Football is back TODAY, and man does it feel good. The Packers march to the Superbowl begins in earnest this Sunday. The recipe for a strong regular season calls for the Packers superstars staying healthy, some new faces breaking out and a little luck (and perhaps some special teams improvement, but we won’t get greedy). Let’s have a look at some win-loss predictions for the first half of the 2021 Green Bay Packers regular season.
Week 1 Packers @ Saints: I wrote a preview of this week one matchup for the Packers last week, and my tune hasn’t changed much. If the Packers limit the damage done by Alvin Kamara, it will be tough for the Saints to win. The Saints have a strong defense and a top offensive line unit which could give the Packers some trouble on both sides of the ball, but the Packers offense is just too good to lose this game.
Packers win, 1-0
Week 2 Packers vs. Lions: After losing four straight to the lowly Lions in the 2017 and 2018 seasons, the Packers have again asserted themselves as the masters of the Motor City kitties. The Lions have shipped off longtime QB Matthew Stafford to the LA Rams in return for a haul of draft picks and cast-off QB Jared Goff. The Lions are almost entirely devoid of offensive weapons. This one should be a blowout, but the Packers have made it a habit to play down to their competition, particularly the Lions. The Packers will keep things rolling at home with a W.
Packers win, 2-0
Week 3 Packers @ 49ers: The Packers will have a great opportunity to exorcise some demons in this road tilt with the Niners. Conversely the 49ers will be anxious to prove they are healthy and still a force to be reckoned with in the NFC. The Niners front seven will undoubtedly test the Packers new look O-line. How the o-line fares will go a long way to deciding if the Packers win this game. Packer killer Raheem Mostert is still employed by the Niners and has no doubt circled this game on his calendar as well. I think the teams will exchange blows and the last team to possess the ball will win, unfortunately it won’t be the Packers, again.
Packers lose, 2-1
Week 4 Packers vs. Steelers: The 2020 Steelers were proved to be pretenders and pantsed in the playoffs by Baker Mayfield’s Browns despite their 12-4 regular season record. It remains to be seen if Ben Roethlisberger is still an asset in the passing game, but the Steelers do have a solid stable of receivers in Ju-Ju Smith-Schuster, Chase Claypool and Diontae Johnson. The Steelers will no doubt lean on rookie RB Najee Harris as well. The Steelers had a mass exodus along the offensive line this off-season and that may be the area where the Packers feast. The Packers have considerable advantages in QB play, offensive weaponry and offensive line play. I think this will be a convincing win against a 2020 playoff team.
Packers win, 3-1
Week 5 Packers @ Bengals: The Bengals are going to be a playoff team…someday soon, but not in 2021. Joe Burrow had the looks of a future star last season before shredding his knee, but early reports this pre-season have questioned if he was rushed back from the injured list. Tee Higgins was another rookie standout for the Bengals at wide receiver, and they added to that strength with the addition of first round pick Ja’Marr Chase. Joe Mixon is a between the tackles bruiser at RB but not necessarily someone that will run away from you. Much like the Steelers, the Bengals o-line is suspect and the Packers pass rush should have ample opportunity to tee-off. Pray for Joe. I’m actually excited to see this game, I think Burrow has a bright future in the league but it ain’t happening in week 5.
Packers win, 4-1
Week 6 Packers @ Bears: The big question for the first matchup with the Bears is who will be under center? Will Matt Nagy and Ryan Pace continue to pretend that Andy Dalton gives them the best chance to win or will they unleash rookie Justin Fields? In reality I think the Packers win in either scenario. If Dalton is still the starting QB that probably means the Bears have won a few games and the front office thinks Dalton could lead them to a wild card spot. If Fields gets the start (maybe his first?), it means the Bears have likely thrown in the towel. The Packers have laid an occasional egg at Soldier field, but I think they’ll win this one by 10+.
Packers win, 5-1
Week 7 Packers vs WFT: I like the Washington Football Team quite a bit, and I think they will provide another strong test for the Packers. Ryan Fitzpatrick assumes his recurring role in “always a bridesmaid, never a bride”, bringing solid yet unspectacular QB play for the 35th year in a row. The WFT boasts a sneaky offensive attack bolstered by running back Antonion Gibson. The Football Team’s aerial game features the perennially underrated Terry McLaurin and newcomer Curtis Samuel. This WFT is eerily similar to the 2019 Niners, they’re going to play extremely stout defense, get to the QB consistently and hope that their offense does just enough to win games. This is another coin flip game for the Pack, but home field advantage wins out in this one.
Packers win, 6-1
Week 8 Packers @ Cardinals: When you watch Kyler Murray you can’t help but make some comparisons to Mike Vick. I’m not sure I’ve seen a quarterback with the suddenness and agility Murray exhibits in the running game since Vick was running wild against the Packers. The Cardinals front office has tried to put some weapons around Murray, but the only one that really needs accounting for is DeAndre Hopkins. The Cardinals defense features some real playmakers in Chandler Jones, Budda Baker and the newly acquired JJ Watt. The Packers have been snakebitten against the Cardinals, especially in the desert. I cringe thinking about the Packers defense trying to chase down Kyler Murray in the fourth quarter. I think this game will be another high scoring affair, but I think the Cardinals will steal one on their home turf.
Packers lose, 6-2
The NFL is a parity-filled league, and because of that it’s difficult to make predictions. Those who should be good, and those who are good are rarely the same at the beginning and end of the season. The Packers look to have a relatively difficult schedule on paper, but things always change once the season gets rolling. What we do know is that if the Packers stay healthy they are going to win a lot of games. Next week we’ll tackle a tough stretch of games in the middle of the second half of the regular season for the Packers. Enjoy NFL football and GO PACK GO!
You can follow Adam on twitter at @adamjcarlson28.