NFL.com and the NFL Network have been trying to make a big deal about the announcement of the 2009 NFL schedule. As if it were the NBA draft lottery or something similar. Although now Packer fans can start checking their calendar to see which home game would be the best one for a trip to Lambeau.
NFL.com does have a nifty interactive schedule, but here's the bottom line:
|1||Sun, Sept. 13||vs. Chicago Bears||NBC||8:20 p.m.|
|2||Sun, Sept. 20||vs. Cincinnati Bengals||CBS||1 p.m.|
|3||Sun, Sept. 27||at St. Louis Rams||FOX||1 p.m.|
|4||Mon, Oct. 5||at Minnesota Vikings||ESPN||8:20 p.m.|
|6||Sun, Oct. 18||vs. Detroit Lions||FOX||1 p.m.|
|7||Sun, Oct. 25||at Cleveland Browns||FOX||1 p.m.|
|8||Sun, Nov. 1||vs. Minnesota Vikings||FOX||1 p.m.|
|9||Sun, Nov. 8||at Tampa Bay Buccaneers||FOX||1 p.m.|
|10||Sun, Nov. 15||vs. Dallas Cowboys||FOX||4:15 p.m.|
|11||Sun, Nov. 22||vs. San Francisco 49ers||FOX||1 p.m.|
|12||Thu, Nov. 26||at Detroit Lions||FOX||12:30 p.m.|
|13||Mon, Dec. 7||vs. Baltimore Ravens||ESPN||8:30 p.m.|
|14||Sun, Dec. 13||at Chicago Bears||FOX||1 p.m.|
|15||Sun, Dec. 20||at Pittsburgh Steelers||FOX||1 p.m.|
|16||Sun, Dec. 27||vs. Seattle Seahawks||FOX||1 p.m.|
|17||Sun, Jan. 3||at Arizona Cardinals||FOX||4:15 p.m.|
Two conferences stand out on this schedule; the NFC West and AFC North. Those are the two conferences that the Packers play in 2009.
The two other games, at Tampa and home for Dallas, are tough games based on their 2008 records, but Tampa might be in for a big shock this season as they've gone through some major changes. Those games will both be interesting since they are repeats from last season and the Packers lost them both.
The games against Pittsburgh and Baltimore will be tough, but Cleveland and Cincinnati are very winnable. The NFC West is the worst division. San Francisco, Seattle, and St. Louis should all be bad again in 2009, and Arizona has to overcome the Super Bowl loser curse.
Unfortunately, an easier schedule for the Packers means an easier schedule for Minnesota and Chicago. Oh, and Detroit too, no matter what their uniforms look like next season.