Revenge has a way of adding something a little extra special to a game. Getting back at someone who has beaten you before or against whom you hold a grudge makes a victory all the sweeter. Whether it’s served cold or otherwise, revenge is a great motivator.
This year, the Packers have plenty of opportunities to add a little motivation in the form of revenge. Here are the games we think offer the best opportunities for revenge in 2019.
Evan “Tex” Western - Week 3 vs. Denver Broncos
This is probably going to be a weird pick, I know, but there are three main factors in play here. First, the Packers’ 2019 schedule does not feature a ton of teams that have inflicted recent pain on the team. You could make an argument for any of the divisional teams, I suppose: the Bears for hurting Rodgers in week one last year (though he ripped their hearts out in the second half of that game), the Vikings for Anthony Barr breaking Rodgers’ collarbone the year before, or the Lions for sweeping the Packers the last two years.
But I’m going with the week three Broncos game for a couple of reasons. As a Packers fan who counts the 1990s as his formative years, I will hate the Broncos and John Elway forever for ruining the Packers’ bid for back-to-back Super Bowl titles. For that reason, every Packers-Broncos game feels like a revenge game to me.
Secondly, and more recently, the last time the two teams played was when Mike McCarthy’s offense truly got figured out. It was week 8 of the 2015 season, and the Packers — coming off a bye week — were 6-0. In 60 minutes, Wade Phillips’ defense put on tape the blueprint for slowing down the then-Jordy Nelson-less Packers, which seemed to spark Rodgers’ mistrust of McCarthy’s offense. No longer did he work within the scheme, as he spent much of the remainder of that season and much of those that have followed improvising and extending plays. Rodgers’ combined passer rating from his first start in 2008 to the week before this game was 107.0. After that? 96.4. Over a large sample size like that, it’s a significant drop.
(Bonus: Vic Fangio is now the head coach in Denver, and it would be fun to get some revenge on him for the difficulty he has given Rodgers in the past as well.)
With a new coach and a new system in place in Green Bay, the hope here is that the Packers can get off to a good start and exorcise these demons at Lambeau.
Paul Noonan - New York Giants, Week 13
There may not be any recent revenge games along the lines of the Seahawks, but there are plenty of old-timey revenge games, and the biggest has to be the Giants. The Giants were the Seahawks before the Seahawks, ending many a promising Packer playoff run and going on the beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl. The Giants were also an infuriating team in the sense that Eli Manning received far too much credit while the defense received far too little. It’s also annoying to see a New York team get breaks.
Anyway, getting revenge on the Giants should also be fun because they should be absolutely terrible, and have the league’s worst front office. Just a disaster. Revenge games are only fun if you actually get some revenge, and in this one, the Packers should get the maximum amount possible.
Shawn Wagner - Detroit Lions, Weeks 6 and 17
This might seem like an odd pick as the Packers dominated the series with a 9-3 record from 2011 to 2017. Don’t look now, but those fortunes have turned with Detroit winning the last FOUR meetings.
Chicago and Minnesota might be the most bitter rivals for most Packers fans, but there is something about losing to Detroit that never sits right with me and it’s been two straight seasons of such outcomes. Last year’s games were remembered for a) Mason Crosby’s unfathomable blunders and b) a lack of fight shown in the final game of the season, a 31-0 defeat. Green Bay has lost by an average of 19 points over the four losses, losing by 24 in December 2017 as well.
Perhaps it’s less a revenge series this year for the Packers than one that makes amends for their own mistakes. Either way, the teams will meet once again in the closing week of the regular season in a game that is expected to have more playoff implications than last year.
Jon Meerdink - Week 16 @ Minnesota
I want the Packers to get a very specific kind of revenge this year: road revenge. Specifically, revenge on the road in Minnesota.
The Packers have yet to win a game in U.S. Bank Stadium, losing each of their three trips there since the Vikings’ new digs opened in 2016. This represents the first time since 1992-1996 that the Packers have lost more than two in a row to the Vikings on the road, and it’s time for that trend to come to an end.
U.S. Bank Stadium is the site of one of the most ignominious moments in recent Packers/Vikings history. What better way to exorcise that particular demon than with the team’s first win in Minnesota’s new stadium? Plus, since it happens so late in the year, there could very well be playoff implications as well. A win on the road against the Vikings could be extra special.
The scheduling gods are going to make me wait until Week 16 for revenge, but if it pays off it’ll be worth it.