Column: RICK SOLEM
The Green Bay Packers schedule came out Thursday.
It looks as though the Packers have a real shot at history.
They could be the first team to go 6-10 on the season ... and make the playoffs?
The Packers are going to go 4-2 in the division, though who they sweep – Detroit, Chicago, Minnesota – remains a mystery. And they're going 2-6 in the other games.
Their non-divisional matchups are brutal, starting off the year with the team that ended the last one – San Francisco. Try and not remember that debacle. It’s better for all.
Green Bay has a real shot at going 0-3 to start the year.
They could luck out if Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III isn’t ready by Week 2. Cincinnati in Week 3 will be a game that gets overlooked by most, but the Bengals are going to be tough to beat this season.
Weeks 5-7 are the break in the schedule with Detroit, Baltimore – fresh off a title, but missing tons of pieces from said title – and Cleveland.
After that, it’s anyone’s guess, but it won’t be easy. The non-divisional games include Philadelphia. The Eagles could be rejuvenated with new coach Chip Kelly, who could be inserting quarterback Michael Vick into that Oregon Ducks offense (it’s a stretch, as Vick will be 33, but anything’s possible) and running back LeSean McCoy.
Then Green Bay heads to New York and the Giants. Loss. Do they ever beat the Giants? Remember Brett Favre; Superbowl on the line; Cold cold cold? New York also made Aaron Rodgers look awful last year in a 38-10 blowout.
Green Bay wraps up those non-divisional games in Weeks 14-16 – with the playoffs on the line – in back-to-back-to-back matchups against Atlanta, at Dallas and Pittsburgh.
It’s funny to look at the schedule and pick out Cleveland and Baltimore as the easiest games.
Saying Green Bay goes 4-2 inside the division is also a bit of a stretch.
Minnesota has the most dynamic back in the league (ahem, Adrian Peterson) and beat Green Bay in Week 17 last year 37-34, before losing 24-10 the very next week in the playoffs.
Detroit has the best wide receiver in the league (Calvin Johnson Jr.) and lost by three and four points in last year’s matchups.
And there’s Chicago, which has lost its last five in a row to the Packers. Everyone will expect sweep, so the Packers will probably give one away. That’s usually how it goes.
Then again, I usually have a pessimist's view of such things, when everyone else expects 16-0 ... or 15-1 if they really want to stretch the imagination.
GREEN BAY PACKERS 2013 SCHEDULE
|1||Sun, Sep 8||at San Francisco||3:25 p.m.||FOX|
|2||Sun, Sep 15||Washington||Noon||FOX|
|3||Sun, Sep 22||at Cincinnati||Noon||FOX|
|5||Sun, Oct 6||Detroit||Noon||CBS|
|6||Sun, Oct 13||at Baltimore||Noon||FOX|
|7||Sun, Oct 20||at Cleveland||3:25 p.m.||CBS|
|8||Sun, Oct 27||at Minnesota||7:30 p.m.||NBC|
|9||Mon, Nov 4||Chicago||7:40 p.m.||ESPN|
|10||Sun, Nov 10||Philadelphia||Noon||FOX|
|11||Sun, Nov 17||at New York Giants||7:30 p.m.||NBC|
|12||Sun, Nov 24||Minnesota||Noon||FOX|
|13||Thu, Nov 28||at Detroit||11:30 p.m.||FOX|
|14||Sun, Dec 8||Atlanta||7:30 p.m.||NBC|
|15||Sun, Dec 15||at Dallas||3:25 p.m.||FOX|
|16||Sun, Dec 22||Pittsburgh||3:25 p.m.||CBS|
|17||Sun, Dec 29||at Chicago||Noon||FOX|