Green Bay Packers

Can the Packers Take Advantage Of Their Early Schedule?

Photo credit: Dan Powers/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin-USA TODAY NETWORK

The Green Bay Packers open their season with a historic game in Brazil, and the team faces only two divisional games in the first 10 weeks. After a Week 10 bye, the Packers turn a corner into a challenging 11-day stretch with games against the San Francisco 49ers and Miami Dolphins at Lambeau, followed by a road game against the Detroit Lions on Thursday Night Football.

Despite some tough matchups in the first half of the schedule against the Houston Texans, Los Angeles Rams, and Detroit Lions, Green Bay has an opportunity to start the 2024 season with a solid record heading into the bye week.

The Philadelphia Eagles are one-point favorites against the Packers in their Brazil opener. Although the Eagles are technically the home team, Corinthians Arena should be filled with Packers fans, creating a Green Bay-friendly atmosphere. Philadelphia is one of the best teams in the NFC, and Vegas has set their over/under wins at 10.5. The Packers will likely need a fully healthy roster to secure a win.

Following their opener in Brazil, Green Bay will host the Indianapolis Colts and then travel to face the Tennessee Titans. The Packers should be favored in both matchups, but they must remain vigilant to avoid potential upsets. Despite having only four career starts, Anthony Richardson has shown flashes of potential when healthy. In his four starts, Richardson had just under a 60% completion percentage with seven total touchdowns. Additionally, the Colts’ defense was a top-10 unit in pass rush last year, according to PFF.

The Titans are an unpredictable team. They have a new head coach, Brian Callahan, and a second-year starter in Will Levis. Additionally, the Titans lost key players Derrick Henry and Kevin Byard in the offseason. The Packers have a better roster than the Titans and should come out of Tennessee with a win.

Green Bay will host the Minnesota Vikings in Week 4. It’s uncertain whether Sam Darnold or J.J. McCarthy will start at quarterback for the Vikings. Additionally, old friend Aaron Jones will now be wearing purple. While Minnesota lost pass rusher Danielle Hunter, they added Jonathan Greenard to their defensive line. Last season, Brian Flores’ defense shut down Jordan Love and Co. at Lambeau, so the Packers cannot take this game lightly. Although I believe Green Bay will win due to superior quarterback play, this matchup will likely be more challenging than most people expect.

Following the Vikings game, Green Bay will play the Los Angeles Rams on the road, then host the Arizona Cardinals at Lambeau Field. Matt LaFleur has a 4-0 record against Sean McVay, but all those victories came in Green Bay. Led by Matthew Stafford, the Rams will be a tough test, especially with playmakers like Cooper Kupp, Puka Nacua, and Kyren Williams. On the other hand, LA lost defensive stalwart Aaron Donald to retirement. The Rams game could go either way, but I believe the Packers will win it.

The last time Green Bay hosted Arizona, Josh Rosen led the Cardinals to a 20-17 win at Lambeau, resulting in Mike McCarthy’s dismissal following the game. While the Packers should be favorites against Arizona, they have historically struggled against mobile quarterbacks like Kyler Murray. The Cardinals game may be closely contested. However, I anticipate the Packers pulling out the win in the end.

In Week 7, the Packers will host C.J. Stroud and the Houston Texans before traveling to play the Jacksonville Jaguars. Stroud is a top-10 quarterback going into 2024. Houston further bolstered their offensive arsenal with additions like Stefon Diggs and Joe Mixon. The Texans game has all the makings of a classic showdown, and the outcome could swing either way.

Jacksonville’s rollercoaster ride during the previous season saw them plummet from an 8-3 record and the AFC’s top seed to missing the playoffs entirely in six weeks. A lackluster offense exacerbated their struggles, ranking in the bottom six, according to PFF, although it was a poor performance across all units.

The last time Green Bay visited Jacksonville, they suffered a crushing 38-3 defeat to the Saints. However, the Packers emerged victorious when they last played the Jaguars in Florida. While weather conditions could pose a challenge. Green Bay should have the edge and the capability to secure a win in Jacksonville.

In Week 9, the Packers will host the Detroit Lions before heading into their bye week. Last year, the Lions stunned the Packers with a 34-20 victory at Lambeau on Thursday Night Football. This year, the Lions are shaping up to be a top contender in the NFC. With the game taking place at Lambeau Field, the Packers must set the tone early and ensure they don’t experience a repeat of the disappointing result from 2023.

Green Bay should be favored to win against Indianapolis, Tennessee, Minnesota, Arizona, and Jacksonville. However, matchups against the Eagles, Rams, and Lions could go either way. The game against the Texans also has the potential to be closely contested, but Green Bay should hold a slight advantage due to home-field. With this outlook, the Packers could realistically finish the first half of the season with a 6-3 record at worst. However, there’s a strong possibility they could head into the bye week at 7-2 or 8-1.

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Photo credit: Dan Powers/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin-USA TODAY NETWORK

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