But with the focus the NFL has put on parity, you can eventually become a victim of your own success. Green Bay has one of the toughest schedules in the league this year.
Let’s start with the division games. The NFC North is going to be a tough division again this year. The Minnesota Vikings road Adrian Peterson all the way to the playoffs last year, the Chicago Bears are a sleeper pick to win the division with new head coach Marc Trestman and the Detroit Lions have been on the verge of breaking out for a while now.
With four or more wins against division foes in each of the last four years, much of the Packers’ recent success has come from their ability to rack up wins in the division. This year, the division is going to be as tough as ever, but I’d say keeping that streak alive with a 4-2 record is about right for them.
Staying in the conference, the Packers play all four of the NFC East teams this year. They get the Washington Redskins and Philadelphia Eagles at home and travel to the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys.
The Cowboys and Eagles should be wins as both teams don’t have enough on defense to stop the high-powered Packers offense. The Redskins will be tough in Week 2, and the Giants are always a hard team to play on the road. If the Packers split the games against the NFC East, we’re at a 6-4 mark for them.
Alright, 6-4 is a good start, let’s see if we can find some easy wins in the schedule. Well, not so easy. The only game that looks to be a sure-fire win for the Packers this year is Week 7, when the Cleveland Browns come to town. Not that the Browns aren’t going to be better this year, but they get them at home, so that should be a win. Now we’re at 7-4.
Things only get tougher from there. The Packers round out their schedule with home games against the Atlanta Falcons and Pittsburgh Steelers, and go on the road against the San Francisco 49ers, Cincinnati Bengals and Baltimore Ravens. Four playoff teams plus the always-tough Steelers, that’s one really difficult schedule.
The Falcons and Steelers both come to Lambeau Field in December, one of the last true home-field advantages in the league. Give them wins there and we find ourselves at a nice 9-4 mark.
Those away games aren’t going to be so easy, though. They open the season against the defending NFC Champion 49ers, most likely a loss. The Bengals and the Ravens both have their weaknesses this year, so let’s say they manage a split between those two squads. That leaves us with a final record for the Packers of 10-6.
Not quite what the Green Bay faithful is used to, but a 10-6 record will be a successful year for the Packers in 2013. And, it just may be enough for them to keep their stranglehold over the competitive NFC North.