Green Bay Packers

A Springtime Stroll Through the Pack’s Schedule

Photo credit: Mark Hoffman/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel-USA TODAY NETWORK

It’s the middle of May, and the NFL season is a whole summer away. But now that we have the “when,” we may as well set forth on a journey through the Pack’s 2024 schedule and get a feel for what a likely record could look like, should they dodge any season-altering injuries.

Their advantages: The opener against the Philadelphia Eagles in Sao Paolo removes one of the toughest road venues on the schedule and may feel more like a Green Bay Packers home game, given the Green and Gold fan base in that country.

Green Bay doesn’t have any real rest disadvantages. They face no teams coming off their bye and get a mini-bye following the Detroit Lions game in early December. Their own bye week comes smack dab in the middle of the season. They have no three-game road trips, and they get the Jacksonville Jaguars just back on home soil after two weeks in London. Overall, they ease into their schedule, with some of the most advantageous matchups coming in the first six weeks.

Their disadvantages: It’s a very tough five-game stretch coming out of the bye, starting out in Chicago, followed by four-straight prime-time games, including two on Thursday night. Thanksgiving night at Lambeau sounds great, but I was there the last time when they retired Brett Favre’s number and lost to the Chicago Bears. It wasn’t fun, and it messed with my family’s annual Thanksgiving night poker game.

Jeff Hafley’s new defense will be tested early by dual-threat quarterbacks Jalen Hurts, Anthony Richardson, Kyler Murray, and C.J. Stroud. His aggressive philosophy will be welcome, but they’ll need to keep their eyes on those guys and not get burned by their legs.

OK, let’s take a month-by-month tour through the schedule and what will probably happen.

First Quarter: The opener against the Eagles is the toughest one of the season for me to project. A brand-new defense dealing with Jalen Hurts, Saquon Barkley, A.J. Brown, and DeVonta Smith against a remade Philly secondary learning on the fly against the Pack’s talented young offense. I’ll give it to the Eagles – might come down to whoever wins the Pack’s kicking job.

They’ll rebound with three wins, though, against the Indianapolis Colts and Minnesota Vikings at home and on the road in Nashville.

First-Quarter Record: 3-1

Second Quarter: This five-game quarter will take the Packers to their bye week. It starts with a road game against the Los Angeles Rams, where the stadium will likely be two-thirds Packer fans. Despite the friendly environment, I’m thinking Matthew Stafford and his talented offense will be a little too much for the Pack.

Once again, I see them rebounding at home against the Cards and outgunning the Houston Texans the following week. As I mentioned earlier, they catch the Jaguars at a good time, jet-lagged after two weeks overseas. That’s a W.

They close the quarter with a huge late afternoon game against the Lions. Last season, the road team won each game in this series. Not this year…Packers roll into the bye on a four-game winning streak.

Second-Quarter Record: 4-1 (7-2 overall)

Third Quarter: The Pack come out of the bye and get their first look at the new-look Bears, who circled this game the moment the schedule came out. Green Bay has the rest advantage, but Chicago will be coming off a home game against the New England Patriots, the closest thing to a bye week you’ll find this side of Carolina.

We all know Matt LaFleur is a perfect 10-0 against da Bears. We also all know that the ride will end eventually. I’m saying it ends here. Chicago finally breaks through against the Pack (…be right back – need to take a shower).

Here comes the Murderer’s Row portion of the schedule, with a huge late-afternoon home game against the San Francisco 49ers and then back-to-back Thursday nights against the Miami Dolphins and Lions.

Until they show they can break through, I’ll pick San Francisco to continue their mastery – with lower stakes this time around. They provide a perfect ending to Thanksgiving Day with a win on a hopefully cold night against Tua and the Dolphins.

A week later, though, the Lions get revenge and earn a split in the season series.

Third-Quarter Record: 1-3* (8-5 overall)

Fourth Quarter: The Pack’s third-straight night game kicks off the fourth quarter with a visit to Seattle, a team that figures to be middle of the road, but that defense could be cooking under new head coach Mike McDonald. It’s the first two-game skid of the season as the Seahawks find a way to get it done. This figures to be the toughest road environment of the season outside of Motown.

A December game under the lights against the New Orleans Saints is the perfect way to turn things around. It springboards the Pack to three consecutive wins to close the season, with division wins at Minnesota and home against the Bears to close out the regular season.

Fourth-Quarter Record: 3-1 (11-6 overall)

An 11- or 12-win season should have them in the conversation for their first division title in three years and stamp them as a top-three or four contender in the NFC. Sounds good in May. I’m counting on Hafley and his young, athletic defense to look nothing like what we’ve seen the last few years and on Jordan Love and the emerging offense taking things to the next level.

Vegas has the Packers’ win total at nine and a half. Give me the over.

*An earlier version misstated Green Bay’s projected third-quarter record. We regret the error.

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