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2023 NFL Schedule: Are the Packers still primetime darlings with Jordan Love?

The Packers played four primetime games in 2008 when Aaron Rodgers took over. Will Love receive the same amount?

NFL: JAN 01 Vikings at Packers Photo by Larry Radloff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The biggest free agents are signed and the draft picks have been made.

Only one thing remains before the NFL goes into a brief hibernation before camps open in July: setting the 2023 schedule.

We will have that this week as the league is set to release its full slate of games Thursday in a primetime show that only the NFL would do.

For the Green Bay Packers, the schedule release will chart their path as they embark on a new era. Aaron Rodgers is out and Jordan Love is in. It’s a seismic shift for a team that has been primetime television darling for the past 30 or so years. That’s what sustained hall of fame play by two consecutive quarterbacks will do.

But what about now? Will the Packers still be a national television draw without #12 under center, especially coming off a sub-.500 campaign?

Before we answer that, let’s take a look at the 2008 Packers schedule for comparison. That of course is when the Packers turned the reins over to Rodgers when Brett Favre retired. Keep in mind Favre actually retired in April when that schedule came out. The shenanigans of that summer were not yet on anyone’s radar.

The Packers had four primetime games that year, including the season opener on Monday Night Football against the Minnesota Vikings. That’s a quarter of the schedule and the league likely anticipated curiosity in how the post-Favre Packers would look and that was even before the unretirement saga happened.

That team was also coming off a 13-3 season that came within a whisker of ending in a Super Bowl appearance. That probably played a role in the decision as well.

Unfortunately, this year’s team is coming off a much weaker season. However, the curiosity over Love will likely get the Packers their share of primetime games as well as national TV games in the afternoon.

It wouldn’t be much of a surprise if the Packers landed four primetime games just like in 2008, however. The Packers have drawn a consistently strong audience to night games in the past. While that could change long-term if they struggle multiple seasons post-Rodgers, they will definitely still be a strong national draw this season.

So, assuming they get four games, who are the likely opponents?

It’s a fair bet to think they’ll have at least one divisional game in primetime. The Bears are always on the radar given the history of the rivalry. Games against the Vikings have been entertaining at least once per year. The Lions are an ascending team and the country fell in love with Dan Campbell thanks to last year’s “Hard Knocks.”

As for the other 11 games, the one team that stands out on the home schedule is the defending champion Chiefs. It doesn’t have the Rodgers vs. Patrick Mahomes appeal that it would have in the past, but it’s still a Super Bowl I rematch and Mahomes is arguably the most popular player in the league right now.

Other possibilities include the Rams or even Buccaneers but the loss of Tom Brady to retirement probably hurts that game’s case. Matt LaFleur vs Sean McVay however always makes for a good storyline. Keep an eye on the Chargers game too—Justin Herbert and Love could be a good preview of the future of the league.

As far as the road schedule, is the game in Las Vegas against the Raiders. The storyline here is obvious: Davante Adams versus his old team. Even without Rodgers, this is a game many fans will circle when the schedule is released.

The game against the Broncos in Denver is also a possibility. It seems like every time the Packers face Russell Wilson something crazy happens. That could pique the schedule makers’ interest.

If this writer were a betting man, and the number is four, these would be my best guess. No idea what weeks these are mind you, but in terms of opponent and location the four could be:

  • vs Chicago
  • at Las Vegas
  • at Detroit
  • vs Rams

Trying to predict the NFL schedule is a fool’s errand but we’ve reached that point of the off-season.

How Love performs will be a big storyline throughout the NFL season. It’s a fair bet to say the whole country will be able to watch at least a quarter (if not more) of how that story will unfold.