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A closer look at the Seahawks’ 2014 schedule
Week 1: Green Bay Packers
Series: Packers lead 8-6.
Last meeting: The Seahawks defeated the Packers 14-12 at CenturyLink Field in a “Monday Night Football” game in Week 3 of the 2012 season when Russell Wilson threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to Golden Tate on the final play.
Player to watch: Aaron Rodgers. The Packers’ QB is one of the few players in the league who can take over a game. The Seahawks did not allow that to happen in the 2012 game in Seattle because they sacked Rodgers eight times. But Rodgers has passed for 4,000-plus yards four times in the past six seasons – just missing in 2010 (3,922) and missing seven games last season because of an injury. He’s also attempted at least 500 passes in those same four seasons, so Rodgers versus the Seahawks’ Legion of Boom secondary and new-look pass rush will take center stage.
Number to know: 52. Clay Matthews’ uniform number. The pass-rushing linebacker who was coached by the Seahawks’ Pete Carroll while both were at USC has had double-digit sacks in three of his five NFL seasons. He was on his way to No. 4 with 7.5 sacks last season before he was injured and missed the final five games.
Did you know? The Packers are 2-3 in games played in Seattle, losing at the Kingdome (24-13 in 1987) and the Seahawks’ new stadium that opened in 2002 (34-24 in a snowstorm in 2006 and 14-12 in 2012).
Week 2: San Diego Chargers
Series: Seahawks lead 26-23.
Last meeting: The Seahawks beat the Chargers 27-20 in Seattle during Week 3 of the 2010 season as Leon Washington set a Seattle franchise record by returning kickoffs 101 and 99 yards for touchdowns.
Player to watch: Antonio Gates. The Chargers’ tight end caught a team-high 77 passes for 872 yards and four touchdowns last season. The Seahawks’ No. 1-ranked defense did a number on other highly productive tight ends in 2013 – the Saints’ Jimmy Graham (twice), 49ers’ Vernon Davis (three times), Falcons’ Tony Gonzalez and Panthers’ Greg Olsen. This will be their first matchup against Gates with All-Pro strong safety Kam Chancellor and outside linebacker K.J. Wright in the starting lineup.
Number to know: 17. Takeaways by the Chargers last season, the fewest combined interceptions and fumble recoveries of the 12 teams that advanced to the playoffs.
Did you know? The Seahawks have won 11 of the past 14 meetings between the former AFC West rivals after the Chargers had put together eight- and five-game winning streaks in the series.
Week 3: Denver Broncos
Series: Broncos lead 34-18, but the former AFC West rivals have not met in the regular season since 2010, when the Broncos won 31-14 in Denver.
Last meeting: Super Bowl XLVIII on Feb. 2, when the Seahawks won 43-8.
Player to watch: Peyton Manning. After his record-setting regular season, when Manning picked up his fifth league MVP award by passing for 55 touchdowns and 5,477 yards, the Seahawks’ No. 1-ranked defense brought the Broncos’ QB and the highest-scoring offense in NFL history crashing to the turf at MetLife Stadium in the Super Bowl. The Broncos simply could not contend with the speed, tempo, physical style and pressure of the Seattle defense. He’ll get another shot at the Seahawks when the stakes won’t be quite as high – even if the hype will.
Number to know: 2. Number of times Manning did not throw multiple touchdown passes in a game last season – Week 11 against the Kansas City Chiefs and in the Super Bowl against the Seahawks.
Did you know? The Seahawks have lost more games against the Broncos than any team in the NFL, in large part because they played twice a season for 25 seasons (1977-2001) while members of the AFC West and in even larger part because they’ve had six-, five- and a pair of four-game losing streaks against the Broncos.
Week 5: Washington Redskins
Series: Redskins lead 11-4.
Last meeting: The Redskins have won the past six games in the regular season, but the Seahawks have a three-game winning streak in the postseason – including a 24-14 victory after the 2012 season that was the first road playoff victory for the Seahawks since 1983.
Player to watch: RGIII. When the Seahawks last saw Robert Griffin III, the Redskins’ quarterback was being helped off the field after doing additional damage to an already injured knee. That was in the 2012 wild-card playoff game, a painful end to RGIII’s rookie season. Griffin returned last season, but wasn’t all the way back as he passed for 3,203 yards with 16 TD passes and 12 interceptions after he threw for 20 TDs with only five interceptions as a rookie.
