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Seahawks 'The Ones To Watch' This Season - 5 Primetime Games

Elaine Thompson
AP Photo
The onside kick: a key play in the Seahawks' NFC Championship win over the Packers last season. A rematch is set for Sept. 20 in Green Bay.

The NFL released its 2015 schedule this week, causing a major media circus. At the center of it all: the Seattle Seahawks.

KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel says the team has a lot of people talking.'A Big Production'

Thiel says it's "remarkable" how the NFL can make an event out of everything in the offseason: free agency, the draft and even the release of its schedule. National sports media carried the event live.

"I understand that the NFL is THE most popular sport in America but people are so wrapped around the axle on this," he said. "I'm not saying there's anything wrong with it; it's just like nothing I've ever seen."

Fans Making Plans

"I'm sure every Seahawks fan was with a red marker on the calendar filling in where the Seahawks were going to be playing and when," Thiel continued.

"Part of it is that tremendous road presence that the Seahawks have because the 12s love to go to road games. It's almost a community.Nobody is doing that like the Seahawks do it with the 12s in the NFL."

'Darlings Of The NFL'

Thiel said it's safe to say that all eyes will be on the Seahawks this season. They're the "darlings of the NFL."

"These guys have got such a compelling story that the NFL has decided to put them on three Sunday night games, a Monday night game and a Thursday night game. That's the most they've ever had. That's the most any NFL team CAN have: five primetime appearances," he said.

"The biggest part of this drama is how the Super Bowl ended (28-24 loss). As much pain as the Seahawks fans feel, there are people who just don't like the Seahawks or just don't care who are intrigued by how this team is going to rally from the depths," Thiel said.

"(Coach) Pete Carroll has said he's made for this kind of situation. And I've seen nothing in his behavior or record to suggest otherwise. How he does that is going to be intriguing because the only way they can mitigate what happened against New England in the Super Bowl loss is to win the Super Bowl again."

2015 Schedule: Pros And Cons

Thiel said there are two favorable aspects of the Seahawks schedule this season. The first is the placement of the bye week. This year it's mid-season at week nine.

"It was week four last year and they weren't really happy about that," Thiel said. "Obviously, a bye week is a chance to rest people, get healthy. Week nine works out well.

"The other thing is they've only got two 10 a.m. games this year - one in one in Cincinnati and one in Minnesota. All West Coast teams dislike going to the East Coast for the obvious time zone reasons.
So, they've only got these two games and that's a big break."
Thiel said the biggest drawback to the schedule are two games in December.
"The Minnesota game Dec. 6 is outdoors at the University of Minnesota's campus stadium as the Vikings wait for a new stadium to be built in 2016. That means December in Minnesota, so that's going to be a problem. And the next week they play IN Baltimore against a very good Ravens team," he said.

Drama Comes Early

"The best part of the schedule in terms of seasonal drama is the second game, Sept. 20, at Lambeau Field against the Green Bay Packers," Thiel said. "And MAN are they upset about losing that NFC title game!

"The Packers fans feel about that game as the Seahawks fans feel about the Super Bowl loss to the Patriots. So, lots of passion will be spilled in Dairyland on Sept. 20."


You can find Art Thiel's work at Sportspress Northwestand

Kirsten Kendrick hosts Morning Edition on KNKX and the sports interview series "Going Deep," talking with folks tied to sports in our region about what drives them — as professionals and people.
Art Thiel is a co-founder and writer for the rising sports website Sportspress Northwest. In 2003 Thiel wrote the definitive book about the Seattle Mariners, “Out of Left Field,” which became a regional bestseller. In 2009, along with Steve Rudman and KJR 950 afternoon host Mike Gastineau, Thiel authored “The Great Book of Seattle Sports Lists,” a cross between and Mad Magazine that has become mandatory reading for any sports fan who has an indoor bathroom.