Being able to sit at home and enjoy their Week 13 bye, the Green Bay Packers have five games remaining in their regular-season slate before heading into the postseason. With all other members of the NFC North playing on Sunday, it helped clean up a few potential roadblocks in Green Bay’s way to securing the divisional title.
As the Detroit Lions were finally able to get their first win of the year, with the Minnesota Vikings their first victim, and with the Chicago Bears struggling to a loss against the Arizona Cardinals, the Packers had the best possible week of being at home in terms of inter-divisional results. While none of the other three teams were serious threats to Green Bay’s chances of winning the North, it certainly makes things easier for them.
Green Bay has a tough road to end their season, even with three of those matchups being at home. Facing each divisional opponent once more, as well as their two remaining AFC North foes, the Packers will need to continue to fight if they want to secure the top spot in the NFC.
Week 14 – Home
Coming out of the bye, the Packers play host to the Bears, who were taken to town by the Cardinals at Soldier Field. With the weather playing a big factor, the returns of both Kyler Murray and Deandre Hopkins helped keep the Bars at bay.
For the Packers, they will look to create a new winning streak with a win against Chicago on Sunday Night Football, an occasion that the Bears and Packers have frequently shared over the history of their rivalry. Rookie QB Justin Fields, who missed Sunday’s game with a rib injury, will likely be back, as Andy Dalton threw four interceptions and looked awful.
The Packers will be tasked with slowing down David Montgomery, as he continuously handles 20+ targets for the Bears on a weekly basis and is extremely efficient while doing it. Coming out of the bye, the Packers could do a lot worse than hosting the Bears, but they cannot overlook them.
Week 15 – Away
Their second-to-last away game of the regular season sees the Packers traveling to face the Baltimore Ravens. With Lamar Jackson putting up MVP-like numbers yet again, the Ravens are in the thick of things in the AFC playoff race, making this game one of the best games remaining this year.
Baltimore relies on its efficient running attack, spearheaded by Jackson and his plethora of discount-bin running backs who were forced into action after injuries at the position. They also boast a strong defense yet again under John Harbaugh, which will present this offensive line with tough battles in the trenches.
The weather will likely be cold and unpleasant in Maryland, which plays perfectly into the style the Packers want to utilize – if they can keep Jackson and the rushing attack at bay, then they have a great chance at winning this game.
Week 16 – Home
Hosting the Cleveland Browns on Christmas gives the Packers two consecutive AFC North matchups, with the latter of the two coming against a team that is failing to meet postseason expectations for this season.
Baker Mayfield has struggled to stay healthy and stay on the good side of the fan base, and with Odell Beckham Jr. not on the team anymore, the Browns are struggling to put up a feasible offensive attack, outside of their rushing attack.
Their defense is pretty solid, especially up front with Myles Garrett, which will present the Green Bay OL with another important test before the year of the year. Stopping Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt should be Joe Barry’s top priority for this game, which puts a ton of pressure on the linebacker core.
Week 17 – Home
The final home game of the year pits the Vikings against the Packers on January 2, 2022. With a postseason spot likely already locked in, the only thing that the Packers should be playing for at this time is their seeding, making this game still very important.
Playing outside of their dome may present issues for the Vikings, especially if they are still without Dalvin Cook on offense. While Kirk Cousins continues to put up underrated numbers as this team’s QB, the Vikings have remained a disappointing team this year, which likely will not have them playing for anything in Week 17.
The Vikings’ defense is not the same revered unit that it used to be, even with players like Harrison Smith and Anthony Barr still leading this unit. Minnesota always plays the Packers tough, regardless of the situation, and since they beat the Packers on a last-second field goal in Week 11, the Packers will be looking for revenge.
Week 18 – Away
In their regular-season finale, the Packers will take a short trip to Detroit to face the Lions. A dome is always a welcomed sight, but being able to play in one during the cold months of January is an added bonus, and one that Green Bay will be extremely happy about.
Jared Goff has been leading the struggle bus this year and has looked pretty bad doing it, consistently failing to lead offensive drives down the field. With D’Andre Swift having missed time (but reportedly still able to return this year), Detroit’s top offensive weapon will likely not be at full health for this game, if back at all.
As long as the Packers have taken care of everything before this game, they may not need to play any of their starters, depending on where they are in the playoff standings.
With Green Bay making their way towards the final stretch of the season, they have their own fate in their hands for how they enter the postseason – and with their schedule filled with potential traps, they cannot let off the pedal at all down the stretch (if/until they clinch the number one seed).뿓뿓뿓
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