Breaking down the Green Bay Packers’ schedule ahead of the 2018 season.
Every single NFL season is a storm of unpredictability. This is just a given. Predicting an NFL schedule can be a rather meaningless task. When you factor the injuries that haven’t happened yet, the coaching epiphanies coming to fruition, and the surprises, the instability of each game on a play to play basis, there is absolutely no way to accurately predict a team’s record from their NFL schedule. One thing that can be done, however, is analyzing the schedule.
Teams have very little, if any, say in their schedule. The league works with the broadcasting companies and assign games based off of projected popularity.
This can potentially lead to some unfavorable stretches for teams throughout the course of the season.
Without further adieu, let’s begin examining this Green Bay Packers schedule.
Favorable schedule before Week 7 bye
There are a couple of initial takeaways when looking at the schedule. The first one would have to be the opening two weeks against the team’s two biggest rivals: the Chicago Bears and the Minnesota Vikings. Divisional games are never a shoo-in. These games usually are some of the toughest on the entire schedule. Luckily, for the Packers, these two games are both in Green Bay to start the season.
The next point to take note of is the bye week. Green Bay’s bye is relatively early at Week 7. Ideally, the bye is later on in the season. But, be grateful that it wasn’t Week 4.
Leading up to the bye week, the Packers play four home games. This is significant considering that half of the team’s home games for the entire season occur before the bye week in Week 7. So, for the following 10 weeks, the Packers will be on the road for six of those games.
Another positive point, prior to the bye week, is that the team plays San Francisco at Lambeau. This game is scheduled for Monday night and normally would put the Packers in a short week leading up to the following Sunday’s game. However, due to the bye week placement, that short week is no longer existent.
All in all, the schedule pre-bye week is pretty favorable for Green Bay. Following the bye is where it starts to get a little dicey.
Following the bye week
The team can use their bye week to make their way out west, to play in Los Angeles. However, immediately following that game, the team must travel all the way across the country to play at New England. Foxborough in November is better than in December or January, but still not ideal. The weather should be friendly in Los Angeles.
The team then briefly returns home for a bout with the Miami Dolphins before again making their way out west. This time, it is on a short week. The Packers play Miami on Sunday and then head out to Seattle for a Thursday night showdown. Following the game against Seattle, there will be a stretch of 10 days between that game and their next. At this point, the Packers will be very pleased to have this extended period of time.
At this point, the toughest stretch of the schedule is coming to a close. After Seattle, Green Bay plays the Vikings, this time in Minnesota. Following that battle, the team will make the trip back home for two games versus Arizona and Atlanta. The game against the Falcons, being scheduled in Week 14, could potentially have huge playoff implications.
The team then goes on the road to once again play Chicago and then a trip to New York. They will end the season at home against Detroit, of whom they lost both meetings to in 2017. Some other significant head-to-head notes:
- The team has beaten Chicago in eight of their last 10 meetings, including both times last season
- The Packers have lost four out of their past five meetings against Minnesota
- Micah Hyde will make his return trip to Lambeau Field in Week 4 when the the Bills come to Green Bay
- The last time Green Bay played the 49ers was 2015 and the Packers won that meeting. However, over the stretch of five games vs. San Francisco, that is Green Bay’s only victory
- Green Bay has won their last five meetings with the Rams.
- In Week 11, Jimmy Graham will make his return to Seattle after joining the Packers in free agency this past offseason. Green Bay has won the last three meetings between these two teams
- In Week 16, Muhammad Wilkerson leads the Packers into the Meadowlands after playing in New York for seven years. Green Bay has won the last two meetings with the Jets
- Potentially the game with the single-most importance to a playoff berth, Green Bay plays Atlanta at home in Week 14. Atlanta has won the last three meetings between these teams
It is worth noting that Green Bay is 9-2 in their last 11 games at Lambeau Field when Aaron Rodgers is under center.
The away portion of the schedule could do some damage to this team’s ultimate playoff hopes. The quality of opponent coupled with the difficult of playing in certain venues could hinder the Packers’ ability to win a lot of football games.
The Packers have the toughest strength of schedule in the NFL. A lot can change once that first snap of the regular season is taken. Green Bay’s road to the playoffs won’t be easy this year. But one thing is for sure. If they make it, they will have surely earned it.