Number to know: 3. The Redskins’ victory total last season, as they lost their final eight games, after winning the NFC East with a 10-6 record in 2012. The tailspin cost Mike Shanahan his job. He has been replaced as coach by Jay Gruden.
Did you know? The Seahawks’ last regular-season victory in that other Washington came in 1995, when Rick Mirer passed for two touchdowns and Chris Warren ran for 98 of his 136 rushing yards in the second half of a 27-20 victory at R.F.K. Memorial Stadium.
Week 6: Dallas Cowboys
Series: Cowboys lead 9-5.
Last meeting: The Seahawks beat the Cowboys 27-7 at CenturyLink Field in Week 2 of the 2012 season.
Player to watch: Tony Romo. The Dallas quarterback returns to the scene of his crimes against all things Cowboys. In addition to putting up only seven points at CenturyLink Field in 2012, Romo will never be forgiven for letting the ball – and Dallas’ hopes of their first playoff victory since 1996 – slip through his fingers on a botched hold for what would have been a game-winning field goal in a 2006 wild-card playoff game in Seattle. Romo recovered the ball, but before he could get into the end zone or to the first-down marker Jordan Babineaux had pulled him down to preserve the Seahawks 21-20 victory.
Number to know: 415.3. The league-high average yards allowed by the Dallas defense last season.
Did you know? The Cowboys have won one playoff game in the past 17 seasons. It came in a 2009 wild-card game against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Week 7: St. Louis Rams
Series: Seahawks lead 20-11, and also are 8-7 against the Rams on their home fields – 0-1 at the L.A. Coliseum, 0-1 at Anaheim Stadium and 8-5 at the Edward Jones Dome.
Last meeting in St. Louis: The Seahawks escaped with a 14-9 win in Week 8 last season when cornerback Brandon Browner tipped a fourth-down pass incomplete in the end zone on the final play of the game.
Player to watch: Zac Stacy. He rushed for 134 yards against the Seahawks in Week 8 last season, the first of back-to-back 100-yard performances for Stacy in a rookie season when he finished with 973 yards and seven touchdowns.
Number to know: 44.2. Johnny Hekker’s league-best net punting average last season.
Did you know? The Seahawks are 2-2 under coach Pete Carroll in St. Louis, and they’ve scored 14 or fewer points in three of those games.
Week 8: Carolina Panthers
Series: Tied 3-3.
Last meeting: The Seahawks opened their 2013 season with a 12-7 victory over the eventual NFC South champion Panthers in Charlotte.
Player to watch: Luke Kuechly. With apologies to Panthers QB Cam Newton, Kuechly was NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2012, NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2013 and also voted All-Pro and to the Pro Bowl last season. Kuechly makes plays sideline to sideline and end zone to end zone. And this game will provide one more chance to make the obvious comparisons between Kuechly and Seahawks middle linebacker Bobby Wagner, the leading tackler on the league’s No. 1-ranked defense last season who finished second to Kuechly for Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2012.
Number to know: 15.1. Average points allowed by the Panthers last season, which ranked second in the league to the Seahawks (14.4).
Did you know? This will be the third consecutive season that the Seahawks will play the Panthers in Charlotte. They also beat the Panthers 16-12 in a Week 5 game at Bank of America Stadium in 2012.
Week 9: Oakland Raiders
Series: Raiders lead 28-23.
Last meeting: The Raiders rushed for 239 yards in a 33-3 romp over the Seahawks in a Week 8 game in Oakland during the 2010 season.
Player to watch: Marcel Reece. The former University of Washington wide receiver is now the Raiders’ fullback, and he was the only Raider voted to the Pro Bowl last season. Reece had a coming-out party of sorts in that 2010 game against the Seahawks in Oakland, catching three passes for 90 yards and scoring on a 30-yard pass play.
Number to know: 16. The Raiders have used that many starting quarterbacks since Rich Gannon led them to the Super Bowl after the 2002 season – Rick Mirer, Kerry Collins, Marques Tuiasosopo, Aaron Brooks, Duante Culpepper, Josh McCown, Andrew Walter, JaMarcus Russell, Charlie Frye, Bruce Gradkowski, Jason Campbell, Kyle Boller, Carson Palmer, Terrelle Pryor, Matt McGloin and Matt Flynn. The Raiders traded Pryor to the Seahawks on Monday.
