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Seahawks 2022 schedule: October
Seaside Joe 1183: Is it too good to be true?
In my preview of Seattle’s September schedule, I proclaimed that 3-0 was a realistic possibility and that’s more thanks to quirks with the order (getting Russell Wilson in his Broncos debut) and a long-running dominance against a division rival (15 of the last 17 against the 49ers) than anything having to do with the Seahawks improving in the offseason.
I love the offseason that the Seahawks are having because almost every choice has been to make the franchise better in the long run. I also acknowledge that as bad as the Atlanta Falcons are—Seattle’s Week 3 opponent—the Seahawks could be worse.
So while 1-2 and 0-3 are also on the table (1-2 may be the most-likely bet for September), October also offers a few opportunities for Seattle to outperform the expectations most people will have based on quarterback talent alone. Drew Lock and Geno Smith are underwhelming enough to leave the door open for a Jacob Eason surprise victory this August, but the Seahawks aren’t alone in quarterback discomfort.
Seattle defensive coordinator Clint Hurtt and passing game coordinator Karl Scott await Jared Goff, Jameis Winston, and Daniel Jones for their October assignments, as well as Kyler Murray (without DeAndre Hopkins) and Justin Herbert.
This schedule reprieve is in large thanks to the deterioration of quarterback talent in the NFC: Wilson and Matt Ryan have switched conferences, leaving 45-year-old Tom Brady, 39-year-old Aaron Rodgers, and 34-year-old Matthew Stafford as the top three quarterbacks in the conference. The next tier includes 34-year-old Kirk Cousins, who has yet to really impress anyone despite averaging 31 touchdowns and nine interceptions over his four seasons with the Minnesota Vikings.
Is there a more forgettable starting quarterback today than Kirk Cousins? I almost wrote this entire article without him.
By 2023 or 2024, the top quarterbacks in the NFC could be Dak Prescott and Stafford, with the jury waiting for its the chance to deliberate on Murray, Trey Lance, Jalen Hurts, and Justin Fields. My opinion?
These days, for a quarterback to be a true “franchise quarterback” he needs to be good enough for a team to be excited when they hand him a $50 million per year contract. You don’t just want to be content, which is more of the feeling I got from Prescott’s four-year, $160 million deal; “Okay, well, you did sort of need to keep Prescott. There you go. You kept him.”
As opposed to the Bills and Chiefs locking down Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes, with fans screaming, “That’s a bargain!”
When I look at the tier of “Next” in the NFC, I do not get that sense of excitement from anyone yet. Murray was building something during Arizona’s 7-0 start, but he was BAD (7 TD, 7 INT, 7 fumbles in his final eight games, and the Cards were 2-6 in those contests) in December and January. Now he wants to be rewarded for it before he plays for Arizona again.
Coincidentally, Hurts also had 7 TD and 7 INT over his final eight starts, but the Eagles went 5-3 in those games. I believe Philadelphia will be in the market for a quarterback again, perhaps as soon as pulling off a trade this year for Jimmy Garoppolo or Baker Mayfield.
Fields was the worst quarterback in the NFL last year. Lance has everything to prove.
Nobody else, including Lock, is worth mention.
If any of these quarterbacks want to put evidence on the table this season that they’re actually great, by all means I won’t stop them. I always root for GOOD football above all else. I love greatness! But if the Seahawks end up with a quarterback in the first round next year, as I expect them to, then it may not be long before that player is one of the top prospects in the entire NFC.
Mahomes, Burrow, Allen, Lamar Jackson, Watson, and Herbert were all exceptional starting quarterbacks within their first three seasons. Sometimes during their rookie seasons. So the road back to prominence could be a short one in the NFC.
However, Seattle’s road to an 8-9 record next season may be paved with that reality that the NFC is at least 50-percent bad. The Seahawks’ October schedule offers even more opportunities for Pete Carroll to potentially surprise fans with a half-decent record by midseason.
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October 2 at Detroit Lions
Since they fired head coach Matt Patricia and general manager Bob Quinn, the Lions have done pretty much everything I would have done to help get them on track for the first time in the NFL era.
I’m 100-percent on board for Dan Campbell and Brad Holmes. The Lions did the right thing by trading Stafford for two first round picks, even if those picks will both essentially be early second rounders. I admire their patience to not draft a quarterback too soon and to stay the course with a mediocre Jared Goff until 2023. Penei Sewell, Aidan Hutchinson, and Jameson Williams are phenomenal first round prospects and perhaps three of the best drafted by Detroit in the last 20 years. Amon-Ra St. Brown, a fourth round pick in 2021, could prove that “receivers don’t matter” if that’s how we’re going to judge day three steals now.
Now run through some of the other Lions starters and it’s not hard to see why Detroit could sneak into the NFC playoffs in a weak season for the conference: TE T.J. Hockenson, C Frank Ragnow, LT Taylor Decker, WR D.J. Chark, RB D’Andre Swift, DL Michael Brockers, CB Jeff Okudah, DE Charles Harris, CB Amani Oruwariye (6 INTs last season), NT Alim McNeill (watch out), and punter Jack Fox is their own version of Michael Dickson.
