With the NFL announcing its 2015 schedule earlier this week, it's time to take a first look at how the schedule sets up. Is it ridiculously early to try to predict games before the NFL Draft has even taken place? Sure. But it's still a fun exercise.
Here we go!
Week 1: Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears: Things could easily change during the draft, but as of right now Jay Cutler remains the starting quarterback for the Bears. Assuming Chicago doesn’t somehow make a play to get Marcus Mariota or somehow acquire Drew Brees or Philip Rivers, the Packers will once again face their favorite nemesis to kick off the 2015 campaign.
I think everyone knows how this will end. Prediction: Packers win
Week 2: Seattle Seahawks at Packers: Fans sick of seeing and hearing about Green Bay’s collapse in last season’s NFC Championship might want to go on a full media blackout leading up to this Sunday night game. The Packers finally get Seattle at Lambeau and will be eager to dish out some revenge on Pete Carroll and company.
Lambeau will be rocking louder than it has in a long time for this one. Unfortunately, the crowd will be witness to yet another heartbreaking loss to Seattle. Prediction: Packers Lose
Week 3: Kansas City Chiefs at Packers: Andy Reid returns to the stadium he called home when worked as an assistant under Mike Holmgren. The Chiefs ended the Packers’ run at a perfect season in 2011, but thanks to a loss against the Seahawks Green Bay will be looking to bounce back against Kansas City.
Look for Aaron Rodgers to light it up and the Packers to win rather easily. Prediction: Packers win.
Week 4: Packers at 49ers: The departure of Jim Harbaugh to the University of Michigan is welcome news to the Packers. Perhaps even more welcoming is the departure of all that talent that gave Green Bay fits in both 2012 and 2013. Colin Kaepernick is still there, but there is little doubt he has regressed and is going to be under some pressure in 2015.
The Packers get a kinda-sorta revenge victory and handle the 49ers at Levi’s Stadium. Prediction: Packers win.
Week 5: St. Louis Rams at Packers: Jeff Fisher now has Nick Foles at quarterback and not the oft-injured Sam Bradford. That said he is still nowhere near Rodgers’ level. Prediction: Packers win.
Week 6: San Diego Chargers at Packers: The big question here is whether or not Rivers will be the Chargers’ starting quarterback as persistent trade rumors swirl around the veteran. Rivers has meshed well with Mike McCoy, but his decision not to renew his contract in San Diego heading into the season doesn’t bode well for him.
Even if Green Bay faces Mariota in this game should San Diego draft him, the Packers still have the better offense and should handle this one. Prediction: Packers win.
Week 7: Bye Week. A little earlier than preferred, but it could have been worse.
Week 8: Packers at Denver Broncos: This would have been a great Super Bowl matchup, but neither team’s fortunes have allowed such a reality. Rodgers vs Peyton Manning. The quarterback duel will rule over everything in this game, despite Manning’s recent struggles.
The two-time MVP gets the best of the five-timer in a classic. Prediction: Packers win.
Week 9: Packers at Carolina Panthers: Green Bay demolished Carolina at Lambeau Field last season and that will be at the forefront of the Panthers’ mind heading into this one.
It won’t be as big of a blowout as last year, but the Packers should win comfortably. Prediction: Packers win.
Week 10: Detroit Lions at Packers: Packers fans were relieved to see both Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley leave the division. That being said, the Lions still have Megatron and a solid offense. The Lions have not won at Lambeau since 1991 however, and that streak will continue so long as Rodgers is under center for Green Bay. Prediction: Packers win.
Week 11: Packers at Minnesota Vikings: The basement feeders of the NFC North no longer reside in Minnesota. The Vikings have an improving defense under second year head coach Mike Zimmer and a budding superstar quarterback in Teddy Bridgewater.
The Vikings are a team on the rise and the Packers very easily could drop this one. Bridgewater is now the second best quarterback in the division behind Rodgers (you heard me, Matthew Stafford). The Packers also inexplicably lay an egg every year. This could be that game Prediction: Packers lose.
Week 12: Bears at Packers: The first Thanksgiving night game at Lambeau in nearly a century and Brett Favre is having his name placed in the Ring of Honor at this game?
Yeah, the Packers are not losing this one. Prediction: Packers win.
Week 13: Packers at Lions: Struggles continue in Detroit. Ford Field is to Rodgers what the Metrodome was to Favre. Prediction: Packers lose
Week 14: Cowboys at Packers: The rematch of last season’s classic and controversial divisional round game will be great entertainment. Dallas will be very hungry for this one and the Packers will be locked in a battle for home field advantage in the playoffs.
This battle of titans does not end well for the good guys as the Cowboys steal one in overtime. Prediction: Packers lose.
Week 15: Packers at Oakland Raiders: Sorry Reggie McKenzie, but not even Ted Thompson can figure out what you’re doing down there. Prediction: Packers win.
Week 16: Packers at Arizona Cardinals: Bruce Arians is building a decent team in the NFC West, but until the Seahawks stumble, the Cardinals seem destined to be a perennial wild card team.
This will be the game the Packers steal despite struggling most of the afternoon. Great teams find ways to steal games and this is one of them. Prediction: Packers win.
Week 17: Vikings at Packers: Could this be a battle of two teams for the division title? It’s possible, especially if Bridgewater successfully made the leap in his second season many people are expecting him to.
That said, a 11-4 Packers versus a 10-5 Vikings team is very possible. The Packers win here to secure home field in the playoffs, while the Vikings and Lions both make it as wild cards. Prediction: Packers win.
Projected record 12-4
The Packers seem to be destined to either sink or swim this year, thanks to any potential hangover from the soul crushing loss in last season’s NFC Championship. Thompson did a stellar job of getting the band back together (despite losing Tramon Williams and Davon House in free agency).
If he can get a solid ILB and CB in the draft, Green Bay will be right back in the thick of things once again. Also, the loss to Seattle last year likely put another big chip on Rodgers’ shoulder. Anyone want to bet against him?
I didn’t think so.