The 2014 NFL schedule is supposed to be released this week, which should give us something interesting to talk about in the midst of this dead time between free agency and the draft.
No schedule release in any other sport comes with the anticipation that the release of the NFL schedule comes with. Since there are only 16 games it is very easy to evaluate and decide where the soft and hard spots are. Fans also enjoy the chance to plan their Sundays in fall way in advance.
The Green Bay Packers already know their opponents for the 2014 season. It is just a matter of what order they are in. Here are the Packers’ 2014 opponents:
New England Patriots
New York Jets
New Orleans Saints
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
As you can see, the Packers play their division opponents twice, the NFC South, the AFC East and the Eagles and Seahawks. The divisions they play are rotated every season, and they play the Eagles and Seahawks because they also finished first in their divisions.
The first thing that sticks out to me are the road games in New Orleans and Seattle. Those are nearly impossible games to win, and it would take a near perfect game by the Packers to get it done. Although, the Packers essentially did win at Seattle in 2012, but you know what happened there.
The Packers cannot have any slip ups in the games they should win since those two games will be so difficult. Green Bay catches a break playing the usually awful AFC East division. Games against the Jets, Dolphins and Bills are ones they will need to take advantage of.
The NFC South is usually a tough division, but it appears it may be down in 2014 other than the Saints. The Falcons and Buccaneers appear to be rebuilding, and the Panthers have many holes for a team that was 12-4 last season.
All of this is just conjecture because the NFL is so tough to predict. Games that look easy in April end up being hard in October and the hard ones end up being easy. Although, it is pretty much impossible to see the games in New Orleans and Seattle being easy.
Here are some things to look for when the schedule comes out:
– How many prime time games are there? The Packers usually have among the most in the NFL.
– How many Thursday games are there? The Packers are guaranteed to have at least one and since they played on Thanksgiving last year it is unlikely that they will play on the holiday again. Thursday games provide a mini bye week.
– When is the bye week? Teams prefer to have their bye week late in the season. The Packers were not fans of their Week 4 bye week last season.
– Are there three games in a row at home or on the road? They are usually rare, but teams do have them.
– What is the December schedule? The Packers are usually dominant at home in December, so the more games at Lambeau Field in December the better. Also, you would like an easier schedule down the stretch when you are trying to make your playoff push.
– When is the game at Chicago? Aaron Rodgers says this is the first thing he looks for. It is preferable that this game is not in December, although the Packers did just fine in Week 17 there last season.——————