The season is over. For the first time in six years, the Seattle Seahawks will not play in the postseason. That means it's time to look at who the Seahawks will play in 2018 as they try to get back to the playoffs.
Fourteen of Seattle's 16 matchups were determined years ago. The NFL uses a repeating formula that allows each division to play every other division in its conference on a three-year rotation. Each division faces every division in the opposing conference on a four-year rotation.
With Seattle playing each team in its division twice, and eight other games among those pre-determined divisions, that leaves two games. It's the teams from the two other NFC divisions -- East and South -- that finished in the same place as the Seahawks finished in the NFC West (1st place plays 1st place, 2nd place plays 2nd place, and so on).
Here is who Seattle faces in 2018.
Arizona Cardinals (Home and Away) -- 8-8 in 2017
Head coach Bruce Arians and Quarterback Carson Palmer are retiring. Future Hall of Fame wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald may join them. The Cardinals are coming off their second straight non-winning season, and they are looking for a new signal caller and head coach. Not a great way to start.
Carolina Panthers (Away) -- 11-5 in 2017
One of the best quarterback rivalries of this era will be renewed. Russell Wilson and Cam Newton will meet for the eighth time. Wilson and the Seahawks lead that series 5-2. That includes going 3-0 in the regular season in Carolina.
Chicago Bears (Away) -- 5-11 in 2017
The Bears are a team in transition. Quarterback Mitch Trubisky still has to prove he was worth the Bears trading up in the 2017 draft to get him. The Bears will also have a new head coach after firing John Fox.
Dallas Cowboys (Home) -- 9-7 in 2017
The Seahawks took down the Cowboys in a must-win game in Week 16 in Dallas in 2017. Now they get the Cowboys at home. After a stellar rookie campaign, quarterback Dak Prescott took a step back in his second year. Running back Ezekiel Elliott will go into 2018 with no more concerns about a suspension hanging over his head.
Denver Broncos (Away) -- 5-11 in 2017
This is a far cry from the team that won the Super Bowl two years ago -- or the one that lost to the Seahawks four years ago. They need a quarterback they can trust. Defensively they are still among the best in terms of yards allowed, but opposing teams outscored the Broncos by about a touchdown a game in 2017.
Detroit Lions (Away) -- 9-7 in 2017
If this team ever gets a running game, they could be very dangerous. Quarterback Matt Stafford is one of the best in the league, but in his nine seasons in Detroit, he's only had one 1,000-yard running back to work with -- barely (Reggie Bush had 1,006 yards in 2013). Jim Caldwell was fired, so the team will have a new head coach.
Green Bay Packers (Home) -- 7-9 in 2017
After three straight years of having to play the Packers on the road, the Seahawks get the Packers at CenturyLink Field again. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers should be back to full strength after working his way back from a broken collarbone.
Kansas City Chiefs (Home) -- 10-6 in 2017
The Alex Smith era at quarterback may be over in Kansas City in 2018. There's a lot of pressure to play Patrick Mahomes, who K.C. took 10th overall in the 2017 draft. The team looks set at running back after a standout rookie season from Kareem Hunt. The Chiefs should get back strong safety Eric Berry, who was knocked out in the 2017 season opener after tearing his Achilles.
Los Angeles Chargers (Home) -- 9-7 in 2017
After a rough start to the season, the Chargers made a run for the playoffs that came up short at the end. The Chargers are not yet settled into their final home, but unlike this season, they won't be coming off an offseason move from San Diego. They still have quarterback Philip Rivers, who remains one of the most dangerous underrated passers in the league.
Los Angeles Rams (Home and Away) -- 11-5 in 2017
Assuming 2017 wasn't an aberration, this is the new team to beat in the NFC West. Jared Goff proved he could be a good NFL quarterback, especially when he has a running back like Todd Gurley to hand the ball to. The defense has a swagger we saw with the Super Bowl Seahawks teams of just a few years ago. Head coach Sean McVay will be 32 when the season begins and proved in his first year that the pressure isn't too much for this young leader.
Minnesota Vikings (Home) -- 13-3 in 2017
The Vikings surprised everyone in the league by becoming one of the best teams in the NFC with a stout defense and solid play from journeyman quarterback Case Keenum. But will there be an open quarterback competition next year with Teddy Bridgewater returning from an injury that left him out for most of the last two seasons?
Oakland Raiders (Away) -- 6-10 in 2017
The Silver and Black took a step back in 2017 after making the playoffs a year ago. But quarterback Derek Carr has become one of the top passers in the league. Former Seahawk running back Marshawn Lynch is likely to be back with Oakland in 2018 -- but then, when does Beastmode do anything we expect, right? Head coach Jack Del Rio was fired immediately after the season ended. There are reports the team is offering part ownership to get former head coach Jon Gruden to leave the broadcast booth and return to the sidelines.
San Francisco 49ers (Home and Away) -- 6-10 in 2017
This team may still be another year away from being a contender in this division, but after his short time in the Bay Area, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo looks like their long-term solution. He's a free agent this offseason, but the 49ers aren't going to let him get away. San Francisco won its final five games with Garoppolo as the starter. Before that, they lost five games early in the season by just three points or less. The 49ers may be on its way to resurgence.
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