One question I’ve gotten this week — one that I figured was worth answering on the blog, as well — is why the Seahawks are playing at Carolina for the third straight year.
Certainly, it’s odd, given that Seattle had only played at Carolina twice before a game there in 2012 started what now feels like an annual trip to Charlotte.
But it’s nothing nefarious, just the way the NFL schedule works.
Seattle went to Carolina in 2012 based on the part of the NFL schedule rotation that called that year for the second-place team in the NFC West in 2011 to play at the second-place team in the NFC South. Those two teams happened to be Seattle and Carolina, so the Seahawks headed to Carolina.
Last year Seattle played at Carolina as part of the NFC three-year divisional rotation. The NFC West, recall, plays each team in the NFC North one year, then the NFC East the next, then NFC South, etc.
Last year, Seattle — as did all the teams in the NFC West — played each team in the NFC South, two at home and two on the road. They flipped home and road games based on where they had played in 2010. Carolina came here in 2010, so Seattle went there in 2013.
Seattle returns to Carolina this year since whoever won the NFC West was slated to travel to play won the NFC South. Had New Orleans won the NFC South, then Seattle would have headed there (and I’m sure some members of the Seahawks’ traveling party would have preferred that). Instead, Carolina won, so Seattle again packs its bags for Charlotte.
But don’t worry, when the NFC West-NFC South rotation comes around again in 2016, the Panthers will come to Seattle.
Here’s a good look at how Seattle’s future schedules will unfold.