Ladies and gentlemen, with the announcement of the 2017 NFL regular season schedule, we are one step closer to having something “productive” to do on Sunday afternoons. The NFL is close to entering its 98th season in operation, and so far, things are looking to be more exciting than last year, there are so many great matchups that are set for this year. We will see a Super Bowl LI rematch, hopefully no one blows a 25 point lead in this one, and we will also be able to witness both Conference Championship games played once more, among many more exciting games all throughout the 98th installment of NFL football. For our Packers, there are a lot of intriguing matchups this year than we have seen in years past. We are playing many teams who are considered to be among the NFL’s elite, as well as playing some teams that are up and coming, and are ready for play with the “big boys” once more. So let’s break these games down, shall we?
*Start time and broadcast may shift due to NFL flexible scheduling
Week 1: Packers vs Seattle, September 10th, 3:25 p.m., FOX
For the first time since 2012, the Packers will open up the regular season at home. In what should be considered the game of the week to kick off the season, we will see a heavyweight showdown between two juggernauts in the NFC. Seattle will be looking for revenge after the Pack embarrassed Seattle in last year’s matchup, 38-10. Oh and this will also be Eddie Lacy’s return to Lambeau Field since signing with Seattle a few weeks ago. Having this type of game to kick off the season is great for the Packers, as they tend to start off the season a little slow, only winning two of the last five season openers. However, I give the Packers the opening weekend win over the Seahawks in a thriller, 31-28.
Week 2: Packers @ Atlanta, September 17th, 7:25 p.m., NBC
For the second straight season, the Packers will play on Sunday Night Football, Week 2, against a team who is debuting in a new stadium. Not only that, this is the NFC Championship Game rematch, duh. However, this game will be much more like their regular season matchup from last year. Expect the same amount of offense from both teams, as long as Aaron Rodgers and Matt Ryan lead the way for their respective teams. The Pack will also have a chip on their shoulder after being dismantled in the NFC title game, however, as much as I’d love to give the Packers the dub in Atlanta, I think the atmosphere and Atlanta’s deadly offense versus our mediocre defense, will be too much in the end. Atlanta 35-31.
Week 3: Packers vs Cincinnati, September 24th, 3:25 p.m., CBS
Fun fact, Aaron Rodgers has beaten every team in the NFL, besides the Packers, obviously, and the Bengals. In two matchups vs the Bengals when Rodgers is starting quarterback, the Packers have lost 31-24 in 2009, and 34-30 in 2013. With the Bengals on the downfall as of late, the Packers should be able to pick up a comfortable win. Packers 34-20.
Week 4: Packers vs Chicago, September 28th, 7:25 p.m., CBS/NFL Network
For the second straight year, the Packers and Bears renew their rivalry in Lambeau Field on Thursday Night Football. With a lot of questions and holes to fill in Chicago, especially at some important positions, the Packers get another easy win at home. Packers 27-13.
Week 5: Packers @ Dallas, October 8th, 3:25 p.m.*, FOX
To start October, the Pack will travel to Jerry’s World and face the Cowboys, led by the 2016 Rookie standouts, Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott. With a lot less on the line, Dak and Zeke will be able to play much like they did in their regular season matchup last season. While we probably won’t see another throw like what Rodgers had in the closing moments in their Divisional round showdown, this will still be a great game to watch. It will be very close throughout the whole game, but with the Cowboys great backfield, they will be able to keep Rodgers and co. off the field just enough to escape with a win. Cowboys 27-23.
Week 6: Packers @ Minnesota, October 15th, Noon*, FOX
The first match up between NFC North rivals will take place at the home of Super Bowl LII, US Bank Stadium. With uncertainty at the quarterback position and the departure of star running back, Adrian Peterson, the Vikings lack the offensive star power to keep up with the Packers. Minnesota’s stout defense will keep it close, but the atmosphere in Minnesota won’t be as strong as it was a year ago. Packers 24-17.
Week 7: Packers vs New Orleans, October 22nd, Noon*, FOX
In what could possibly be the last time ever, two great quarterbacks, Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees, will face off. Games between these two teams have always been entertaining, and this one won’t be any different. There is star power all around in this one, and a lot of points will be put on the board by both teams, like games past. The team to have the ball last will win this one, and the Pack will have the ball last. Packers win on a clutch field goal by Crosby, 37-35.
Week 8: Bye Week
Not much to say here besides this is a great week to get a bye. Many Packers players have shown their gratitude for the midseason bye, like Ha-Ha Clinton Dix and Damarious Randall. Packers will be able to rest up, get healthy, and contend for home field advantage as the season starts to wind down.
