Game Preview: Seahawks to kick off season unlike any other with road trip to Atlanta

VIDEO: Seahawks vs Falcons Week 1 Preview

SEATTLE — For the first time since their playoff comeback bid against the Green Bay Packers fell short in January, the Seattle Seahawks will take the field on Sunday in Atlanta to kick off their 2020 NFL season.

However, this season will be unlike any in NFL history.

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Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the offseason program and preseason games were canceled. Fans will also be absent from the majority of NFL stadiums to start the year, including Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium

Despite all of the challenges facing the league, the NFL is planning to play a full 16-game regular season schedule, and has numerous safety protocols in place to try to keep players, coaches and team personnel healthy.

Seahawks fans tuning in Sunday will be greeted by familiar faces: Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner are set to start their ninth seasons in the NFL while Chris Carson, Shaquill Griffin and DK Metcalf return as the talented young stars on the roster.

However, new to Seattle is star safety Jamal Adams, who the team acquired in a July trade with the New York Jets. With Adams in the fold, along with new cornerback Quinton Dunbar and the return of safety Quandre Diggs and cornerback Tre Flowers, the Seahawks will take the field with one of the best secondaries in the NFL and one that could be reminiscent of the “Legion of Boom” in years past.

Much of the focus on Sunday will be on the Seahawks' revamped offensive line, which will likely feature three new starters: center Ethan Pocic, rookie right guard Damien Lewis and new right tackle Brandon Shell. The free-agent signings of former Seahawks Bruce Irvin and Benson Mayowa are set to fill the void left by Jadeveon Clowney, who left Seattle to sign a one-year contract with the Tennessee Titans last weekend.

The Falcons come into the season with one of the league’s most explosive offenses, led by likely future Hall-of-Famer Julio Jones and former NFL MVP Matt Ryan. New to Atlanta this year is running back Todd Gurley, who Seahawks fans know well from his time with the Los Angeles Rams.

The Seahawks beat the Falcons 27-20 in Atlanta last season, but the Falcons were without Ryan. Seattle jumped out to a 24-0 halftime lead thanks in large part to two touchdown catches by DK Metcalf, but the Falcons fought their way back in the second half to make things interesting.

Sunday’s game starts at 10 a.m. PST. The Seahawks are 3-5 against the Falcons under head coach Pete Carroll.