Two Saturdays ago we took an adventure into a (hopefully) post-quarantine world to take a look at the Packers home schedule. There’s nothing quite like attending a game at Lambeau. The next best thing would be attending a road game, maybe.
I have only been fortunate enough to attend one road game. And boy was it a doozy. It was in January of 1996. The Packers were facing the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC Championship game. I was almost 8 years old in enemy territory. I was decked out in Packers gear head to toe. When we entered the stadium, I was a target for those diabolical, star clad, cowboy hat-wearing jerks. I mean, who yells things like “look at that little, stinky f&*%in cheese head” at a seven-year-old. Assholes. That’s who. But it was fun, even though the Packers lost. I got to see Reggie sack Aikman and Deion Sanders cover Robert Brooks. Classic.
I’m not sure what this season will bring. I don’t know if I’ll be able to pull away from kids or work to head to an opposing team’s stadium to cheer on the Packers in a venue other than Lambeau for the first time in 24 years. Or, if I’ll only be able to hear the “Go Pack Go” chants through my television screen.
Once again, I’m going to take the divisional games out of the mix. They’re always the most fun to watch and (I would assume) attend. That leaves us with five road games. Like the home games, here’s are how I rank them, based only on my excitement for them.
5. Indianapolis Colts: Oh man, how fun this one would have been in years past. But unfortunately, a power-house matchup between perianal playoff teams is no longer the case. Manning is LONG gone and Luck is more recently gone. The Colts brought in Phillip Rivers this offseason which provides an interesting QB battle. There are really no other names on the Colts that move the needle for me. With the Packers and Colts being two historic franchises, you’d think there would be more history, more of a rivalry. But there’s not. Which is why this ranks last on the excitement meter for 2020 away games.
4. Houston Texans: What in the actual hell are the Texans doing this off-season? Trading Deandre Hopkins for basically peanuts and bringing in Brandin Cooks is a wild move. Especially considering their young Pro Bowl QB could use all the weapons possible. That being said the Texans are a fun team. Deshaun Watson is a part of the new class of QBs that are taking over the league. There are also some fun Packers/Wisconsin ties. Any game against a Watt brother will always bring some great what-if storylines and this will mark the second season facing Randell Cobb.
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: This would have been last. This should have been last. Then TB12 turned Tampa Bay into Tompa Bay and it rocketed up the list. Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers have only faced off twice in their careers. Their record, 1-1. This will likely be the last time they take the same field unless there’s an unlikely playoff matchup. Outside of the QBs, the Bucs roster is pretty intriguing. It’s like a 2014 all-star lineup on their defense with Ndamukong Suh and Jason Pierre-Paul. There is actually a lot of history with Tampa Bay as well. For those of us over thirty, we remember the creamsicle uniforms and the NFC Central battle of the bays. My parents would always go to Tampa for a fall vacation and watch the Packers vs. Bucs. They left me home. And I never forget it. Maybe this will be the year I finally go?
2. New Orleans Saints: Number 2 and 3 are interchangeable. Hall of fame QB match-up (that may never happen in the regular season again), NFC South opponent. But this game has much more playoff implications. Now, I understand, all Tom Brady does is win. But Tom, you’re not in New England anymore. I don’t think the Bucs are a playoff contender. The Saints, on the other hand, are always a playoff contender. The Packers will have their hands full with Michael Thomas, Emmunal Sanders and Alvin Kamara. I’m betting this is going to be a high-flying, high-scoring affair that will come down to the last possession. A possession that could determine playoff fate. Plus, New Orleans is just a fun town to visit.
1. San Francisco 49ers: Why the hell do we always play these guys on the road? It sucks. Just once I want to see them in Lambeau and avenge the regular season and NFC Championship game debacle. I mean, it has to be an anomaly to play the same team three times in 12 months and have ALL of the games be on the road. But we have to all agree, this is the game that everyone has starred on the 2020 away schedule. An NFC Championship game rematch at the Big Blue Jean in Santa Clara. Another Aaron Rodgers and Devonte Adams homecoming, another La Fleur brother rematch, hopefully, a different result.
Sound off in the comments. Do you plan to attend any away games this year? Which ones are you most excited for?
——————Nick Meisner was baptized in a church of green and gold clad parishioners and grew up in the literal shadows of Lambeau Field. Needless to say, he has been a Packers fan for life. He writes for PackersTalk.com when his wife and two daughters are asleep and with a Miller Lite within arms reach. You can follow Nick on twitter at @nicmeis.