Packers Face Familiar Start All Green Bay Packers All the Time
Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson
The Packers face the defending Super Bowl champions and two divisional opponents on the road in three of their first four games this season

The Green Bay Packers now know not only who they will be facing in 2014, but when.  The NFL announced its full schedule on Wednesday, amidst much anticipation from media and fans.

My first thought in looking at the official and non-leaked schedule was “here we go again”.  For the third straight season, the Packers face a tough opening quarter to their season.  As each team plays 16 games, I’m referring to the first four games.

In 2012, the Packers opened the season with the San Francisco 49ers and Chicago Bears at home, the Seattle Seahawks on the road and the New Orleans Saints at home.

Green Bay fared well over that stretch, considering that the loss to Seattle should have been a victory, and a hard-fought one at that.  They emerged 2-2 after the smoke cleared.

In 2013, the Packers again drew the San Francisco 49ers in game one, on the road.  They then faced the Washington Redskins at home, Cincinnati Bengals on the road and the Detroit Lions at home.

On paper and right now, that doesn’t seem like a tough bunch of games at all.  But before the 2013 season started, the matchup against the Redskins and a potentially healthy quarterback Robert Griffin III loomed larger.  Cincinnati has never been an easy place for the Packers to play and the Lions were a division rival looking to end a 20-year drought at Lambeau Field.  The Packers managed a 2-2 mark against those teams but, much like the season prior, should have fared better.  Had it not been for their late collapse against the Bengals, the Packers would have been a healthier 3-1.

In the case of the 2012 and 2013 seasons, the Packers faced a tough slate and came out having been competitive in every game and with a chance to win.  Hopefully in 2014, the Packers can be just as competitive and finish those games that they have a firm hold of.

In week one, the Packers travel to Seattle and face the Seahawks in the NFL season opener on Thursday, September 4th.  Besides the very electric and deafening crowd that will be on hand at CenturyLink Field, the Packers may also watch the Seahawks receive their Super Bowl rings prior to the start of that game (some teams hand out their rings in a private ceremony much like the Packers did in January, 2011).  That game alone would be enough for me to deem the Packers first quarter “difficult”.  Seattle will be looking to establish their dominance in a quest to return to another Super Bowl in 2014 and will not be short on adrenaline and motivation.

In week two, the Packers have their home opener against the New York Jets.  The Jets have struggled for the past few seasons but I always caution myself against thinking any AFC matchup is an easy one.  The lack of familiarity could make that a closer contest than any of us want to see.  At least the Packers will get some extra rest heading into that game, having last played ten days prior in the Thursday opener.

In week three, the Packers face the Lions in Detroit.  This has typically been a game that has come later in the season.  A divisional road game is anything but a given, regardless of records or point spreads.  The Packers were embarrassed in Detroit on Thanksgiving Day last season, albeit without starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers.  The Lions will be under the new leadership of head coach Jim Caldwell and the addition of receiver Golden Tate to complement Calvin Johnson will give the Packers secondary an early test.

Week four brings another divisional road game against the Chicago Bears.  The return to Chicago of the elephant linebacker/end Julius Peppers.  The Bears surely remember the last time the Packers were at Soldier Field and they will be looking to reclaim their home field advantage.  This has always been a tough place for the Packers to play, although they have won four of their six games there with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback.  The Bears are said to be looking to drastically improve their defense from last season and will surely do so with the Packers and their other divisional opponents in mind.

With two divisional games and a very tough NFC opponent looming early, the Packers won’t want to stumble to a poor start.  Having to dig out of a hole throughout the season could prove difficult and there will be plenty of competition for both the NFC North and the high playoff seeds.  Head-to-head losses are the devil when it comes to the deciding factors in a close divisional or conference race.

In today’s NFL, no game is a given anymore.  We can express all of the confidence and bravado that we want and start circling games that are easy wins, but there’s a reason they still suit up every week.  The Packers will tell us that they focus on one game at a time and that they are confident that they can beat anyone.  This year, they need to take that added step and get some very important “W’s” early on.


Jason Perone is an independent sports blogger writing about the Packers on

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15 thoughts on “Packers Face Familiar Start

  1. I like the schedule for a bunch of reasons.

    1. Open against the champs. If you wanna be the best, you gotta beat the best.

    2. Best chance of a full, healthy roster. Packers won’t be playing the game with one hand tied behind their back.

    3. Right an existing wrong and restore order to the universe. No more need be said.

    The other thing about the schedule? Bye in Week 9, middle of the season.

