While September means back to school for a large portion of Vancouverites, another sizeable contingent is no doubt getting jacked for the return of NFL football. And while there are no such teams in Canada, there does happen to be a professional NFL franchise just down the road in Seattle.
The two-hour trip (plus the increasingly intrusive folks at the border) is worth the chance to experience the larger-than-life atmosphere and architectural marvel that is CenturyLink. The stadium is known to be one of the loudest in the entire league, and it’s not hard to become caught up in the lure of the 12th Man (the nickname given to Seattle fans).
One moment you’re groaning about having to pay $12 USD for a (admittedly giant) Budweiser, and the next you’re on your feet cheering another Seahawks’ FIRST DOWN. (If you’ve been before, you get it.)
But you’ll want the voyage to be as rewarding as possible. The Seahawks project to be a pretty decent club, but it takes two to make a good game. So, as we did last year, here's a breakdown of which Seattle Seahawks games you should have on your radar.
Week 1 vs. Cincinnati Bengals – Sunday, September 8
Yes, we know you’re eager for some football. This weekend is lining up just perfectly and you can’t wait to don that dark blue and barfy green jersey. But let’s back it up a bit here. Cincinnati promises to be one of the worst teams in the league this year and they’ll be without one of their best players in wide receiver A.J. Green.
It can be fun to watch the home team absolutely tear into a sad sack club, no doubt. But it’s more entertaining to watch a competitive game. By most accounts, this won’t be that.
The Seahawks’ poster for Week 1 probably tells the whole story.
A look at Week 1️⃣'s poster! pic.twitter.com/f4pXjIkaEr— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) September 3, 2019
Week 17 vs. San Francisco 49ers – Sunday, December 29
We’re effectively bookending the season here. This one is a tougher call, mostly because it’s impossible to know where the ‘Hawks will be in the playoff race with one game left to play. The worst-case scenario? Seattle has already clinched a spot or isn’t in the running at all and your out-of-town friends chastise you for leaving during the holidays.
Probably not worth risking it, especially since tickets are only going to increase in price from now on. If you’re going to get in, do it early.
The TV will suffice
Week 16 vs. Arizona Cardinals – Sunday, December 22
Cardinals rookie quarterback Kyler Murray might be the NFL’s next big star and seeing him go head-to-head with Seahawks pivot Russell Wilson would no doubt be a fun watch.
But the Cardinals are a bit of a dice throw still. There’s a decent chance they could be one the poorer teams in the league. Couple that with the uncertainty of what Week 16 will look like for the Seahawks, and it’s a gamble.
Week 13 vs. Minnesota Vikings – Monday, December 2
This is during American Thanksgiving weekend and is on a Monday night, meaning you’ll have to stay an extra night in Seattle and it’ll probably be a circus at the border. The Vikings are an entertaining team, but it might be best to let the Americans have this one.
Make a game-time decision
Week 9 vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Sunday, November 3
The Buccaneers don’t have a great defence and love to throw the ball. That likely makes for a shootout at the stadium, with the Seahawks forced to air it out and expose the Bucs leaky secondary. Should be fun.
Week 5 vs. Los Angeles Rams –Thursday, October 3
Convince your significant other that you’d really like to spend a romantic weekend in Seattle and then make sure they get Thursday afternoon off so that you can make the 5:20 kickoff time. The Rams played in the Super Bowl last year and are one of the best teams in the league. The divisional matchup will surely be a great one, but the Thursday game day makes things a bit tricky.
Book time off right now
Week 3 vs. New Orleans Saints – Sunday, September 22
New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees and crew come to town early in the season, and they’re always fun to watch. The Saints have a high-powered offence, one of the league’s better coaches in Sean Payton and dreams of making the NFC Conference Final for the second straight year. It’ll be a great test for the Seahawks to assess where they are in the NFC and where they can possibly go.
Week 7 vs. Baltimore Ravens – Sunday, October 20
Normally, we wouldn’t put so much hype on a game involving the Baltimore Ravens. Traditionally, the team has tended to play low-scoring games in which they run the ball a ton and play tight defence. That’s also the Seahawks’ mantra, so this is likely to be more of a ground-and-pound, wear-em-out affair.
Those can be fun to watch for sure, but the larger narrative around this game is the return of defensive back Earl Thomas. The former long-time Seahawk had a, um, noteworthy departure from the team.
It’ll be interesting to see how the Seahawks faithful treats one of its favourite sons. Expect it to be emotional.