The Green Bay Packers are going to be racking up a lot of frequent-flyer miles in 2018, as the team has the entire NFC West on the schedule this year. In addition to two games against teams on the West coast of the United States and their three divisional games, they also have a trio of games along the Atlantic coast.
For Packers fans, Lambeau Field will always be the best place to watch a football game, but the occasional road trip is a blast as well. Now that we have the Packers’ schedule out, we ranked the best road trips for Packers fans, with games separated out into intra-division games against the NFC North teams and out-of-division contests.
Here’s how we think these games stack up for prospective road trips, based on the venue and surrounding city, time during the season, and the quality of the potential matchup.
#5: Week 3 at Washington
FedEx Field isn’t exactly a thrilling venue for a football game, and a Green Bay-Washington game doesn’t have that much excitement to it, particularly compared to other road games on the schedule. Sure, if you’re in the Mid-Atlantic, make a quick drive to Landover, Maryland for the game, but I wouldn’t make a special trip.
#4: Week 11 at Seahawks
This would ordinarily be an exciting game, but the Seahawks appear to be in reload mode (or rebuild, for those less optimistic about John Schneider’s ability to stock up the roster again quickly). That’s a problem, but not as big an issue as the fact that this game takes place on Thursday night in mid-November.
#3: Week 8 at Rams
This one is all about the matchup - the Rams are coming off an NFC West title and are poised for another big season. A trip to LA isn’t so bad, either.
#2: Week 16 at Jets
Sure, the matchup isn’t particularly sexy, so instead make it a Christmas vacation in New York City (with a stop across the river into New Jersey on Sunday afternoon). and see the Packers make their push for a playoff spot with the penultimate game of the regular season.
#1: Week 9 at Patriots
Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady have only gone head-to-head once before — Rodgers was out with a concussion during their first scheduled matchup after he got the starting quarterback job in Green Bay. It’s also likely to be the last chance to see them play each other in the regular season, with Brady turning 41 years old in August. Furthermore, Mike McCarthy out-coached Bill Belichick in 2014, so even though it will be a tough game, there’s plenty of reason to feel like the Packers will have a good chance in this game.
A prime-time matchup in Foxboro should be a blast, regardless of one’s feelings about New England fans. If you will take a single road trip this season, make it this game.
Bonus: Divisional Games
Given that the Packers travel to Chicago, Detroit, and the Twin Cities every year, we’re pulling these games out separately since Packers fans can make these trips any time. Still, there is a clear hierarchy here in terms of the road trip experience, which this year is heavily influenced by the time the Packers play there during the season.
Best Divisional Road Trip: Week 12 at Vikings
A long Thanksgiving weekend gives fans plenty of opportunity to take a leisurely trip up to the Twin Cities, and a game inside the shiny new dome at U.S. Bank Stadium is a nice, warm reprieve from the Midwestern cold.
Next-best Divisional Road trip: Week 15 at Bears
Fans will likely be in for a bitterly cold afternoon at Soldier Field on December 16th. Even so, you can’t ignore the a history and tradition of a Packers-Bears game in December, regardless of the venue or the conditions.
Third place: Week 5 at Lions
If the Packers were playing at Ford Field late in the season, that might make the prospect of an indoor game a more enticing one. As it is, fans won’t be escaping a frigid Wisconsin winter, and although the matchup should make for a more entertaining game than the Bears game on paper, that’s not enough to outweigh the Packers-Bears rivalry.