Did you know? Since playing in the Super Bowl after the 2002 season, and losing to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Raiders have not had a winning season. They finished 8-8 twice (2010 and 2011), but also 2-14 once (2006), 4-12 five times (2003, 2005, 2007, 2012 and 2013) and 5-11 three times (2004, 2008 and 2009).
Week 10: New York Giants
Series: Giants lead 9-7.
Last meeting: The Seahawks shutout the Giants 23-0 in Week 15 at MetLife Stadium last season.
Player to watch: Eli Manning. The Seahawks intercepted the Giants’ QB five times last season – two each by cornerbacks Richard Sherman and Byron Maxwell and a fifth by free safety Earl Thomas on a pass Sherman tipped in the end zone. That pick-laden performance was just the tip of Manning throwing a league-high 27 interceptions in 2013.
Number to know: 5. Manning has thrown at least 500 passes in each of the past five seasons, but his completion percentage of .575 last season on 551 throws was his lowest since 2007.
Did you know? The Giants were penalized for 11 false-start penalties in their 2005 loss to the Seahawks in Seattle.
Week 11: Kansas City Chiefs
Series: Chiefs lead 32-18.
Last meeting: The Chiefs beat the Seahawks 42-24 in Seattle in Week 12 of the 2010 season as Jamaal Charles ran for 173 yards and Matt Cassel passed for four touchdowns.
Player to watch: Charles. Some things never change, as Charles led the NFL with 19 touchdowns in 2013 (12 rushing, seven receiving) and the AFC with 1,287 rushing yards. He averaged 5.0 yards on 259 carries and caught 70 passes to also lead the conference in total yards (1,980).
Numbers to know: 26.9 and 19.1. The average points scored and allowed by the Chiefs in 2013, ranking them seventh and sixth in the league – and making them one of three teams to rank among the Top 8 in both categories along with the Cincinnati Bengals (sixth and fifth) and Seahawks (eighth and first).
Did you know? Before winning 11 games in their first season under Andy Reid in 2013, the Chiefs had won double-digit games only once in the previous seven seasons (10-6 in 2010) and averaged 4.7 victories in the other six seasons.
Week 12: Arizona Cardinals
Series: Cardinals lead 16-14, but the Seahawks have a 9-7 edge in games played in Seattle – 1-3 at the Kingdome and 8-4 at Seahawks Stadium/Qwest Field/CenturyLink Field.
Last meeting in Seattle: The Cardinals handed the Seahawks a 17-10 loss in Week 16 last season.
Player to watch: Larry Fitzgerald. The matchups between the Cardinals’ eight-time Pro Bowl wide receiver and Richard Sherman, the Seahawks’ two-time All-Pro cornerback, have been worth the price of admission since Sherman moved into the starting lineup as a rookie in 2011. Fitzgerald had a nine-catch, 149-yard outing in the 2011 regular-season finale, but since then has totaled 10 catches for 100 yards in four games the last two seasons. Sherman, meanwhile, has six interceptions in five starts against Fitzgerald and the Cardinals and also tied his career high with eight tackles in Week 16 last season.
Number to know: 1. The Cardinals’ seven-point win last December made them the only team to beat the Seahawks at CenturyLink Field the past two seasons – regular season (15-1), postseason (2-0) and preseason (8-0).
Did you know? The Cardinals were the only team with double-digit victories last season (10-6) that did not advance to the playoffs.
Week 13: San Francisco 49ers
Series: Tied 15-15, but the 49ers have an 8-6 edge in games played in the Bay Area.
Last meeting in the Bay Area: The 49ers won 19-17 in Week 14 last season, in what was the Seahawks’ final game at Candlestick Park.
Player to watch: Patrick Willis. As good as the 49ers’ six-time All-Pro and seven-time Pro Bowl inside linebacker is, he seems to play even better against the Seahawks. Willis returned an interception – his first NFL interception – 86 yards for a touchdown against them in 2008. He also had the helmet shot to the back of Matt Hasselbeck in the 2010 season opener that sent the Seahawks QB to the hospital.
Numbers to know: 9 and 2. The Seahawks have scored 17 or fewer points in nine games the past two seasons, and two of them came in losses to the 49ers in San Francisco – 19-17 last season and 13-6 in 2012.
