It's been an eventful April 14th to say the least for the NFL, as the first overall pick in this year's NFL Draft has been traded and the 2016 NFL schedule has been released. Granted a seemingly easier schedule entering the 2016 season than in year's past, the 2016 season features a bit of unbalanced schedule for the Green Bay Packers. Starting off the season on the road for the first two weeks for the first time in decades years, the Packers will enjoy a four game home stand, which their Week 4 bye will fall under as well.
As the season draws on, and the temperature continues to decrease in Wisconsin, the Packers will find themselves on the road four times to draw even with four home games during the months of November and December. Wisconsin weather certainly has its advantages and disadvantages as the season draws on, and looking at the final four home games, here is a look at who will walk onto the Frozen Tundra of Lambeau Field during that time.
Week 9: Sun November 6th vs Indianapolis Colts 3:25 PM
After a disappointing 2015 campaign, the Indianapolis Colts will walk into Lambeau Field for the first time since 2008. Possessing a 21-22-1 record against the Colts all-time, the Packers will look to even up the series that dates back to 1950. With Lucas Oil Stadium opening just before the 2008 NFL season, the Colts have had the luxury of playing in a stadium with a retractable roof. Before last season, teams had to decide 90 minutes before kick-off whether the roof would be open or closed for a game if their stadium featured a retractable roof. Now, the league has changed the rule to allow teams to have the option to open up the roof at halftime. Being earlier in the month, the average temperature stands at 47 degrees in Green Bay on November 6th, meaning weather shouldn't be much of an advantage.
Week 13: Sun December 4th vs Houston Texans 12:00 PM
Since their inaugural season in 2002, the Packers have faced the Houston Texans three times, which includes only one game at Lambeau Field on December 7th 2008, which the Texans won. With a 2-1 record against the Texans all-time, this will be the first time Packers fans will be able to see Pewaukee native J.J. Watt play in Wisconsin since his days as a Wisconsin Badger. The Texans also have the luxury of playing within a stadium with a retractable roof at NRG Stadium which has been their home since their 2002 inception into the league. A new cast of offensive players, including quarterback Brock Osweiler and running back Lamar Miller, surrounds foundation players such as Wattand Deandre Hopkins, meaning there are multiple unknowns as to what to expect from the Texans next season. With a 33 degree average on December 4th in Green Bay, expect a bit of an advantage against a dome team if things get nasty.
Week 14: Sun December 11th vs Seattle Seahawks 3:25 PM
Since the infamous Fail Mary game in 2012, this will be the sixth time the Packers will face the Seattle Seahawks which includes the playoffs. As much as weather may be a factor, it definitely is not going to derail the efforts of a team like Seattle who was even able to win in treacherous weather in Minnesota during the Wild Card round this past season. What this does for the Packers is kick off a tough end to the season in facing the Seahawks before three division games. This game could very well have playoff seeding on the line, and may be a pivotal point to the Packers end of season run into the playoffs.
Week 16: Sat December 24th vs Minnesota Vikings 12:00 PM
A Christmas eve extravaganza will feature the Minnesota Vikings against the Green Bay Packers in Week 16 of the regular season. Facing the Vikings to christen U.S. Bank Stadium in Week 2, the Packers will have a three month stretch before seeing their seemingly most competitive division rival for a second time. Playing in their second of three straight division games, the Packers final four game stretch will be a good testament as to where this team is at heading into the post season. Featuring three division games during the final four games, and two playoff teams during the stretch, we will get a good preview of what to expect from the Packers entering a possible Super Bowl run.