Moore: Seahawks’ schedule is encouraging, but no fans would be a big blow
There’s a lot to be encouraged about with the Seahawks’ 2020 schedule.
• The Seahawks are currently favored in 11 games, underdogs in four games and a pick ‘em in their game against the 49ers at CenturyLink Field. In three of those underdog games, the Bills, Eagles and Rams are favored by only two points. In the other, the 49ers are favored by 6.5 points in the final game of the season in Santa Clara, but the Seahawks won there last year as 6-point underdogs.
• They have four primetime games with the possibility of getting a fifth due to flex scheduling late in the season, most likely the final game against the Niners. Pete Carroll is 29-7-1 in primetime games, so whenever the lights are on, you expect the Seahawks to have an advantage.
• In the old days when you saw four 10 a.m. games on the schedule, you thought the Seahawks might go 0-4 or 1-3 and 2-2 at best. But they were 5-0 in 10 a.m. games last year and have won their last eight 10 a.m. kickoffs.
• An easy December stretch featuring home games against the Giants, Jets and the supposedly fading Rams sandwiched around a road game at rebuilding Washington should be a good opportunity to go 4-0 leading into the final game that could decide the NFC West at San Francisco.
Before the schedule was released, I looked at their opponents and figured the Seahawks would go 10-6, losing at home to Dallas and Minnesota and to Arizona, San Francisco, Buffalo and the Rams on the road.
I’ll stick with that prediction, but here’s what I’m wondering: Will there truly be any road games in the NFL this year? I mean, I know that teams are on the road, flying to play elsewhere, but if there aren’t any fans this year, which is a distinct possibility, won’t every game be like playing at a neutral site?
Those guys in Vegas who set the lines surely factored this into their thinking, didn’t they? You could say that every team is in the same situation, but I would argue that if there’s a fan-less season ahead of us, the Seahawks will be hurt the most.
Don’t the Seahawks have one of the best, if not the best, home-field advantages in the league thanks to the vociferous 12s? We’ve seen how the crowd can help cause false starts by opponents and discombobulate offenses. We’ve also seen how the Seahawks seem to have a better pass rush at home – though that was certainly debatable last year.
When I think about baseball games without fans, I could make a case for the Mariners not being impacted much at all by a fan-less T-Mobile Park. I could make a better case for the Rays because they’re really used to playing in front of sparse crowds in St. Petersburg.
But the Seahawks? I’m guessing it will negate their strong home-field advantage and improve the chances of weaker opponents like the Jets and Giants of pulling off upsets in Seattle.
And by the way, I’m all-in when it comes to following what we’re instructed to do to combat the spread of the coronavirus. If that means no fans at games, so be it. But I would also contend that you should allow one fan per section or something like that.
Have a lottery to see which 20 or 30 fans get to go to each home game and have a section to themselves. Whether this happens in the NFL or not, I really want to see something like that at T-Mobile Park, even if it’s just one fan every time the Astros are in town.
There needs to be one fan front and center in the Diamond Club, right next to the on-deck circle, and he or she must be instructed to harass and heckle every Astros player all game long. That fan would be given a garbage can and a lid and instructed to be as annoying as the guy with the bugle in spring training games in Peoria.
When it comes to the Seahawks, I don’t think one fan or 20 or 30 fans can live up to the decibel level of 72,000 12s, which makes me think that Carroll’s team could have a bigger struggle in 2020 than the schedule suggests.