Greetings and Salutations...
I'm back, but not with draft stuff. I saw the Packers' schedule, and believe it or not, I feel better about this year's schedule than I have for the past few seasons. Here's how I think it'll shake out (an optimistic perspective.) Sound off with predictions of your own! (Note: Some of the text in my predictions is also based off my last mock draft, which you can see in my previous FanPost. Note on note: Some of my predictions are rather specific, but most of them are applicable regardless of specific circumstances. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, don't worry; neither do I.)
Week 1: @Seattle Seahawks
This is obviously a huge game. Opening night versus the defending Super Bowl champs, and the rematch of... well, I won't get into it. The GIFs will be even more ubiquitous than they are right now, and we'll probably have to deal with some Golden Tate jabs, even though he's no longer a Seahawk. Obviously, CenturyLink will be loud as ever, and the Legion of Boom will be eager to prove that they're not going to suffer a Super Bowl hangover. I have a weird feeling about this one, though; Eddie Lacy runs through the front seven and then Rodgers goes over the top on play action. The Packers win a close one, 23-17.
Week 2: New York Jets
The Pack come back to town with a head full of steam and a long week to prepare for middling New York. This could certainly be a trap game, but I have a friend who's a diehard Jets fan, and he's already preparing for a blowout. The Jets' D stymies Aaron Rodgers early, and Dee Milliner makes an impressive interception. But Geno Smith can't move the ball, and Jets fans want Smith's head (and Mike Vick on the field) by halftime. Green Bay pulls away in the second half with a pick-six on Vick and a Rodgers-to-Nelson TD. Also, Lacy goes for over a hundred yards. It's a win, 31-13.
Week 3: @Detroit Lions
The memories of last year's Thanksgiving... debacle... will not be quickly erased. Matt Stafford and the Lions are a force to be reckoned with, especially early in the season. This one's a surprising blowout, however; Randall Cobb has a rushing and receiving touchdown, and Martavis Bryant gets his first hundred yards in a Packers uniform; although Calvin Johnson goes for a buck twenty, Stafford's 3 INTS are hard to recover from. Packers prevail, 38-21.
Week 4: @Chicago Bears
Back-to-back divisional road games? That isn't an easy task, regardless of who the two teams are. When neither is the Vikings, well, it just gets harder. Something tells me the Packers finally slip, and Alshon Jeffery runs wild on Tramon Williams, although Sam Shields contains Brandon Marshall. The Packers try to come back late, but it isn't enough. Bears take it, 28-20.
Week 5: Minnesota Vikings
The Packers complete their first slate of divisional games by taking on the Vikings in Lambeau on "Thursday Night Football." This game is already being penciled in as a potential date for Brett Favre's jersey retirement, and the Pack show him which of his former teams is the better one, while simultaneously releasing some pent-up anger over the previous week. Eddie Lacy outrushes Adrian Peterson, by the way. The scoreboard doesn't really reveal how much of a blowout this game is. Packers, 34-21.
Week 6: @Miami Dolphins
As Vic has said before, Miami poses a challenge to the Packers. Not only may they be the most underrated team in the NFL, it's going to be humid in South Florida. At the same time, I think the Packers defense has its most impressive performance yet, shutting down Ryan Tannehill and snuffing out... Lamar Miller? Green Bay, 27-9.
Week 7: Carolina Panthers
This starts a pair of matchups versus last year's NFC South champ and runner-up. The Packers survive a mobile QB in Russell Wilson versus the Seahawks, and they pressure the Vikings' Johnny Manziel into committing turnovers, but I think they meet a test in Cam Newton. Both teams put up plenty of points (always assume alliteration) in the first-half, and it becomes a defensive struggle late. Luke Kuechly's bunch plays that game better than C.J. Mosley's, however, though not by a lot. It's Carolina, 28-24.
Week 8: @New Orleans Saints
This is the Packers' last game before the bye, and it's a memorable one. Brees and Graham versus Rodgers and his arsenal, all in a temperature-controlled dome. There's no shortage of points here, and the Packers give up their their first thirty-point defensive effort of the season. Eddie Lacy makes all the difference, however, and Jimmie Ward seals the game with a late pick. Green Bay, 38-30.
Week 9: BYE
The bye comes into Green Bay with a vengeance, but Mike McCarthy is undefeated in bye weeks (unfortunately, the same can't be said for the infamous Mike Sherman, who once lost to the bye in a series of events that cannot be described.) Unfortunately, he's never won during a bye, either, so the Pack can't add one more win to their record just yet. A close zero-zero slugfest, although the Packers win in a way; Green Bay gets healthy again.
