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Dec 16, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) hands off to Green Bay Packers running back Alex Green (20) against the Chicago Bears during the second half at Soldier Field. The Packers beat the Bears 21-13. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

Green Bay Packers: A 2013 Season Preview

Green Back Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) throws during the fourth quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at the Metrodome. The Vikings defeated the Packers 37-34. Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

The Packers schedule for the 2013 season is out and everybody is wondering how the season will turn out for them. They have their work cut out for them no doubt, but things may not be as bad as some of the “experts” think. If I weren’t a Packers fan first and a hack writer second, I might be inclined to think 2013 will be a real downer- a tough season to play and to watch. But I don’t necessarily agree with the rest of the pundits. Besides…it is what it is. The Packers will have to make the best of it, and I think they will.

Some overall impressions of the schedule as I see them:

-  The Packers do not play consecutive road games this season. This is the very first time this has ever occurred.

-  The Packers have two consecutive home games in mid-season (Chicago and Philadelphia), but otherwise they’re home-away-home-away all season long. There are pluses and minuses to this aspect of the schedule, but nobody can complain about that tough 3 game road stretch late in the season this year.

Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh (90) stomps on Green Bay Packers offensive guard Evan Dietrich-Smith (62) after the play. Suh was ejected from the game during the third quarter at Ford Field. Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

-  The Packers play Detroit on Thanksgiving once again this season. Some believe this to be a bad thing. I kind of like it. I enjoy watching Detroit lose almost as much as watching the Packers win. And some memorable moments have resulted from Packers  / Lions Thanksgiving Day contests over the years. Here’s to making some more in 2013!

-  The Packers get an early-season week 4 bye. They’ll also have a mini-bye after they play Detroit on Thanksgiving.

-  The Packers are scheduled to appear on national TV five times and will play in the second game of double-headers four times. That means exiled Packers fans (like me) will likely be able to see at least half their games this season. Never a bad thing! And on Sundays with noon starts it’ll be time to improvise, adapt, and overcome. Just like the Packers themselves.

-  The Packers will not play any Thursday night games this season.

When I look at the 2013 schedule I see absolutely no games the Packers cannot win or that they are predestined to lose. With everybody returning healthy (especially Bulaga, Worthy, Perry, Walden, and D.J. Smith) and the players Ted Thompson will add via the draft and free agency (impact players at WR, TE, RB, D line, and LB / DE) I see this being a team that can and will do great things. As always it will be up to the players to make it happen.

Here are the Packers games of the 2013 NFL season:

 

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb (18) is tackled by San Francisco 49ers safety C.J. Spillman (27) during the third quarter of the NFC divisional round playoff game at Candlestick Park. Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Sunday September 8- at SanFrancisco 49ers (1525 start on Fox) All sorts of emotions and revenge factors will play into this one. They’ll be preparing for it for months, and if the Packers have an answer for the read-option then they probably have a great chance to win. If not, well the 549 they gave up in the playoffs last season may not look so bad. PREDICTION: Packers win 34-28.

Sunday September 15 – Washington Redskins (1200 start on Fox) The Packers get their first look at Washington with RGIII in their home opener. Or maybe not if he’s not yet healthy enough to play. Without RGIII Washington is not in it. When this one’s over Packers fans will be happy. PREDICTION: Packers win 31-17.

Sunday September 22 – at the Cincinnati Bengals (1200 start on Fox) These are not your father’s old Bungles. Marvin Lewis has these guys playing. But they won’t be able to stop Rodgers and (insert rookie RB sensation here) and the revised and revitalized tough Packers D. PREDICTION: Packers win 28-14.

Sunday September 29 - BYE

Sunday October 6 – Detroit Lions (1200 start on Fox) Fresh off a bye…Detroit at Green Bay. Enough said. PREDICTION: Packers win 34-17.

 

 Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco (5) is tackled by Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller (58) during the AFC divisional round playoff game at Sports Authority Field. Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Sunday October 13 – at the Baltimore Ravens (1200 start on Fox) This one has the makings of a defensive struggle. Or at least it did before the Ravens lost much of their defensive core. I see it being Rogers against Flacco for all the marbles now. PREDICTION: Packers win 35-24.

Sunday October 20 – Cleveland Browns (1525 start on CBS) The Browns are a team in transition. Unless there are some really humongous surprises in store from them I can’t see this one going their way. PREDICTION: Packers win 28-14.

Sunday October 27 – at the Minnesota Vikings (1930 start on NBC) Adrian. Peterson. Stop him and there’s a decent enough chance to win. Let him run roughshod for 200 plus and it’ll be a very long and unhappy day. PREDICTION: Packers lose 24-21.

Monday November 4 – Chicago Bears (1940 start on ESPN) Now this is what I’m talking about! Nationally televised. Oldest and most emotional rivalry in the league. Charged up fans. Psyched up players. It gets no better! PREDICTION: Packers win 24-13.

Sunday November 10 – Philadelphia Eagles (1200 start on Fox) The Eagles come to Lambeau with all sorts of new wrinkles. But they’ll need more than that to keep Rodgers from taking this one over. While I think the Eagles will eventually hit their stride, it won’t happen on this day. PREDICTION: Packers win 33-17.

Sunday November 17 – at the New York Football Giants (1930 start on NBC [flex]) Another revenge game. Another road game against the Giants. Another tough but winnable one. When this one’s over both sides will feel it for a while. PREDICTION: Packers lose 27-21.

Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) is stopped by Green Bay Packers linebacker A.J. Hawk (50) during the 1st quarter of the NFC Wild Card playoff game at Lambeau Field. Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Sunday November 24 – Minnesota Vikings (1200 start on Fox [flex]) Adrian. Peterson. Sound familiar? When the Vikings come into Lambeau this time it’ll be up to Ponder to outplay Rodgers. Not gonna happen. PREDICTION: Packers win 28-14.

Thursday November 28 – at the Detroit Lions (1130 start on Fox) Ahh…Thanksgiving! Football! Family and friends! And a liberal helping of Packers-Lions rivalry just for flavor. We eat after the game honey! This will be a tough one but it won’t go to the Lions. PREDICTION: Packers win 21-17.

Sunday December 8 – Atlanta Falcons (1930 start on NBC [flex]) A tough one to call. Playing this game in Lambeau may be enough to give the Packers the edge. The speedy Falcons don’t want any of the Packers in the last quarter of the season, but they get them anyway and take it from them. PREDICTION: Packers lose 31-21.

Sunday December 15- at the Dallas Cowboys (1525 start on Fox [flex]) I like this game because I loathe the Cowboys and it’ll be a game I will probably go see in person. I simply will not watch the Packers lose to the Cowboys in person in 2013! Rodgers will outplay Romo as it should be. PREDICTION: Packers win 38-24.

Sunday December 22 – Pittsburgh Steelers (1525 start on CBS [flex]) The last home game of the regular season for the Packers. Not an easy opponent but these days “on any given Sunday” is the way it seems to be.  Just not on this one. PREDICTION: Packers win 27-17.

 

Sunday December 29 – at the Chicago Bears (1200 start on Fox [flex]) So it all comes down to this. The Packers might not need this game but they’ll want it anyway. The Bears might need it but the Packers won’t let them have it- not without a fight. PREDICTION: Packers win 21-13.

There you have it Packer Nation. The Packers will have to play well early and often to make me look like I know what I’m talking about, but I see a 13-3 season for them. They’ll go win Super Bowl XLVIII, win, and take over New York. After all- what team is better suited to play in (and win!) an outdoor Super Bowl in a Northeast February?

Go Pack GO!

Follow Bill Walton on Twitter @PackersTX

 

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