Last Thursday, the NFL world was glued to its TV’s, computers, and social media of choice. The long wait was finally over, as the 2013 schedule was finally released, after a two day delay, and travel plans began in earnest by fans of all teams.
Packers fans were no different, as every tweet offered a small glimpse at what the 2013 schedule would shape up like.
How many prime time games would there be? How many road games in a row would they have to play? Who would they play in the final month which could have playoff implications? These were just some of the questions being asked as the clock ticked down to 7 pm CDT, and the official release of the schedule.
Almost as quickly as the schedule was released, analysis of the schedule began. Just how good can this team be with the schedule they have been assigned to play?
It is impossible to predict exactly how the Packers will play in the upcoming season. There is still the Draft, OTAs, Training Camp, preseason games, roster cuts, and even a free agent or two signed that still has to be settled before they even set foot on the field in a game that matters.
It is possible, however, to gauge how good (or poor) the 2013 version of the Packers could be, based on the talent they currently have, and their opponent’s talent.
With that being said, here is a very early prediction of what the Packers final record for 2013 could look like:
Week 1 September 8 at San Francisco 49ers-I don’t like this game at all. Their defense was completely exposed in the playoffs which ended the Packers 2012 season. As much as I would like to think they will be able to redeem that performance, I don’t see it happening (0-1)
Week 2 September 15 vs Washington Redskins-This all depends on the health of Robert Griffin III. If he is unable to play, the Packers will get on the board with their first win. If he can play, it could pose problems for the Packers defense for the same reason they will struggle against the 49ers. The Lambeau crowd will want a win, so I’ll give them one-for now (1-1)
Week 3 Sunday September 22 at Cincinnati Bengals-another road game, but the Packers on paper are the better team. Paper champions don’t mean anything, and this game might wind up being closer than a lot of people think. The Bengals get the edge for being the home team (1-2)
Week 4 BYE Week-Don’t like the early bye week. At all.
Week 5 Sunday October 6 vs Detroit Lions-It’s the Lions. Two years ago, this game could have gone either way, when they were on the rise. Now, it is the Packers, and it won’t be close (2-2)
Week 6 Sunday October 13 at Baltimore Ravens-A trip to the defending Super Bowl champions. This will be one of the games of the year in the NFL, as the Aaron Rodgers led offense takes on a Ray Lewis-less and Ed Reed-less but still good Ravens defense. Tough call…I’ll say Packers win in a mild upset. (3-2)
Week 7 October 20 vs Cleveland Browns-There is no reason the Packers should lose this game. None at all. Even if Rodgers were to not play in this game, they should win in a walk. (4-2)
Week 8 October 27 at Minnesota Vikings-The Vikings offense got better with the addition of Greg Jennings. It already had the best running back in the league in Adrian Peterson, who torched the Packers for over 500 yards in the three games these two teams played last year. Fortunately for the Packers, Christian Ponder is still the Vikings QB. But if the Packers can’t stop Peterson…(5-2)
Week 9 November 4 vs Chicago Bears-The Bears are a team in flux in 2013. As they move away from the defense first mentality they have played with since the beginning of time, their offense got better the minute Mark Trestman was named their coach. Jay Cutler is still their quarterback, but I have a feeling Trestman is going to be able to bring out the best in him-and give the Bears a surprise win (5-3)
Week 10 November 10 vs Philadelphia Eagles-The Eagles are in rebuilding mode. Even though Chip Kelly will bring his up tempo offense to the NFL, it will not be enough to topple the Packers. This time around (6-3)
Week 11 November 17 at New York Giants-Until the Packers can prove they can stop the Giants, I cannot give them the advantage agaisnt them. They have the Packers number, and frankly, that just plain sucks. (6-4)
Week 12 November 24 vs Minnesota Vikings-Greg Jennings returns to Lambeau Field, and goes home a loser (7-4)
Week 13 November 28 at Detroit Lions-A Thanksgiving Day game equals a short turnaround week. After what will certainly be a physical game against the Vikings, the Packers will head to Detroit, head home a winner, and head into a late season second bye week following this game. (8-4)
Week 14 December 8 vs Atlanta Falcons-Much the same way that the Giants have the Packers number, the Packers have the Falcons. A Sunday Night game that the Packers will prevail in. (9-4)
Week 15 December 15 at Dallas Cowboys-The Packers begin a TOUGH three games to end the season by heading to JerryWorld for a game that will not end well for the Packers. (9-5)
Week 16 December 22 vs Pittsburgh Steelers-A rematch of Super Bowl 45, at Lambeau Field in late December. This is going to be one hell of a physical game. A tough game. A close game. If this was being played in Pittsburgh, the edge would go to the Steelers. For this game…I just have this weird feeling about this game…that it will be one of “those days” for the Packers. (9-6)
Week 17 December 29 at Chicago Bears-The Packers finish the regular season against the Bears in a game that will have playoff implications for both teams. Another classic game for the classic rivalry-and sadly, the Packers will lose this one. (9-7)
Final record: 9-7
The Packers should still make the playoffs if that winds up being their final record. 9-7 might even win the NFC North title. What the Packers do in the upcoming draft will no doubt affect what the final record will be. It just seems like there are many questions surrounding this team. While several other teams have improved by leaps and bounds since the Packers won the Super Bowl in 2010 (49ers, Seahawks) the Packers have not been able to improve at the same rate.
Thankfully, there is still the rest of the off season left to close the gap with the rest of the NFC.