Seattle Seahawks' 2021 schedule: Early tests for new offense and chance for home dominance

The Seattle Seahawks' 2021 schedule was released along with the rest of the NFL slate on Wednesday.

The 2021 NFL season will kick off on Thursday, Sept. 9 with the Dallas Cowboys playing at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. ESPN will have Monday Night Football on Sept. 13 featuring the Baltimore Ravens at the Las Vegas Raiders (8:15 p.m. ET).

The NFL will change its schedule for the first time in 44 years, expanding to 17 regular-season games. The final regular-season games will be played Jan. 9, 2022. The playoffs begin Jan. 15, 2022 and continue through Super Bowl LVI on Feb. 13, 2022 at Los Angeles' SoFi Stadium.

Here's what in store for the Seahawks:


Sept. 12: at Indianapolis

Sept. 19: vs. Tennessee

Sept. 26: at Minnesota

Oct. 3: at San Francisco

Oct. 7: vs. Los Angeles Rams

Oct. 17: at Pittsburgh

Oct. 25: vs. New Orleans

Oct. 31: vs. Jacksonville

Nov. 7: Bye

Nov. 14: at Green Bay

Nov. 21: vs. Arizona

Nov. 29: at Washington

Dec. 5: vs. San Francisco

Dec. 12: at Houston

Dec. 19: at Los Angeles Rams

Dec. 26: vs. Chicago

Jan. 2: vs. Detroit

Jan. 9: at Arizona

Strength of schedule: 12th, .511

Biggest takeaway

As usual, the Seahawks have plenty of national appeal in the eyes of the league's schedule-makers -- it helps to have a megastar quarterback -- as their five prime-time games are tied for the most of any team. The first of those five is Week 5 against the Rams, who had the NFL's best defense last season. That will be a nice test of where the Seahawks' offense under new coordinator Shane Waldron is at a month into the season. They'll get a test right off the bat against a Colts defense that allowed the eighth-fewest points last year. A bye later than Week 9 would have been preferable with the 17th game, but the Seahawks caught a break with only two road games starting at 10 a.m. PT. Then again, they've won 11 of their last 12 early kickoffs.

One storyline to watch

What happens with Aaron Rodgers? No, the Seahawks aren't going to trade Russell Wilson for Rodgers in a swap of disgruntled QBs. This is about the Week 10 game in Green Bay -- and ultimately the Seahawks' path to a Super Bowl. While the Seahawks have had Rodgers' number in Seattle since Wilson's rookie season in 2012, they're 0-4 in that span at Lambeau Field, including a loss in the divisional round two seasons ago. The Seahawks haven't gotten any further than that in their last five trips to the playoffs. They wouldn't mind not having to face the reigning league MVP in November -- or in January, for that matter.

What Vegas thinks

The oddsmakers have the over/under on Seahawks wins at 10. They’ve averaged 10.33 wins in 16-game schedules over the past six seasons, with no fewer than nine wins in that span. Nine feels like their floor as long as they have Wilson playing like a top-five quarterback. Wilson -- plus a strong cast of weapons, a defense with a deep pass rush, a manageable schedule and an extra game -- should be enough to top 10 wins.

Bold prediction

The Seahawks will go at least 7-1 at home -- and maybe 8-0 for the first time since 2012. They're 22-3 at home in prime-time games under Pete Carroll, so you have to like their chances in their three this year at Lumen Field (Rams, Saints, 49ers) -- especially if fans are allowed back after a year without them. They host two teams in full-on rebuild mode (Jaguars, Lions) and there's a good chance they'll be favored in their other three (Titans, Cardinals, Bears).