The worst part of the Lions is Goff and we’ve seen him make the playoffs on three different occasions already.
If Detroit was in the NFC South and Tom Brady got hurt, I could see the Lions winning that division. If they were in the NFC East, I could see them winning that division. I could see them finishing ahead of the Vikings.
I correct myself actually… the worst part of the Lions is that they’re the Lions. That’s always a concern for the Lions. However, setting Lions aside, this looks like a top-eight team in the NFC to me and that means that they should at least be playing for a wild card berth very late in the year.
October 9 at New Orleans Saints
All those years that Drew Brees saved the Saints’ defense, now the Saints will be relying on their defense to save Jameis Winston.
New Orleans managed a 5-2 record when Winston started last season, but a Week 8 win over Brady’s Bucs was mostly handled by backup Trevor Siemian. And a Week 7 win over the Seahawks came with Geno Smith starting in place of Russell Wilson.
Winston did notch victories over the Packers, Patriots, and Commanders, but also managed losses to the Panthers (26-7) and Giants.
The Saints were a 5-6 team outside of their division in 2021, getting wins over two rookies (Mac Jones, Zach Wilson), Geno, Taylor Heinicke, and Aaron Rodgers. As much as their defense seemed to “rule” last season, I don’t know of any great defenses that could manage to suck against Daniel Jones, Sam Darnold, and old Matt Ryan; but the Saints four worst contests by EPA on defense came against the Giants, Panthers, Falcons, and Buffalo Bills.
What I’m saying is that despite the hype to watch out for the Saints, I think New Orleans is very close to having Andy Dalton start the majority of their games at quarterback, that Trevor Penning is no Terron Armstead at left tackle, that we haven’t seen Michael Thomas do anything in forever, that Jarvis Landry and Tyrann Matheiu are not the players that they once were, and Dennis Allen is still a coach who went 8-28 with the Raiders.
Do I think they’re better than the Seahawks?
It’s closer than most people think.
October 16 vs Arizona Cardinals
The home date against the Cardinals and the final game of Hopkins’ suspension. The Seahawks currently lead the series 23-22-1, so Arizona would be looking to sweep this season and take the advantage. Seattle is 3-6 over their last nine home games against the Cardinals.
I expect Murray will be starting, with or without a new contract. All he needs to do is play one more good season and he’s that close to $150 million+ in guaranteed money. If he went to baseball, Murray would be a long, improbable road away from that kind of money and I think that dollar signs are the first thing on his mind.
October 23 at Los Angeles Chargers
I’ve been all-in on Justin Herbert since the summer before his rookie season, proclaiming that he will win MVP and/or the Super Bowl before his sixth year in the NFL. Conversely, I thought that Tua Tagovailoa, who went one pick ahead of Herbert, shouldn’t have even gone in the first round.
Two seasons later, those calls are looking good.
The Chargers went 5-11 in Philip Rivers’ final season with the team and were 9-8 in 2021, a hair shy of going 10-7 (or 9-7-1) and making the postseason in Herbert’s second campaign. He has thrown 69 touchdowns over his first two seasons and he’s consistently been a top-10 quarterback throughout his young career.
Herbert ranked fifth in DYAR and sixth in DVOA last season, ahead of Stafford, Cousins, Derek Carr, Murray, Josh Allen, Joe Burrow, and Russell Wilson.
Los Angeles hasn’t done much of anything to change his receiver options in that time, but added Pro Bowl left tackle Rashawn Slater in the draft last year and potentially an early Pro Bowl candidate in right guard Zion Johnson this year. The Chargers also signed cornerback J.C. Jackson, arguably the top free agent in the league, traded for Khalil Mack, and also signed former Seahawks tight end Gerald Everett.
Former Rams nose tackle Sebastian Joseph-Day, familiar to head coach/former Rams defensive coordinator Brandon Staley, is another underrated addition.
I think the Chargers are the best team in the AFC West, which puts them in the conversation as best team in the NFL.
Who do you expect to be the best team in the NFL next season? Let me know in the comments!
October 30 vs New York Giants
The Giants picked Andrew Thomas over Herbert in 2020. Yeah, Daniel Jones had only played one season, but I’ll keep saying this… don’t we always kind of “know” right away with quarterbacks?
Of course, there’s no way that former GM Dave Gettleman was going to admit mistake when he was already on the hot seat and I’m sure people will say that Jones was “alright” as a rookie. Don’t overrate TD:INT ratios. Jones is as bad over the last two seasons as he seemed like he would be after his first season.
New head coach Brian Daboll (former Bills OC) may wholeheartedly believe in improvement, but the Giants will most likely also be choosing a quarterback in the draft next year. They won’t have the same advantage as Seattle and four other QB-needy teams: the Seahawks, Dolphins, Texans, Lions, and Eagles all have two 2023 first round picks.
This game could determine a little bit of position, meaning that whoever loses, they may end up coming out ahead by next year.
Barring “Daboll is Belichick”, the Giants are bad. This could be Seattle’s second best-opportunity, alongside the Falcons in September, to get a win before November.