Week 9: Packers vs Detroit, November 6th, 7:30 p.m., ESPN
The Packers kick off the second half of their season on primetime against an NFC North rival in the Detroit Lions. With the added rest, the Packers will come out hot, firing on all cylinders. But the Lions are up and coming, and they aren’t your Motor City Kitties anymore. Stafford has shown that he can hang with the big boys, and the Lions have made up for the shocking departure of Calvin Johnson a few years ago. The defense for Detroit also has improved, led by Ziggy Ansah and Darius Slay. This game will be closer than most expect, but Rodgers is always dominant at home vs Detroit, and that will be the case once again. Packers 28-24.
Week 10: Packers @ Chicago, November 12th, Noon*, FOX
Much like their early season matchup, it won’t be much of a contest, however, the Bears always make in interesting when the Packers come to town. As seen last year when the Packers blew a double digit lead late in the game, but would escape with a win. The Bears keep it somewhat close, but not close enough. Packers 31-20.
Week 11: Packers vs Baltimore, November 19th, Noon*, CBS
The Ravens are always an on and off team. Almost winning the division last year, but going just 5-11 in their 2015 campaign. This one is hard to predict, but because of that inconsistency, the Ravens will leave Lambeau Field with a loss, and the Packers will continue their winning streak. Packers 28-17.
Week 12: Packers @ Steelers, November 26th, 7:25 p.m.*, NBC
For the first time since Super Bowl XLV, Aaron Rodgers will face the Steelers, he was injured the last time these two teams faced in 2013. The Packers face a tough test in the Steelers who made it to the AFC Championship game last year. Their deadly offense, led by Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell, and Antonio Brown, will shred the Packers defense, but the Steelers defense is not much better than Green Bay’s. Much like the Dallas game, the ability to chew clock and keep Aaron Rodgers off the field will be the reason the Packers lose. Both teams will score a lot, but the Packers won’t have enough time to get the win. Steelers 34-28.
Week 13: Packers vs Tampa Bay, December 3rd, Noon*, FOX
Nothing better than a warm weather team coming to the Frozen Tundra late in the season. As recent memory tells us, these teams struggle mightily, and even though the Buccaneers are on the rise, the weather, Aaron Rodgers, and the crowd and Lambeau will be too much. Packers 31-13.
Week 14: Packers @ Cleveland, December 10th, Noon*, FOX
On paper this game looks to be a sure blowout. However, no team can be taken lightly, and anything is possible in the NFL. Look at the Packers vs Chiefs game from 2011 as an example. They were the 1 in 15 and 1, intended pun for all of my wrestling fans out there. While a Browns win is highly unlikely, it’s not out of the question, but the Packers win comfortably, 31-10.
Week 15: Packers @ Carolina, December 17th, Noon*, FOX
This is the time of year we start looking at how teams can clinch playoff berths, divisions, first round byes, and home field advantage. We also start looking at matchups that can decide divisions. While this isn’t a divisional game, this game could prove to be important for possible playoff tiebreakers. The Panthers has a very disappointing season after reaching the Super Bowl for the second time in franchise history. The Panthers will look to bounce back in 2017, and I think they will. While it may be hard to contend with Atlanta, the Panthers still have a chance to make it in as a wild card. Because of that, the Panthers will be playing with all their might, keeping this game very close. Unfortunately for Cam Newton and co. the Packers will squeak out a win and potentially lock up a playoff spot. Packers 28-24.
Week 16: Packers vs Minnesota, December 23rd, 7:30 p.m., NBC
For the second year in a row, kind of a theme here isn’t it? The Packers and Vikings will play on a Saturday in week 16. Similar to week six, the Vikings offense is no match for the Packers offense. The only reason the game will be close will be because of Minnesota’s defense. Packers 21-13.
Week 17: Packers @ Detroit, December 31st, Noon*, FOX
The 2017 regular season will wrap up with another possible NFC North winner take all matchup between Green Bay and Detroit. By this time however, the Packers may have locked up the division and potentially even more. If that is the case, the Packers might rest starters, for sake of predictions, let’s assume they won’t rest starters. The Lions have a better chance of taking this one from Green Bay, as the Pack tend to struggle at Ford Field more often than not. Lions take this one to end the regular season, 24-20.
With Detroit’s week 17 win, they will be able to sneak into the playoffs as a six seed. With a predicted 12-4 record, the Packers will have enough for a first round bye, capturing the second seed in the NFC. Overall, this will be another dominating season for Aaron Rodgers. With everyone healthy, a very improved Tight End corps, and potential defensive draft picks, the Pack have a very real possibility to play for and win the Lombardi Trophy this season.