Did you know? Hasselbeck passed for a then-franchise record 427 yards against the 49ers at Candlestick Park in Week 13 of the 2002 season – a mark he would break by passing for 449 yards in the ’02 season finale against the Chargers in San Diego.
Week 14: Philadelphia Eagles
Series: Eagles lead 7-6.
Last meeting: The Seahawks handed the Eagles a 31-14 loss in a Week 13 in Seattle during the 2011 season as cornerback Brandon Browner had two of the Seahawks’ four interceptions and Marshawn Lynch ran for 148 yards and two touchdowns.
Player to watch: LeSean McCoy. All he did last season was lead the NFL in rushing (1,607 yards) and total yards (2,146) and the NFC in first downs (102). McCoy also was the only back in the league with more carries (314) than the Seahawks’ Lynch (301).
Number to know: 160.4. The Eagles’ league-leading average rushing yards last season. The Eagles averaged 5.1 yards per carry, which also topped the NFL.
Did you know? The Seahawks have won the past three times they’ve played the Eagles in Philly – 28-24 in 2007; 42-0 in 2005; and 38-0 in 1998.
Week 15: San Francisco 49ers
Series: Tied 15-15 in the regular season, but the Seahawks have a 9-7 edge in games played in Seattle.
Last meeting in Seattle: The Seahawks won 23-17 in the NFC Championship game at CenturyLink Field in January, and also 29-3 in their home opener last season.
Player to watch: Colin Kaepernick. When it comes to this rivalry, the 49ers seem to go as their multitalented quarterback goes. In his only start against the Seahawks in San Francisco, Kaepernick completed 15 of 29 passes for 175 yards with one TD pass and one interception. But in three games at CenturyLink Field, including the NFC title game, Kaepernick has thrown six interceptions and two TD passes while completing 52 percent of his passes (46 of 88) for a passer rating of 49.6.
Number to know: 7. Number of seasons inside linebacker Patrick Willis has played for the 49ers, and the number of times he has been voted to the Pro Bowl.
Did you know? The Seahawks allowed the fewest points in the NFL last season (231) and the 49ers ranked No. 3 (271). In 2012, the Seahawks also were No. 1 in fewest points allowed (245) while the 49ers were No. 2 (273).
Week 16: Arizona Cardinals
Series: Cardinals lead 16-14, and have a 9-5 edge in games played on their home fields – 1-0 in St. Louis, 2-3 at Sun Devil Stadium and 6-2 at University of Phoenix Stadium.
Last meeting in Arizona: The Seahawks won 34-22 in Week 7 last season as they sacked Cardinals QB Carson Palmer seven times and intercepted two of his passes.
Player to watch: Calais Campbell. The 6-foot-8 defensive end had a team-high eight tackles and a fumble recovery against the Seahawks in Week 7 last season. He followed that with a two-sack performance in the Cardinals’ victory over the Seahawks in Seattle in December.
Number to know: 7. Homes games in which the Cardinals scored 20-plus points last season, tying them for the NFL lead.
Did you know? The Cardinals’ 10-6 record last season gave them their first winning record since 2009, and only their fourth since 1988.
Week 17: St. Louis Rams
Series: Seahawks lead 20-11 after a sweep of the home-and-home series last season, and they are 12-4 in games played in Seattle – 1-2 at the Kingdome, 0-1 at Husky Stadium and 11-1 at Seahawks Stadium/Qwest Field/CenturyLink Field.
Last meeting in Seattle: Seahawks won 27-9 at CenturyLink Field in the 2013 regular-season finale, a victory that allowed them to clinch the NFC West title and home-field advantage in the postseason.
Player to watch: Robert Quinn. The Rams’ defensive end led the NFC with 19 sacks last season. Three of his sacks came in the Week 8 game against the Seahawks at the Edward Jones Dome, as the Rams got to Russell Wilson for a career-high seven sacks; and Quinn had another sack in the regular-season finale at CenturyLink Field.
Number to know: 3. The Rams also intercepted Wilson – who wears No. 3 – a career-high three times in the Seahawks’ Week 4 loss at the Edward Jones Dome in 2012.
Did you know? The Seahawks have won two NFC West titles in four seasons under coach Pete Carroll and they clinched each with a victory over the Rams in the regular-season finale in Seattle – 16-6 in 2010 and 27-9 last season.