Questions about whether the Packers offseason study of the read-option was enough to stop it will be tested right out of the gate.
After all, we remember the 579 yards the Niners rolled up against the Packers and how quarterback Colin Kaepernick sliced effortlessly and untouched for 181 yards through the Packers defense. Will Packers coordinator Dom Capers have an answer?
We hope so, because the very next week the Packers will open at home against another quarterback, Robert Griffin III, who knows a thing or two about running and passing the football. When he comes to town with the Redskins the Packers, for the second straight week, will face a top caliber 2012 Playoff team and will face another on the road in week three when they travel to Cincinnati to take on the up and down Bengals. This tough start to the 2013 season will come to a halt in week four when the Packers enjoy an early bye week.
It appears at this point that the Packers don’t catch a break at any point in this campaign as I don’t see a single cupcake on this schedule – but that’s what separates the good teams from the great. If the Packers can come out of the first three games with at least two wins, they will head into the meat of the schedule in good shape.
They begin that part of the schedule by hosting the Detroit Lions Oct. 6 at Lambeau Field for their first NFC North Division matchup. But if things were tough up to that point, the Packers certainly can’t let their guard down when they travel Oct. 13 to Baltimore to take on the world champion Ravens. With another late Sunday game Oct. 20, the Packers will host the Cleveland Browns and then close out the month of October on the road against Divisional rival Minnesota Vikings and former Packer Greg Jennings.
Heading into the final seven games of the season, the Packers will have four road games and three at home. They begin on the road against the New York Giants on Sunday Night Football Nov. 17, then have another quick turnaround by hosting the Vikings Nov. 24.
But then as if the schedule couldn’t get any worse, it does. Four days after playing the Vikings at home Nov. 24, they play the early Thanksgiving Day game against the Detroit Lions on the road.
The last quarter of the season will begin with a Sunday night game against the Atlanta Falcons Dec. 8, at home, followed by a trip to the Dallas Cowboys Dec. 15 in a 3:25 p.m. game. On Dec. 22, the Packers meet the Pittsburgh Steelers in a rematch of Super Bowl XLV in the final home game of the season.
To conclude the season, the Packers will play at Chicago, ending a season that will test the Packers resolve and depth.
In all, the Packers will play four late Sunday afternoon games, two Sunday Night games, one Monday night game, and seven early Sunday games. They will also play seven playoff teams.
How do I feel the Packers will fare? Well, it’s difficult to pick games in April, but I’ll give it a shot.
at 49ers – loss
vs. Redskins – win
at Bengals – win
vs. Lions – win
at Ravens – win
vs. Browns – win
at Vikings – loss
vs. Bears – win
vs. Eagles – win
at Giants – loss
vs. Vikings – win
at Lions – win
vs. Falcons – win
at Cowboys – win
vs. Steelers – win
at Chicago – loss
Packers finish 12-4 and their third straight NFC North Division title