  2. I like schedule too. I like going at seahawks at beginning. I think edge goes to Pack…to play reckless abandon and try knocking off champs. Heck, everyone will want to bring their best to knock S’hawks down.
    I see Pack only beating the Jets in first 4 games. But that doesn’t mean I’m down on Pack. In fact, I predicted them in a hole last year, then climbing back all season with do-or-die mentality. I think the same this year. They’ll lose initially with Detro and Chico, but eventually split all division games. Pack will fight Detro for the division, and get’em. Will be tough division.

  3. 4-0 start… you heard it here first. Seahawks won the superbowl as posers. We will dismantle them. We will fly by the Jets and their foot fetish coach. Detroit made us look like Turkeys last year, guarantee won’t happen again. And our very own elephant ears is going to pyle drive Cutler to the turf. Put that in your pipe and smoke it…

  4. I find it hard to believe we’re going to go to Seattle and knock them off on their celebratory night. I also don’t like having 3 divisional games in 18 days right after that – 2 of them on the road.

    If we walk into week 5 2-2, we’ll be alright. 3-1 would be fantastic.

    1. Seattle is a different team, just like the Packers will be different. My biggest concern going into that game will be at Center for Green Bay. Otherwise a healthy Packers team can play with them or anyone else IMO.

  5. Who are you and what have you done with the real BigT?????…. Such unbridled optimism is not like you. I love it!

  6. What has changed? The addition of one Chicago reject. The pack is still fielding the 25th defense. Healthy or not this team lacks real talent on defense. No pass rush and poor special teams. It would take a total let down by Seattle for the packers to win. I am interested to see if MM is going to start the season by loosing all 4 preseason games again. I think this inspires loosing. I looked at the schedule and see 8 and 8 maybe 9 and 7 if lucky.

    1. That Chicago reject is still a damn good player. Plus it’s not about who we have added, it’s about the guys we already have being healthy.

  7. I think it’s very likely that the Pack does not spend even 1 day atop the division… let alone win it.

    Defense has no bite.

    Offense has lost too many good players.

  8. There isn’t one team on the schedule that the Packers cannot go score for score or simply outscore to win.

    There isn’t any QB that can/has hurt us like Kaepernick…Newton has no receivers,Vick is and always was hyped,Smith isn’t good,Manuel is a 50/50 being healthy,Wilson can be contained and all others are not running threats.

    This seasons success will be dependent more than ever on the defense to perform to the levels expected…Perry,Neal,Datone,Raji,Burnett,House with little to insignificant time loss due to injury in ratio to the past and Peppers being able to rally a following due to the failure of those who already should have done so.

    This defense either shines or gets blown up and that alone will decide the path to the Super Bowl and playing in it or watching for a few more years,many more than should be,at a great expense.

    The defense needs to steal the Lombardi for the Packers…not steal it from us for another.

    1. Peppers is 34 and people are talking about him like he’s 40. He played on a defense last year that had a ton of injuries, so offenses had nothing else to be concerned with. You put him on a defense with Matthews, Daniels, Perry, (Yes Perry, a healthy Perry) and others, opposing QB’s will have like 2 seconds to throw the ball. I wouldn’t be surprised one bit if we saw the 2010 version of Raji back at NT, applying pressure up the middle and doing a Hula Dance after a sack. The Packers corners are good enough to cover, just not for 5 or 6 seconds like we saw many times last year. That’s what happens when you have no one healthy other than Nate Palmer to play OLB in a 3-4. Personally I’m with Tarynfor12 or some of the other more POSITIVE fans, and have a feeling this team can play with anyone. Don’t be surprised if Hyde is one of the studs on this team this year either.

  9. As mentioned in Jason’s article on the 23rd, I think that when the Packers are healthy, they can play with and beat anyone. Our QB is better than or at least equal to any opposing QB on the schedule. Our running game will have everyone’s attention. On defense we’ve added Peppers, which is already an improvement over last year, again if CM3, Heyward, etc… remain on the field. I’m confident that we will pick up an ILB and a safety in the draft. They may be rookies but they’ll be good enough to contribute and make some plays. I also believe that Raji and Burnett will show up in 2014 at least some of the time. If not, they must know that they will be history. 3 games to be concerned about, Sea, N.O. and Det on the road and maybe Carolina at home. I would sign up for 12-4 right now. Also, I agree with Taryn, the level of improved play achieved by the defense will determine how far the Packers go in 2014, especially if they remain healthy. Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since ’61

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