The Green Bay Packers have a number of intriguing games on tap in the 2015 season. From division rivalries and playoff rematches to west coast trips and a retirement ceremony, there is a wide range of storylines that will dictate the Packers’ season.
But while each game has some form of buildup attached to it, there are some that will be much more anticipated than others. While it is unwise to overlook any game on the schedule, there are some that will be much more interesting and challenging for the Green Bay Packers.
When looking at the Packers’ schedule, there are five games in particular that look to be the most intriguing for Green Bay. The player matchups, circumstances, and past games against the teams make these contests the most anticipated of the 2015 season.
Honorable Mention: Week 10 vs. Detroit Lions: This game has a number of implications that make it interesting. The game opens a four-game stretch against NFC North opponents. Additionally, the Lions were the only divisional foe the Packers did not sweep in 2014. It features a battle of two playoff teams from last season. Green Bay will also look to extend its home winning streak against Detroit; the Lions have not won in Wisconsin since 1991.
Number Five: Week 1 at Chicago Bears: The Packers have not won their season opener since 2011 when they defeated the New Orleans Saints. Green Bay would obviously like to reverse that trend, especially against another division rival. While the Packers swept the Bears rather easily in 2014 (winning by scores of 38-17 and 55-14), it is hard to overlook this game. The Bears brought in a new coaching staff that will look to make an early impression on its home fans, so the Packers will have to be at their best to get the season started off right.
Number Four: Week 8 at Denver Broncos: If the Broncos play like they did for the beginning of last year, this would figure to be the Packers’ most difficult road game of the season. It will be the second and likely final time that Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning play one another, so the potential for a high-scoring affair will draw interest. The Broncos also have what is arguably the best offense that Green Bay will face in 2015, so the Packers’ inconsistent defense will get a chance to prove its worth.
Number Three: Week 14 vs. Dallas Cowboys: The game against Dallas is a highly-anticipated rematch of the NFC Divisional game that featured the now-infamous Dez Bryant catch-or-no-catch. The Cowboys lost one of their biggest weapons in DeMarco Murray, but the team will still contend for the NFC East title. A December game at Lambeau Field that also happens to be a rematch of a controversial playoff game makes this contest highly anticipated.
Number Two: Week 2 vs. Seattle Seahawks: This game almost took the top spot, but the fact that it’s so early in the season takes away from a little of the drama. While it could very well impact the NFC playoff seeds, there would be a lot more drama if the game were in December. Either way, this game will be one of the biggest of the Packers’ season. It is Green Bay’s home opener against the team that sent the Packers home in the NFC Championship game in heartbreaking fashion. Seattle has owned Green Bay in recent years, but this will be the first time that the Seahawks play at Lambeau in the Russell Wilson and Pete Carroll era. A matchup in the true frozen tundra would have been ideal, but the Packers will use this game to assert their dominance in the NFC.
Number One: Week 12 vs. Chicago Bears: This game will be the number one most anticipated game on the Packers’ schedule because of how unique it will truly be. For starters, the game will be played on Thanksgiving night. While the Packers have played on Thanksgiving frequently against the Detroit Lions, this will be the first time that Green Bay hosts a Thanksgiving game since 1923. Again, this game features a matchup against a division rival, so it cannot be taken lightly. Finally, this game will feature the retirement of Brett Favre’s number four. The Packers have not retired a number since Reggie White’s 92 in 2005, and Favre will be just the sixth player in the Packers’ storied history to be given the honor. The combined elements of Favre’s ceremony, a Thanksgiving home game, and playing the Bears makes the Week 12 matchup against Chicago the most highly anticipated game of the 2015 season.——————
Sean Blashe is a Packers fan who grew up in Bears territory and is currently a journalism and history major at Marquette University. Sean is a writer with PackersTalk.com and you can follow him on twitter at @SeanBlashe .