It may be too early to be making season schedule predictions when 53-man rosters haven’t even been finalized, but the Green Bay Packers‘ schedule is too intriguing to not speculate about what could become of it.
The first 17-game season in Green Bay is loaded with matchups against teams from the NFC West and AFC North among their usual six games against the rest of the NFC North. The season is rounded out with games against the New Orleans Saints, Washington Football Team, and Kansas City Chiefs.
The Packers will see a Week 13 bye, their latest bye week since its permanent introduction to the league in 1990.
All predictions are made assuming that Aaron Rodgers will be under center for the Packers as I have no reason to believe otherwise thus far. I have chosen to highlight one thing from each week that stands out to me either about the opponent or the matchup in general.
Week 1: at New Orleans Saints
Packers 28, Saints 16
Biggest storyline: Who will be under center for both teams?
The season opens in New Orleans where the Saints will presumably be led by Jameis Winston. The QB race between Winston and Taysom Hill has reportedly been tight, but Winston has much more experience solely within the position which I think will win out in the end.
If Winston is starting, I can only assume that there will be growing pains as he transitions into this offense. This team has only known Drew Brees as a long-term starter. Despite the fact that Winston filled in some gaps amidst Brees’ thumb injury last season, he hasn’t been with the team long enough to do any serious damage with this offense.
Winston is notorious for his NFL interception count, and I see the Packers secondary taking advantage of that. Between the likes of Jaire Alexander and Adrian Amos, it shouldn’t be difficult for the Packers to shut down the Saints passing game.
I expect to see Rodgers at QB for the Packers Week 1 for a number of reasons: the Packers have made it clear they will not be trading him, he missed the opt-out deadline on July 2, and he’s too competitive to retire. His holdout seems to be more of a statement than anything to actually be concerned about, at least for this season.
With Rodgers under center, the depth at the WR position, and Aaron Jones along with AJ “The Quadfather” Dillon, the Saints defense is of no concern to this Packers offense.