Green Bay Packers

Here’s How the 2023 Packers Season Will Unfold

Photo Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The season is finally here, ending a long, tumultuous offseason. First, we waited for the Green Bay Packers to unload Aaron Rodgers. Then, we waited to get a glimpse of Jordan Love taking the reins during training camp and in preseason games.

To say it’s a new era of Packers football is the understatement of the year. They boast the youngest team in the league and welcome 11 drafted rookies and another four undrafted first-year players to the roster.  Growing pains? Yeah, there will be some of that, for sure.

If this team played in the talent-laden AFC, this would feel like a rebuilding year. But there is a very real chance this team can compete in the mediocre, unproven NFC North, where all four teams have their share of warts. The season may come down to the unproven right leg of rookie kicker Anders Carlson, with a handful of tight games likely determined by his accuracy and nerves.

Let’s take a journey through the schedule and try to determine where their fortunes may lie. I kind of feel like they’ll find themselves at not a fork in the road but more of a trident. You could make a case for three scenarios:

  1. Love and the team falls flat on its face, cannot close out fourth quarters, and they’re a six- or seven-win operation.
  2. The team shows some spunk, and thanks to a soft early schedule, they manage to hover around .500 and just miss out on the division title.
  3. Love proves more than ready, the defense finally puts it all together, and the Pack reclaims the North.

Here’s how I see things playing out:

Week 1 @ Chicago

You couldn’t ask for a bigger stage for Love’s starting debut — on the road against the team’s most hated rival. The Chicago Bears believe the pendulum will finally swing the other way in ‘23, beginning this Sunday. Not so fast. Their offensive line is still a work in progress, and the defense still has holes, especially in the secondary.

Justin Fields will win a few battles with his legs, but the Packers win the war: 1-0

Week 2 @ Atlanta

The Pack will find it tough to rebound after a big emotional division win against an improved Atlanta Falcons team that spent a ton of money to rebuild its defense. It’s never easy to open with two straight road games.

Asking a young team to win them both is too much for this squad: 1-1

Week 3 vs. New Orleans

The New Orleans Saints seem to have a clear path to an NFC South title, with the other three teams relying on unproven QBs and with the league’s easiest schedule. Their defense is strong, and Derek Carr should improve the offense, which will be without Alvin Kamara.

Jamal Williams will get the lion’s share of carries and may do a Lambeau Leap, but Love and the Pack take care of business in the home opener: 2-1

Week 4 vs. Detroit

This is one of the toughest games to project. The Detroit Lions have given the Pack fits lately, and now they appear to actually be talented. But home teams have a distinct advantage in Thursday night games.

I have a feeling Love makes a primetime statement: 3-1

Week 5 @ Las Vegas

The Las Vegas Raiders are a mess and figure to be contenders for a top pick in next year’s draft. This will feel like a home game for the Pack.

They will make Davante Adams wish he could fly home with them after the game: 4-1

Yes, I realize a 4-1 record at the bye is a dream scenario, but the schedule gives them that opportunity — the Lions game is the swing game here.

Week 7 @ Denver

It’s so hard to know what Sean Payton’s Denver Broncos will look like this season. Is Russell Wilson cooked, or will Mr. Unlimited take off with his new offense? The Packers get a big edge with a bye week to prepare, while the Broncos will be coming off a Sunday night loss in Kansas City.

That’s enough for Green Bay to get the dub: 5-1

Week 8 vs. Minnesota

Here come the Minnesota Vikings, who figure to come back to earth a bit this season after winning every close game a year ago. Minnesota’s passing game will be elite, but the running attack will be pedestrian. And Brian Flores is very good but not a miracle worker.

The Pack’s passing attack will work over the corners, which is starting to hit its stride: 6-1

Week 9 vs. Rams

On paper, this is the easiest game on the schedule. The Los Angeles Rams appear poised for a complete reset. LA could challenge their NFC West mates, the Arizona Cardinals, in the Caleb Williams sweepstakes.

The Packers start the year 7-1 and are the talk of the NFL

Week 10 @ Pittsburgh

The inevitable crash back to earth begins in a city Green Bay hasn’t won in since 1970.

I’m all in on the Kenny Pickett hype, and I think the Steelers are a playoff team this year: 7-2

Week 11 vs. LA Chargers

Justin Herbert and Co. have too many weapons. If LA’s offensive line finally stays healthy, Herbert could find himself in the MVP conversation.

Their defense is also rock solid, and Love and Co. can’t get things done: 7-3

Week 12 @ Detroit

Detroit earns the split in the series on Thanksgiving Day, where they typically shine.

This one could get ugly: 7-4

Week 13 vs. Kansas City

The skid hits four as the Super Bowl champs are just too much for the Pack on a Sunday night at Lambeau.

Look for a fun, high-scoring affair, with the MVP outdueling Love: 7-5

Week 14 @ NY Giants

7-1 seems like a lifetime ago as the New York Giants hand the Pack their fifth straight loss. Daniel Jones picks up where he left off in London.

While the G-men find it hard to replicate their 2022 success, they take care of business here: 7-6

Week 15 vs. Tampa Bay

A rebuilding Florida team comes to Lambeau in mid-December with either Baker Mayfield or Kyle Trask at the help.

Losing streak finally over: 8-6

Week 16 @ Carolina

This becomes a huge game with two division games left and ten wins and a division title within the Pack’s grasp. But Bryce Young has settled in, and Green Bay finds itself thinking about New Year’s Eve at the Bank.

The Carolina Panthers spring a slight Christmas Eve surprise: 8-7

Week 17 @ Minnesota

It would be nice if this game doesn’t get flexed because it would mean both teams are in the thick of things in the North.

No matter when they kickoff, the Skol chants will be plentiful, and the Vikes will earn the split: 8-8

Week 18 vs. Chicago

It’ll be 2024 when the Packers play Chicago again, but some things never change. The Pack will close out the season the way they opened it: with a win over the Bears. They finish their first season with Jordan Love in charge at 9-8, which leaves them just short of a division crown but may allow them to sneak into the playoffs as the last wild-card team.

2023 will be a roller coaster, a young team relying on unproven pass catchers, defensive linemen, and a rookie kicker. But most importantly, it will be a season where we see enough from Jordan Love to believe he can lead this franchise for years.

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