Green Bay Packers schedule analysis
By Rob Demovsky | ESPN.com
Breakdown: In perhaps the least surprising news of all, the NFL picked the Green Bay Packers to open the season at the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks on Thursday, Sept. 4. It seemed likely from the moment the Seahawks hoisted the Lombardi Trophy in February. So many good story lines in that game, leading with the first meeting since the Fail Mary ending to the 2012 game and the replacement officials. The Packers don’t play on Thanksgiving but still have two Thursday games. The other is Oct. 2 against the Vikings. After an unusually early bye last season in Week 4, the bye comes after eight games and is followed by a stretch of four out of five at home.
Complaint department: It’s not the easiest opening stretch, with three of the first four on the road. That includes a pair of division games at the Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears. The only home game in that stretch, when the weather tends to be at its best in Green Bay, is against the New York Jets in Week 2. In the first six weeks, the Packers have only two home games. That means plenty of cold-weather games are possible at Lambeau Field. And it’s not like their warm-weather trips are all late in the season, either. They play at the Dolphins in Week 6, when the weather still could be decent in Green Bay.
Seeing division rivals early: A year after playing a late-season, division-heavy schedule, this year features only one NFC North game over the final five weeks of the season. That’s against the Lions in Week 17, when everyone plays division games. Instead, the Packers play three straight division games in a 12-day stretch early in the season. Two of those — against Lions (Sept. 21) and Bears (Sept. 28) are on road — followed by the Thursday home game against the Vikings.
Strength of schedule: 13th, .504 | Vegas over/under : 10
Packers Regular-Season Schedule (All times Eastern)
Week 1: Thursday, Sept. 4, at Seattle, 8:30 PM
Week 2: Sunday, Sept. 14, NY Jets, 4:25 PM
Week 3: Sunday, Sept. 21, at Detroit, 1 PM
Week 4: Sunday, Sept. 28, at Chicago, 1 PM
Week 5: Thursday, Oct. 2, Minnesota, 8:25 PM
Week 6: Sunday, Oct. 12, at Miami, 1 PM
Week 7: Sunday, Oct. 19, Carolina, 1 PM
Week 8: Sunday, Oct. 26, at New Orleans, 8:30 PM
Week 9: BYE
Week 10: Sunday, Nov. 9, Chicago, 8:30 PM
Week 11: Sunday, Nov. 16, Philadelphia, 1 PM
Week 12: Sunday, Nov. 23, at Minnesota, 1 PM
Week 13: Sunday, Nov. 30, New England, 4:25 PM
Week 14: Monday, Dec. 8, Atlanta, 8:30 PM
Week 15: Sunday, Dec. 14, at Buffalo, 1 PM
Week 16: Sunday, Dec. 21, at Tampa Bay, 1 PM
Week 17: Sunday, Dec. 28, Detroit, 1 PM