. There's a part of me that's a little sad that the Whiners are moving into their new stadium. It was a lot of fun to ridicule that hellhole known as Candlestick Park. In any case, the Hawks get their first look at Mom Jeans Stadium (oh sorry, Levi's Stadium). They're touting it as the most technologically advanced stadium ever built. All the better to be able to quickly load the booking photos of the latest 49er arrestee.
Week 14: At Philadelphia. The Seahawks wrap up their tour of the NFC East and get their first look at Chip Kelly and his quarterback Napoleon Dynamite. Oh, sorry, Nick Foles. The Hawks have had some pretty decent success at Lincoln Financial Field over the years. A repeat of the 49-0 whipping in 2005 probably won't happen again, but doesn't hurt to dream.
Week 15: Home vs. San Francisco. The river of human debris winds its way up the coast for their yearly look at their Niners in Seattle. The Seahawks defense gets their annual opportunity to make Colin Kaepernick pee his pants in front of 67,000 members of the 12th Man. According to an article today, this game is one of those that Fox "protected" and cannot be flexed into the Sunday Night game which is a real shame. It's always fun to embarass the Niners in front of a national audience.
Week 16: At Arizona on Sunday Night. So if we can't embarass the Niners on national tv, at least we get a chance with the Cardinals the next week. The yearly trip to the desert could very well be for the division if Arizona is able to keep up the momentum they had from the end of last season. I have a sneaking suspicion the percentage of Seahawks fans in attendance for this game could double from what it was last year. Last year we drowned out the NFL Network talking heads after the game. This year, we get to do the same to the NBC "analysts".
Week 17: Home vs. St. Louis. In a yearly tradition on par with the Browns missing the playoffs, the Rams end the season here in Seattle. We always appreciate that since this game has at times been for the division or for playoff seeding and it's been nice to have a guaranteed win.