The Seattle Seahawks are obviously one of the favorites to go back to the Super Bowl in 2015, returning the majority-core of their winning roster from last season. They won’t have much time to ramp it up if they want to make the return trek and end up in Glendale, AZ next February.
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Right out of the gate, the first three games are going to test the new version of the Hawks as much as any three-game stretch this season. Green Bay still feels like they should have been in Seattle for the NFC Championship last season and they are not happy about getting basically no respect this offseason as a Super Bowl contender. A fully-healthy Aaron Rodgers and Co. will be out to make a major statement in Seattle on week 1.
The Hawks then get to travel to San Diego to face Phillip Rivers and the Bolts. Finally acclimated to head coach Mike McCoy, this is the year San Diego feels they can finally get back to an AFC Championship after making it to the Divisional round in 2014.
After that it’s a Super Bowl rematch with Denver and we know Peyton Manning and the Broncos will be focused. Not only that, Denver simply loaded up with a huge free agency that was clearly focused on winning the big one should they make it back and face the Seahawks (or 49ers) this season. Names like Aqib Talib, Demarcus Ware, T.J. Ward and Emmanuel Sanders were added and no expense was spared.
It doesn’t get easier as I’ll preview shortly, but basically the schedule doesn’t take a break after a week 4 bye and the boys from the Bay come calling twice in three weeks around Thanksgiving. A new starting right tackle (possibly left guard as well), some new and basically new weapons that are sure to change the dynamics of the offense at least a little bit at receiver, some new pieces on the defensive line…
You get it. The Seahawks could be the best team in the West, the NFC and the entire NFL. But it’s not easy to repeat in this league and while the Hawks did get more dynamic, all of the NFC West got better this Summer. We can expect some real slug-fests within the division and plenty of scenarios could see Seattle playing at least one game on the road in this season’s Playoffs.
We all know the Seahawks are much better on the road than in the past, but they are still not the team out there that they are at home, so these early tests out-of-division are crucial to the success of the season for Seattle.