Green Bay Faces Toughest Schedule in 2018

After finishing with a 7-9 record in the 2017 season, the Green Bay Packers entered the offseason with a flurry of changes. From replacing both coordinators and countless position coaches to ushering in a new regime at General Manager with Brian Gutekunst, the Packers told the world they would not stand to disappoint again.

The 7-9 record, as we all know, came with Brett Hundley at the helm for most games with Aaron Rodgers dealing with another serious injury. Even with facing a decently-strengthened schedule, the team was unable to put together any sort of momentum and struggled through the season.

In 2017, the team had the 18th-toughest schedule, sandwiched in between the Los Angeles Rams (17th) and division counterpart Chicago Bears (19th). The .480 winning percentage the squad faced is not comparable to the schedule that the team must face this year.

For the 2018-2019 season, Green Bay has the toughest-ranked strength of schedule, according to a CBS article. The dates and times for the official schedule have not been released yet. This article will help provide an outlook for the season and what fans can expect for the team’s performance this upcoming year.

Home games

Just like every year, Green Bay hosts division rivals Chicago, Detroit and Minnesota during the season. Last season, the Packers only recorded two divisional victories, as the team swept the Bears but lost both to the Lions and Vikings.

The amount of turnover in the coaching ranks of the NFC North will make this upcoming season interesting, as both Chicago and Detroit welcome in new head coaches and coaching staffs. The Vikings brought in John DeFilippo as their new Offensive Coordinator, who previously was the QB coach for the Philadelphia Eagles.

The amount of flux within both the coaching ranks and players for Green Bay’s division foes could bode well for the team, and I see GB winning both games against Chicago and then one each from both Detroit and Minnesota with a chance to steal all six.

Filling out the rest of the home schedule, the Packers will welcome the Cardinals, 49ers, Falcons, Bills, and Dolphins to Lambeau Field. Of these teams, only the Falcons and the Bills made the playoffs last year, which means the home schedule is favorable.

For the home schedule, Green Bay has a favorable chance against a currently QB-less Arizona, the new-look 49ers with wunderkind Jimmy Garoppolo at the helm, the always unpredictable Dolphins. The team has a good chance against Buffalo, but their QB situation is still up in the air with Tyrod Taylor potentially not returning, so the odds of victory for the Packers rest of that.

For Atlanta, the 10-6 team from 2017 brings back the majority of its core that brought them to within two wins of the Super Bowl. This game, provided everyone is mostly healthy, could determine the year’s playoff picture. I say Atlanta comes into Green Bay and escapes with a three-point victory.

Away games

Outside of traveling for divisional contests, this is the hardest part of Green Bay’s schedule. The team has to travel to face the Rams, Seahawks, Redskins, Patriots, and Jets during the season. None of these games really have a ‘cakewalk’ label to them, making the away docket one of the more difficult in recent memory.

Besides Minnesota, only LA and New England made the playoffs last season. The part that makes this part of the schedule this challenging is that besides the Bears and the Jets, every team either made the playoffs or was in contention all the way to the end of the season.

Seattle and Detroit both finished 9-7 and Washington earned a 7-9 record, but the NFC’s sixth seed from last year (Atlanta) finished at 10-6, so both the Seahawks and Lions were one game behind the final playoff seed.

Looking at the away schedule, Green Bay will be asked to go into many hostile environments and prove that they are who we think they are. On the year, I see the Packers dropping a game to each of Detroit, Minnesota, New England and Seattle, as we have not had much luck lately in Seattle.

Overall, I see this team (as it currently is) around 11-12 wins on the year, provided it stays healthy and meshes well with the new coaching staff. Let me know in the comments how you feel the team is going to do this upcoming season, and which games are going to potentially trip up the Packers on their road back to the playoffs!

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Mike Johrendt has been an avid fan of the Packers ever since he can remember. He is now a writer at PackersTalk and you can follow him on Twitter at @MJohrendt23

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