While the NFL season kicked off last night with the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants getting upset by the Dallas Cowboys in New Jersey, the Green Bay Packers still have to wait until Sunday to begin their season.
Despite finishing in first place in their division, the Green Bay Packers schedule seems to be relatively easy. So how will they do this season? Let’s check out the schedule. Spoiler: They aren’t going 16-0 like ESPN predicted.
Week 1: vs. San Francisco
The Packers start off the year with a tough test at home against the San Francisco 49ers, the most improved team last year. Expect the 49ers to put a good pass rush utilizing two of their three Smiths (Defensive End Justin and Outside Linebacker Aldon). It will be interesting to see how the Green Bay Packers’ line that will feature new starters at Center and Tackle will perform, but ultimately San Francisco’s marginal offense just won’t be able to score enough points against the Packers.
Verdict: Win 1-0
Week 2: vs.Chicago
After a tough opening week game, the Packers play again just four days later, taking on the Chicago Bears in the inaugural Thursday night game of the season. The Bears always play the Packers pretty well, but the home match-up shouldn’t be a huge problem. The Packers will throw the ball early and often against an aging defense, and force turnovers against Jay Cutler aka Brett Favre lite. The X-factor in this matchup: Devin Hester. Two years ago Hester turned around a Monday night game between these teams. As long as the Packers manage to kick away from Hester, the game shouldn’t be too difficult.
Verdict: Win 2-0
Week 3: at Seattle
The Packers’ will play their first road game of the year at Century Link Field, possibly the best home field advantage in the league. This could have been a trap game had Matt Flynn been named the starter, but with Russell Wilson winning the starting job, the Packers’ defense should eat him up in just his third career start. Charles Woodson always seems to take advantage of young quarterbacks’ mistakes. Look for him to get a pick or two in this game.
Verdict: Win 3-0
Week 4: vs.New Orleans
What originally looked to be one of the toughest match-ups of the season now looks to be an easy win as the New Orleans Saints were marred this offseason by a bounty scandal that cost them their best defensive player, and coach for the season as well as their interim coach for the first six games. The Saints still have Drew Brees, but without Sean Payton calling the plays it is unclear if their high-octane offense will be as potent.
Verdict: Win 4-0
Week 5: at Indianapolis
Andrew Luck is the best quarterback prospect since Peyton Manning. The Colts will be good, just not this year. They still need to upgrade both sides of the ball before they can even be in the game against the NFL’s best team. This game should be a blowout.
Verdict: Win 5-0
Week 6: at Houston
This will be the first real test of the season for the Packers. Houston has some of the most talented position players in the game, including an explosive offense with Matt Schaub, Andre Johnson, and Arian Foster. The Packers’ secondary will have to force Schaub to make some bad decisions in this game in order to gain an advantage; this game will come down to the wire. Regardless of how good the Texans are though, the Packers still have the league’s best player playing in (presumably) good weather. The Packers will win this possible Super Bowl preview by 3 points or fewer.
Verdict: Win 6-0
Week 7: at St. Louis
The Packers are better than the Rams in every single way. And Aaron Rodgers gets to play on turf.
Verdict: Win 7-0
Week 8: vs. Jacksonville
The only interesting thing about this game will be seeing the debut of backup QB Graham Harrell when he comes in after the Packers are up by 40 in the 3rd quarter.
Verdict: Win 8-0
Check back tomorrow for part 2 of my Packers schedule preview.