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July 16, 2013 at 10:47 AM

Countdown to Training Camp: 15 questions in 15 days — Will the schedule get in the way of the Seahawks’ great expectations?

What is always one of the trickier unknowns when assessing the hopes of an NFL team in the pre-season is the schedule (which for the Seahawks you can find here and which is also printed at the bottom of this entry).

Unlike college football, where a team that is good one year and looks to be good the next year is probably going to turn out to be pretty good, the strength of NFL teams can vary greatly from one season to the next. Health also plays a key role — what a team is like in week one may not be what it is like in week nine, etc. There’s just no way to account for everything that might happen at this point.

The traditional way of evaluating a schedule before the season is to look at the previous year’s win-loss record of the opponents. By that measure, Seattle has one of the tougher schedules in the NFL, rated No. 11 in terms of win-loss percentage at .516 (130-122-4).

Of course, as you can see by looking at that linked chart, Seattle’s schedule is also considered the “easiest” among the teams in the NFC West, with the Rams at No. 4, the Cardinals at No. 7 and the 49ers at No. 9. Obviously, some of that is due to the strength of the division itself — the Rams and Cardinals have to play two games each against the 49ers and Seahawks and their gaudy records of 2012.

The 49ers (check their schedule here) and Seahawks have — as the chart suggests — pretty similar schedules.

If there’s any possible slight advantage to the 49ers, it’s that some of what are Seattle’s tougher road non-divisional games — Atlanta, Indianapolis, Houston — are all home games for San Francisco. But that seems balanced by the 49ers  having to go on the road to New Orleans and Washington (and in back-to-back weeks in November).

And by any measure, the schedule presents some obvious challenges for the Seahawks, even if they may be favored in all but one or two games all season.

The first five games in particular look somewhat daunting with road games against a Carolina team that won five of its last six games in 2012 (including a victory over Atlanta), and 2012 playoff squads in Houston and Indianapolis, sandwiched around the “game of the year” home contest on Sept. 15 against the 49ers.

By the end of that stretch, we should already have a pretty good idea in which direction the season is headed.

Seahawks 2013 schedule

Sept. 8, 10 a.m., at Carolina Panthers

Sept. 15, 5:30 p.m., San Francisco 49ers…Sunday night

Sept. 22, 1:25 p.m., Jacksonville Jaguars

Sept. 29, 10 a.m., at Houston Texans

Oct. 6, 10 a.m., at Indianapolis Colts

Oct. 13, 1:05 p.m., Tennessee Titans

Oct. 17, 5:25 p.m., at Arizona Cardinals…Thursday night

Oct. 28, 5:40 p.m., at St. Louis Rams…Monday night

Nov. 3, 1:05 p.m., Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Nov. 10, 10 a.m., at Atlanta Falcons

Nov. 17, 1:25 p.m., Minnesota Vikings

Bye Week

Dec. 2, 5:40 p.m., New Orleans Saints…Monday Night

Dec. 8, 1:25 p.m., at San Francisco 49ers

Dec. 15, 10 a.m., at New York Giants

Dec. 22, 1:05 p.m., Arizona Cardinals

Dec. 29, 1:25 p.m., at St. Louis Rams

Previous 15 Questions in 15 Days:

July 15: Countdown to Training Camp: 15 questions in 15 days — How many yards will Russell Wilson pass for?

July 14: Countdown to Training Camp: 15 questions in 15 days — How much will Antoine Winfield play?

July 13: Countdown to Training Camp: 15 questions in 15 days — Who starts at right guard?

July 12: Countdown to Training Camp: 15 questions in 15 days — Will the Seahawks have enough depth at tight end?

July 11: Countdown to Training Camp: 15 questions in 15 days — Who will win the backup quarterback job?

July 10: Countdown to camp — 15 days, 15 questions: So what is Bruce Irvin’s position, anyway?

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