Week 10: Chicago Bears
Both Chicago and Green Bay come out of their bye weeks, so we'll see (fairly) well-rested teams on SNF (back-to-back SNF games for us.) Green Bay is champing at the bit to face the former Monsters of the Midway; the last time the Packers didn't win the first game of the season series was in 2010-11 (coincidence or fate?) and a sweep would be... well, ask Chicago fans how they feel about the Packers right now, and then double that. Eddie Lacy does what he did against the Bears in Lambeau last year- except this time, he has Aaron Rodgers there to help him. Jay Cutler has Jay Cutler moments- Tramon, Sam and Morgan Burnett all end up with picks. Packers, 28-17.
Week 11: Philadelphia Eagles: The Eagles were good this past year, and they come into Green Bay fully ready to take on the weather- it'll be getting cold around now. Something tells me Eddie Lacy runs better in sub-freezing weather than LeSean McCoy, though; in a particularly cold matchup, neither QB can sling it, and an outstanding effort from the Pack's front seven gets the job done, including multi-sack games from Matthews and Perry. (Peppers gets a positive grade from PFF, and PPF thinks he's okay , too.) Packers, 24-20.
Week 12: @Minnesota Vikings: The Packers no longer have to play at the misery of a football stadium that is the Metrodome. Not only is it lacking in quality compared to other venues across the league, the Packers have historically had trouble there (excluding last season, of course.) It's cold weather, Rodgers versus Manziel, Lacy versus AP, our defense versus theirs. Johnny Manziel starts off hot, but a pick from Morgan Burnett brings the Pack back. This one is a tightly contested matchup to the end. Aaron Rodgers leads us to a win on a field-goal drive we didn't think we'd need. A win is a win is a win is a win. Green Bay, 26-23.
Week 13: Patriots: The Rodgers-Brady matchup might be the most anticipated QB-to-QB matchup other than Rodgers-Brees and Brady-Manning. One of the league's greatest quarterbacks of all time faces a superstar firmly in his prime. In the cold, the duel that everyone hopes for never materializes; rather, Mike McCarthy is content with letting Lacy, Starks and Johnathan Franklin wear down Vince Wilfork and the Pats' D-line. Unfortunately for Bill Belichick, New England can't return the favor. Packers, 27-20.
Week 14: Falcons: Packers and Falcons on Monday Night Football evokes thoughts of Julio Jones and Roddy White and Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson and lots of exciting highlights. Again, it's December in Lambeau, and the Falcons are a dome team. As they showed last year, however, Green Bay can run it in this weather. Once again, they do, and they're on a six-game win streak. Green Bay, 26-13.
Record: 11-2 (Clinched NFCN)
Week 15: @Buffalo Bills: With the NFC North clinched and the first seed in sight, the Packers are in a great situation heading into New York State. This is a very close game; with a ten-point lead at halftime, Aaron Rodgers is benched in favor of Matt Flynn. Flynn slips (both figuratively and literally) in the frigid weather, and the Pack need a last-minute defensive stand to win. Green Bay, 23-19.
Week 16: @Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Right before Christmas, Green Bay heads down south to Tampa Bay to take on the Bucs, who are surprisingly fighting for a playoff spot. Mike McCarthy decides to make a statement by not benching any of the starters, and what is initially expected to be a win turns into a heated battle. the Packers, fresh off four or five games in icy weather, have a hard time adapting to the mild Florida climate and the change in football style it brings. A second-half recovery isn't enough, and the team drops its third game of the year and snaps an impressive win streak. Tampa, 26-23.
Week 17: Detroit Lions: The Packers can clinch the first seed with a win, and they use it as motivation. Learning from 2011, Mike McCarthy opts to play all of his starters in the first half. The Lions, eliminated from playoff contention the previous week and thoroughly tired of Jim Caldwell, put on a horrid showing, and the game's over by halftime. The Packers go into the playoffs with renewed momentum. Green Bay, 38-20.
1. Green Bay (13-3)
2. Seattle (13-3)
3. Philadelphia (11-5)
4. New Orleans (11-5)
5. San Francisco (11-5)
6. Tampa Bay (9-7)
1. Denver (12-4)
2. Indianapolis (11-5)
3. New England (11-5)
4. Baltimore (10-6)
5. San Diego (11-5)
6. Cleveland (9-7)
What do you think? As I said, this is certainly an optimistic view of things, but I truly believe that we should win at least twelve ges this year. I also know it's way early, but feel free to weigh in with premature predictions of your own!