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Seattle Seahawks

Analysis: Ranking all the Seahawks games for the 2024 season

Quarterback Geno Smith (7) and the Seattle Seahawks return to San Francisco on Nov. 17.  (Tribune News Service)
By Bob Condotta Seattle Times

SEATTLE – We now have not only the Seattle Seahawks’ opponents for 2024, but also the dates of all 17 regular-season games as they kick off the Mike Macdonald era.

Which games look the best? The worst? The most in-between?

With the slate set, it’s time for our annual rankings of the Seahawks’ regular-season games.

And what are they ranked on?

Mostly just a feeling of which games we are most anticipating and those that, well, maybe we aren’t as much.

1, vs. Denver Broncos, Sept. 8: It was fun the last time the Seahawks opened a season against Denver, right? This one doesn’t figure to come with the same kind of emotional pitch. The debut of the Macdonald era against a team coached by one of the vets of the game and one regarded as an offensive guru – Sean Payton – is worth anticipating all summer.

2, vs. San Francisco 49ers, Oct. 10: Another year, another Thursday night home game against the 49ers. Macdonald was hired in part because of his success as the defensive coordinator with the Ravens against NFC West teams. That means he’s entrusted with making sure this game goes better than the Thursday night home games against the 49ers the past two seasons, each decisive losses that are part of a five-game losing streak against the 49ers (including playoffs) in which the 49ers have won every game by eight points or more. Niners coach Kyle Shanahan will surely remember last year’s Christmas Day debacle against Macdonald and Baltimore’s defense, a 33-19 home loss that featured five turnovers. The budding NFC West coaching rivalries are going to be fun to watch unfold.

3, vs. Buffalo Bills, Oct. 27: That it’s only Buffalo’s second visit since 2004 – the Seahawks have played the Bills out of the country as many times in that span – makes this game intriguing in itself. Throw in Josh Allen and the soap opera that has been the Bills the past few years and this is one of the most fun games on the schedule.

4, vs. Miami Dolphins, Sept. 22: This is just Miami’s second game in Seattle since 2004, the other a taut 12-10 Seahawks win in the season opener in 2016. This one looms as particularly interesting because of the chess match between Macdonald and Miami head coach Mike McDaniel. McDaniel’s offense put up 42 points on the road against Macdonald’s Ravens defense in 2023. But the Ravens rebounded to beat the Dolphins 56-19 on New Year’s Eve.

5, vs. Los Angeles Rams, Nov. 3: With the schedule again backloaded with division opponents, this will just be Macdonald’s second game against an NFC West foe, and first against Sean McVay. The Rams put up 410 yards and 31 points against the Ravens in Baltimore last year before the Ravens escaped with an overtime win on a punt return. Watching McVay and Macdonald face off is worth the price of admission itself.

6, at San Francisco 49ers, Nov. 17: This game marks a turning point in the season, coming after the Seahawks open with six of nine at home after their bye. It will be the second Macdonald/Shanahan clash, so there will already be a beginning to that storyline. More pivotal for the Seahawks, the division race, which may be contingent on who won the first matchup.

7, at Detroit Lions, Sept. 30: Because of quirks in the schedule, this is the third consecutive season the Seahawks must travel to Detroit and the fourth straight year the two teams have played. Macdonald faced Detroit last year with the Ravens turning in one of his most impressive performances as a defensive coordinator as Baltimore won 38-6. The Seahawks have won the past three against Detroit. This will be a great early-season test of where Macdonald has the defense going against newly enriched Jared Goff and the Lions who have their eyes on the Super Bowl.

8, at New York Jets, Dec. 1: A Thanksgiving Day weekend trip to New York could be fun for those who can make it. As for the game, the big question may be if Aaron Rodgers, who will turn 41 the day after this game and is coming off an Achilles injury, has made it through the season to play against the Seahawks, who haven’t lost to the Jets since 2004, winning five in a row.

9, vs. Green Bay Packers, Dec. 15: Rodgers went 7-3 against the Seahawks in the regular season with a 12-3 touchdown-to-interception ratio, and 1-1 in the playoffs. The Seahawks beat him in the one that really mattered, the 2014 NFC title game. They will get their first look at his successor, Jordan Love, on a Sunday night.

10, at New England Patriots, Sept 15: This goes from another potential Carroll-Belichick matchup to Macdonald-(Jerod) Mayo. The Seahawks have played at New England just once since 2004, a memorable 31-24 win on a Sunday night in 2016. If they have taken care of the Broncos this game is a great chance to get off to a 2-0 start against another team that could be starting a rookie QB (Drake Maye)

11, at Chicago Bears, Dec. 26: Who asked for a road game the day after Christmas on a Thursday night? It’s sure to draw boffo TV ratings. As for the game, by this point in the season we should have a good idea of what kind of quarterback Caleb Murray is becoming. That, and the presence of Rome Odunze, give this one some definite sizzle.

12, at Atlanta Falcons, Oct. 20: There’s lots of intrigue about the Falcons, with new head coach Raheem Morris, new quarterback Kirk Cousins and backup Michael Penix Jr. One odd thing about this series – the road team has won the past four games dating to the playoffs following the 2016 season.

13, vs. Minnesota Vikings, Dec. 22: Carroll had a special affinity for the Vikings given the importance to his coaching career of his time there. Maybe that’s why the Seahawks went 7-1 against Minnesota in his tenure. Now Macdonald gets his shot at the Cousins-less Vikings, the second of a back-to-back against NFC North foes.

14, vs. New York Giants, Oct. 6: Will this turn into a Drew Lock revenge game? Lock seemed so popular that it’d be hard to imagine either side wanting revenge if he were to play. More likely, Daniel Jones is New York’s QB, with Devon Witherspoon hoping he can duplicate his breakout effort against the Giants last year on a Monday night.

15, at Arizona Cardinals, Dec. 8: The site of the last game of the Carroll era – and so much more – looms this year as a must-win in the middle of a tough stretch of five of eight on the road to end the season. This game is part of a stretch in which they have only one home game from Nov. 3 to Dec. 15.

16, at Los Angeles Rams, Jan. 4-5: Last year, the Seahawks opened at home against the Rams and this year closes it on the road against the Rams. The hope is the game means something. Until we know that it’s hard to get too excited about this one.

17, vs. Arizona Cardinals, Nov. 24: The Seahawks may be favored in this game by as many points as they will be all season, and that may be much needed as this one is sandwiched between trips to San Francisco and New York to play the Jets.