The Seahawks will play their home opener against the defending NFC Champion and NFC West rival San Francisco 49ers on Sunday night, Sept. 15, at CenturyLink Field, it was announced today when the league unveiled the 2013 NFL schedule.
The rematch with the 49ers will be played at Candlestick Park on Dec. 8.
In between those pivotal matchups, the Seahawks are scheduled to play three other primetime games – Thursday, Oct. 17, against the Cardinals in Arizona; Monday, Oct. 28, against the Rams in St. Louis; and Monday, Dec. 2, against the New Orleans Saints at CenturyLink Field.
But it is the games against the 49ers that play most directly into the Seahawks achieving their primary goal: Winning the NFC West, which insures a home playoff game.
“And that’s what you want. The second season starts, but you want to position yourself in the best spot that you can get. So we never say around here, ‘Hey we got to the playoffs.’ I never say that. That isn’t good enough.”
It definitely hasn’t been in the past, as the Seahawks have a 7-2 record in home playoffs games, compared to 2-10 on the road.
Last season, the Seahawks posted the third-best regular-season record in club history (11-5) and won the franchise’s first road playoff game since 1983. They then came within a two-point loss to the Atlanta Falcons in their divisional playoff game of advancing to a rubber game against the 49ers in the NFC Championship game.
But they also finished half a game behind the 49ers (11-4-1) for the division title.
“Even with all the good things we did last year, it wasn’t enough because we didn’t win the division,” strong safety
In 2012, the Seahawks bludgeoned the 49ers 42-13 in a Week 16 game at CenturyLink Field. But they also dropped a 13-6 decision to the 49ers in Week 7 at Candlestick Park, the only time the Seahawks failed to score a touchdown last season.
In fact, the Seahawks’ five losses last season came by a combined 24 points. If they had been able to find a way to win any of those close games, they would have captured the division title.
This season, the Seahawks will open on the road – Sept. 8 against the Panthers in Carolina – and then play four of their next seven games on the road, as well. That stretch features back-to-back games against teams that also made the playoffs last season – the defending AFC South champion Texans in Houston on Sept. 29 and AFC South runner-up Colts in Indianapolis on Oct. 6.
In the second half of the season, the Seahawks will play five of eight at home. In addition to that road rematch with the 49ers, they play the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium the following week (Dec. 15) before closing at home with rematches against the Cardinals (Dec. 22) and Rams (Dec. 29).
Other highlights include a Nov. 10 game in Atlanta against the Falcons and home games against the Minnesota Vikings (Nov. 17), New Orleans Saints (Dec. 2) and a Jacksonville Jaguars team (Sept. 22) that is coached by former defensive coordinator Gus Bradley.
As last season proved, each of those games – all of those games – could be just as vital as the home-and-home series against the 49ers in allowing the Seahawks to accomplish their primary goal.