The Schedule was unveiled on Thursday. And even though the draft has not yet occurred, that hasn’t stopped folks from analyzing the schedule and its level of difficulty. That historically is a useless exercise as its hard to predict how the actual strength will play out.
Unsurprisingly, the Packers have the maximum number of prime time games again this year, with five. And not coincidently, those games are some of the most highly anticipated games of the year. In particular, @ The Vikings November 25rd, @ New England November 4th and @ Seattle November 15th. The 49ers game at home on MNF October 15th could prove to be a nice matchup if Jimmy G lives up to the hype.
But lost in the shuffle is that the Packers are only scheduled for one late window Sunday afternoon game (typically 3:25 CT), which are typically a national telecast unless they are playing a west coast team on the road. That one game being October 28th at The Rams.
By comparison in 2017, the Packers had three late window games (Seattle, Cincinnati and Dallas). In 2016, they saw four late window games while in 2015 they had five (though two of those were non-national games). The late Sunday afternoon game typically receives the highest ratings of all games, even above Sunday Night Football. One has to question the NFL’s reasoning. The Packers as still one of the top draws of the league. In looking at the schedule, after the primetime games, they just don’t have many great matchups with natural rivals or a compelling story. Atlanta may be a good one, and one that was a Sunday afternoon game in 2016, but Atlanta isn’t the juiciest of matchups as far as TV is concerned anyway.
The one game that is most puzzling is the Vikings at the Packers in week two. The game of the week will be on CBS when the Patriots travel to Jacksonville in a rematch of the AFC Championship but with the venue changed. While I don’t question the Patriots-Jaguars game being nationally televised, of course, it’s hard to understand why the NFL did not make that game a late window game somewhere on the schedule. The rivalry is just too big not to. Rodgers playing against Anthony Barr and the Vikings is just too big not to.
This is subject to change and flex scheduling of course. They typically pick up a game nationally, by being moved from the early window to the late window. And even many of the early window games receive a fair amount of tv coverage as they are a good draw.
This is also somewhat disappointing because the late afternoon game is a great time slot in general. It doesn’t keep one up too late, but yet it doesn’t interfere with other pesky family activities as much either. Of course, that is just a personal preference.
In any case, for those of you who live in Wisconsin (expect extreme Northwest Wisconsin which shows Vikings games instead of Packers games if they are both the noon time slot on the same network), its much ado about nothing. But for those of us nationally, it means there will be less of the Pack on tv. In recent years, they have been on TV more often than not around the country. I would estimate 2/3rds t 3/4 of the games are in New England. Now its likely between 8-10.
On the bright side….. It means less Troy Aikman.Originally from Glidden Wisconsin, Jason Straetz is a lifelong Packers\' fan, who has lived in Maine for over 30 years. He is a writer for packerstalk.com. You can follow him on Twitter: @jsnstz