The Green Bay Packers already knew the 16 opponents they’d be up against in the 2017-2018 season, but there is something much more satisfying about knowing the official schedule that brings comfort to the fans. It’s clear that the schedule makers have high hopes for the Packers this season, rewarding them with five prime time games. Rodgers won’t have to spend three weeks in a row on the road as he did last season, but the Packers do finish the season with three out of four on the road.
With an agonizing five months until the NFL Sundays return, here’s an inside look as to how the Packers schedule will play out.
Week 1: Sunday, September 10th, vs. Seattle Seahawks, 4:25 p.m. ET
The Packers have now played the Seahawks in each of the past four seasons, and it’s quickly become one of the NFL’s best out-of-division rivalries, and this season will prove no differently. The return of Eddie Lacy to Green Bay adds an intriguing storyline, as he’ll likely be greeted with a mixture of cheers, boos, and cheeseburger posters, but the Packers will be ready for Week one and will start the year off right.
Prediction: Packers 28-24, Record: 1-0
Week 2: Sunday, September 17th, @ Atlanta Falcons, 8:30 p.m. ET
Could you have asked for a better first two weeks? First Seattle, then a rematch of last year’s NFC Championship, which left the Packers wondering how they would fix that atrocious secondary. Ted Thompson has the upcoming draft to make changes, but the changes won’t occur fast enough to get a win in the opening of Atlanta’s new stadium.
Prediction: Falcons 38-31, Record: 1-1
Week 3: Sunday, September 24th, vs. Cincinnati Bengals, 4:25 p.m. ET
This game is personal for Aaron Rodgers—he’s beaten 31 out of 32 teams in the NFL. He’ll get a shot to complete the cycle in week three when Cincinnati visits Lambeau. The Bengals are coming off a down year in 2016, but look for the offense to improve with a healthy A.J. Green – it still won’t be enough to take down the Packers.
Prediction: Packers 26-21, Record: 2-1
Week 4: Thursday, September 28th, vs. Chicago Bears, 8:25 p.m. ET
Since 2010, the Packers are 12-3 against the Bears—they’ve provided us with some fantastic games, including the 2011 NFC championship, the 4th and 8 game winning pass to Randall Cobb, and last year’s failed comeback attempt by the Bears. This game, however, won’t be as close. Packers by two scores.
Prediction: Packers 27-14, Record: 3-1
Week 5: Sunday, October 8th, @ Dallas Cowboys, 4:25 p.m. ET
Odds are this week five match-up will not live up to last year’s Divisional Round classic—and rightfully so. Few games ever will compare to it. But we can still expect a well-played, high-scoring game. Both defenses are still sub-par, and have actually gotten worse over the offseason. Look for another Rodgers clutch late-game play.
Prediction: Packers 30-28, Record: 4-1
Week 6: Sunday, October 15th, @ Minnesota Vikings, 1 p.m. ET
The Vikings have been a thorn in Rodgers’ side his entire career—even in victory Rodgers has difficulties dealing with Mike Zimmer’s defense. U.S. Bank Stadium will be absolutely rocking, and this will be the Packers’ second loss of the season.
Prediction: Vikings 20-16, Record: 4-2
Week 7: Sunday, October 22nd, vs. New Orleans Saints, 1 p.m. ET
It’s no secret that the Packers have a porous defense. The saving grace in this game? The Saints’ defense is worse. This will be a shootout, but without Brandin Cooks the Saints just won’t have enough firepower to keep up with Rodgers.
Prediction: Packers 31-21, Record: 5-2
Week 8: BYE
Week 9: Monday, November 6th, vs. Detroit Lions, 8:30 p.m. ET
Stafford has absolutely lit up the Packers secondary of late, totaling 732 yards in their two meetings last season. The trend will continue in this first match-up, but thankfully the Green Bay offense has enough to keep up. Crosby will make a late field goal for the win.
Prediction: Packers 27-24, Record: 6-2
Week 10: Sunday, November 12th, @ Chicago Bears, 1 p.m. ET
The Packers have not lost at Soldier Field since September of 2010. There have been some close calls through the years, and this one could add to the list. Mike Glennon will have half a season under his belt, but will ultimately fail.
Prediction: Packers 23-21, Record: 7-2
Week 11: Sunday, November 19th, vs. Baltimore Ravens, 1 p.m. ET
If this game was in Baltimore, I’d give the edge to the Ravens—M&T Bank Stadium is a tough environment for opposing teams to journey into. But given that the game is in Green Bay, the Packers win on homefield advantage.
Prediction: Packers 20-14, Record: 8-2
Week 12: Sunday, November 26th, @ Pittsburgh Steelers, 8:30 p.m. ET
Here marks the first game of the Packers’ rough patch of the season—they will not be able to go into Heinz Field, in primetime, and stop Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown. Their only hope is Roethlisberger begins his decline this season.
Prediction: Steelers 28-17, Record: 8-3
Week 13: Sunday, December 3rd, vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1 p.m. ET
A few seasons back, it would have been easy to chalk this game up as a win—unfortunately for the Packers, this is no longer the case. I predicted last week that the Bucs would win the South, and this will be one of the key games for them in doing so. The secondary of Green Bay won’t be able to stop Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson.
Prediction: Buccaneers 23-20, Record: 8-4
Week 14: Sunday, December 10th, @ Cleveland Browns, 1 p.m. ET
Poor Browns. If there’s one game that the Packers can feel confident in, it’s this one. It may be close for a while given that it’s in Cleveland, but the Browns’ quarterback situation is in shambles and will turn into a blowout.
Prediction: Packers 31-13, Record: 9-4
Week 15: Sunday, December 17th, @ Carolina Panthers, 1 p.m. ET
The last time the Packers visited the Panthers, it was an absolute blowout—until it wasn’t. The Packers came back from 16 down and may have had a chance to tie if not for a late Rodgers interception. Unfortunately for Rodgers, this time around won’t be any easier.
Prediction: Panthers 24-20, Record: 9-5
Week 16: Saturday, December 23rd, Minnesota Vikings, 8:30 p.m. ET
This pre-Christmas classic could prove to be a critical game in the chase for the NFC North crown. But at home, look for the Packers to avenge an early-season loss and split the series with the Vikings in a low-scoring affair.
Prediction: Packers 20-17, Record: 10-5
Week 17: Sunday, December 31st, @ Detroit Lions, 1 p.m. ET
If the previous game doesn’t decide the North, then this one certainly will. Last season’s finale between these two was flexed to Sunday night, and the Packers came out on top. Both of these teams will be fighting for a playoff spot, and we’ve seen how these two teams perform with the playoffs on the lined.
Prediction: Packers 31-27, Record: 11-5