Packers 2021 schedule release: Ranking five toughest games

Green Bay Packers, Za'Darius Smith - Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Green Bay Packers, Za'Darius Smith - Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports /

The Green Bay Packers will learn their complete 2021 regular-season schedule on Wednesday, an extended one with the addition of a 17th game for each team.

While we don’t yet know the dates and order of the games — which will be a factor — we do know each of the Packers’ opponents this upcoming season.

In what looks to be a challenging schedule, it’s tough to rank the top five toughest games. But here we go.

5. Baltimore Ravens

Baltimore has led the NFL in rushing yards in each of the past two seasons. Can Green Bay’s defense handled the Ravens’ powerful offense led by 2019 NFL MVP Lamar Jackson?

It’s going to be a real challenge stopping an offense that rushed for over 190 yards per game last season, especially with Jackson’s ability to make big plays. Not to mention that the Ravens also have a ton of talent on defense.

Maybe a Za’Darius Smith revenge game can lead the Packers to victory.

4. Los Angeles Rams

The Packers sent the Rams home in the divisional round in convincing fashion last January, but Sean McVay’s team has since swapped Jared Goff for Green Bay’s longtime NFC North rival, Matthew Stafford, at quarterback.

The Rams maintain a talented defense led by superstars Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey. Offensively, the Stafford trade can take this team to the next level.

3. San Francisco 49ers

Hit by injuries in 2020, the 49ers took a giant step back but are primed to bounce back into contention this year.

Getting Nick Bosa back will be huge for San Francisco’s defense. The Packers will also need a plan to stop Kyle Shanahan’s offense featuring All-Pro tight end George Kittle and talented receivers Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk.

The real question is whether Trey Lance will be starting at QB.

When healthy, this 49ers team should be much closer to 2019 than ’20.

2. Cleveland Browns

Much has changed since the last meeting of these two teams. In 2017, the Brett Hundley-led Packers needed overtime to defeat the DeShone Kizer-led Browns. A walk-off Davante Adams touchdown sealed the victory and the Browns ended up winless.

Now, they are legitimate contenders in the AFC. An offense featuring Nick Chubb, Odell Beckham Jr., and a dominant offensive line. A defense with Myles Garrett, Denzel Ward, and Greg Newsome II.

The Browns don’t have many weaknesses. ESPN’s Mike Clay ranked Cleveland’s roster second in the entire NFL.

1. Kansas City Chiefs

We didn’t see Aaron Rodgers versus Patrick Mahomes two years ago as Mahomes was injured. We might not see it this year (for the Packers, at least) if Rodgers doesn’t return.

Regardless of who is at QB for the Packers, a road trip to Arrowhead Stadium is the toughest game on the schedule. Mahomes is an all-world QB and the Chiefs have done a great job of rebuilding their offensive line by trading for Pro Bowl tackle Orlando Brown and then drafting center Creed Humphrey.

Kansas City is 38-10 in the regular season since 2018. This will be a huge challenge for Green Bay on the road.