NFL continues to screw over Packers by refusing to end league-long drought

Green Bay Packers, Matt LaFleur
Green Bay Packers, Matt LaFleur / John Fisher/GettyImages

The Green Bay Packers will open the season in São Paulo, Brazil, against the Philadelphia Eagles. While both teams will face logistical challenges regarding travel, it should make for a fascinating matchup between two of the NFC's top teams.

Packers president Mark Murphy was concerned about a possible "competitive disadvantage" due to the size of the airport creating travel issues.

However, there are positives to the game. Both teams make the trip, which makes it less of a true road game. The Packers are one of the most popular teams in Brazil, which could create a home atmosphere they wouldn't get if the game had remained in Philadelphia.

There is another consequence. Opening the season with an NFL International Series game guarantees the Packers will begin on the road. Unfortunately, it's nothing new.

Packers' wait for a home game in Week 1 extends to league-high six years

The Packers heading to Brazil in Week 1 confirms they will have to wait another year to get their season opener at Lambeau Field. Green Bay hasn't had a home game in Week 1 since the 2018 season, and the team had to request it, according to Wed Hodkiewicz of the Packers' team website.

That's longer than Matt LaFleur's tenure as head coach. It is the longest drought of any team in the NFL.

Opening at home creates the perfect opportunity to put a win on the board out of the gate, ease any pressure, and gain some momentum. The Packers haven't had that opportunity often over the past decade.

Of the 32 NFL teams, 25 have opened the season at home over the past two years. Outside of the Packers, no team has had to wait as long as 2018.

In the past 11 seasons, Green Bay has only played its opener at Lambeau Field twice, in 2017 and 2018, against the Seattle Seahawks and Chicago Bears.

Last season, the NFL forced the league's youngest roster with a new starting quarterback to open with consecutive road games, including a divisional matchup with the Bears. It stacked the odds against LaFleur's team, making it challenging to put an early-season win on the board.

There are positives. Eliminating a road game early means the Packers will play nine of their remaining 16 games at Lambeau Field. But consistently starting on the road is a challenge, making it harder to build momentum in September.

The 2024 season will be the sixth straight the Packers have had to open on the road. It's likely just a coincidence, but the NFL needs to provide some balance moving forward.

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