Packers XLV

A Look at the Schedule, by the Numbers

Posted April 22nd, 2015 @ 03:04pm

The schedule has been released and we can all finally work our way, game by game, through the schedule and determine what the Pack's record might be. Never mind the fact that we haven't even gone through the draft and the likely surprise cuts, additions and injuries that will alter things a bit.

So let's take a look at the schedule, by the numbers:

7: Players and coaches will always tell you that the first thing they look at is when the bye falls. For the Pack, it's week seven this year. I'd have to think the sweet spot for NFLers is weeks 7-9, so they have to be pretty happy with a week seven bye. It's also a natural spot the way the schedule falls for the Pack. Barring injury or anything crazy, the Pack will be favored to win its first six games. The next two games after the bye are road games against 2014 playoff teams, Denver and Carolina. The Pack could easily start 6-0, with four home games and road games in Chicago and SF,  take a week off ,and then get set for a tough stretch, beginning with those two road tests.

6: An odd quirk about the Pack's schedule is that it features just six noon kickoffs. Call me old fashioned (I prefer to think of it as old school), but I think a perfect schedule would be 12 noon starts and four games under the lights. But in a year where the Pack plays the West in both the NFC and AFC, you're going to get late starts--there are five 3:25 kickoffs on this year's slate. They will play no noon games starting with the epic Thanksgiving night game until the season finale vs. the Vikings.

5: Following that thought, the Pack will once again play the maximum five prime time games this season, including the first two home games, in weeks two and three. The Week 2 Sunday night affair with the Seahawks is the most anticipated game on the schedule. Making it the home opener in prime time just adds some sizzle to a game that didn't really need it. If the Pack can exorcize a few demons and take down the 'Hawks, they can take a deep breath and get down to the business of trying to earn the top seed in the conference. The Sunday night game at Denver should be great theater as well--most likely the second and final Rodgers-Manning duel. As huge as the Week 2 matchup is, most Packer fans would prefer to be at the Bears game, if they had to pick one. A Thanksgiving night dessert at Lambeau between the Pack and Bears and oh, by the way, Favre's number will be retired that night? I'd get in line right now for that one.

4: While the schedule is very favorable early, it toughens considerably after the bye. Once those two road games in Denver and Carolina are over, the Pack will be staring at four straight divisional games. The Pack will come out of this stretch with four games left, with home games against the Cowboys and Vikings and west coast road games in Oakland and Arizona. The way Green Bay has dominated the North in recent years, a record of 3-1 seems likely, splitting the road games and winning the home games.  If that happens, they should be set up nicely heading into the final quarter of the season.

3: Woven into those four straight divisional matchups is a 12 day stretch where the Pack will have to play three games, starting at Minnesota, then Bears on Turkey Day and at Detroit. Mike McCarthy is already bemoaning the fact that the team will have only seven days after the Thanksgiving game to prepare for the Lions the following Thursday night. But the Lions are in the same boat, and it is a division game, so you know the team well. They'll come out of it with ten days to get ready for the home game against the Cowboys, a nice little edge.

2: The Week two matchup against the Seahawks will have everything you hope for in a game. Like the Cowboys in the '90s, the Packers seem to always play this team on the road. Now they get them at home. A win here cements any potential tiebreaker scenarios a few months later and will likely do a lot to salve the psyche of the players and coaches, many of whom are still not over it, no matter what they tell us publicly. Most fans aren't over it either. But getting them in the home opener in prime time is just what the doctor ordered. Will the Pack be more aggressive offensively? Can they stop Jimmy Graham? Will special teams step up and hold their own? We'll know a lot about the 2015 team after this one.

1: Finally, here's one guy's ridiculously early attempt at figuring out the Pack's 2015 results, game by game. I think they win the first six. Four home games: those are Ws. The opener at Chicago may be tougher than expected since they have a new coaching staff and the team will have only the relatively meaningless preseason games to use as tape to figure out what they are like this season. Expect an offense led by the legs of Matt Forte, not the arm of Jay Cutler. But the Bears will still be figuring things out as well, so expect the Pack to win this road game, as well as the week 4 game at the Niners. This team has lost too much defensively and the Pack is ready to finally beat them.

So they come out of their bye at 6-0, staring at road games against 2014 playoff teams. I'll say they split those two and enter that tough divisional stretch at 7-1 at the halfway point. As I said earlier, I would think the Pack can go 3-1 in this four game test, winning at home, losing at Minnesota and beating the Lions in Detroit (it's not Thanksgiving Day, so the Pack can handle them).

The final quarter of the season features two gimmes: at Oakland and at home in a revenge game against the Vikes and two toughies: Dallas (seeking revenge for the Dez non-catch) and at Arizona. I'll give the Cardinals, and their tough defense, a win in this one--provided that Carson Palmer is still healthy (a big if).

That computes to a 13-3 record, which should be good enough for the top seed in the NFC. Wanna sign up for that right now?

Coming Monday: my annual seven-round Packers mock draft.

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Comments (7):

I feel your optimism, but I feel it even more. I believe this is a "TEAM" destined to make HISTORY!! Need say no more.

on April 22nd, 2015 at 01:04pm

How is Minnesota even remotely the toughest of the 4 game divisional stretch?

on April 22nd, 2015 at 11:39am

In a roundabout way, we have Bill Belichick to thank for the sterilization of what is now the preseason...starters not getting the requisite work in to prepare for the season in the interest of preventing injuries. Which is a shame, because as it usually turns out, the first 4 games of the regular season is when teams across the league are still figuring out their identities and playing the lousiest football. Which is why I don't like the idea of having the Bears and Seahawks as the first two games, when none of these teams have even figured out who they are yet. And why have important games like a division game and a conference game as your first 2? It stinks, IMHO. I'd rather have the 4 interconference games, which this year would have been the Chargers, Broncos, and Raiders, in addition to the Chiefs, as the first 4 games...and have the conference and division games encompass the final 12, at a time when they're most important, and teams are playing their best football? Wouldn't that make more sense?

on April 23rd, 2015 at 06:03pm

Okay...it is that time of year again when all of us TT wannabes put on our headsets,film room study, combine info, mock draft study, and crystal balls to give our Packer Mock Draft.Following is my 9 player Packer draft which include our 7 plus 2 extra picks in round 6. TT I'm available for your war room if needed. Here we go: 1- Malcom Brown- DT Texas-6-2, 319lbs. I know we need ILB and CB's but this guy is too good to pass on. For his size has speed and quickness and a good inside pass rush which we need. Go get him if available. 2- Stephone Anthony- ILB- Clemson. 6-2 243 with 4.56 speed. This guy will be able to cover a pass down the middle which we have lacked for years and is projected as a 3 down linebacker. 3- PJ Williams-CB- Miami. 6-0 194 lbs 4.57 speed. If not for a DWI right before the combine would be a first rounder. Size, speed, and athletic if character issues pan out. Nice compliment to losing House and Tramon Williams. 4- Nate Orchard- LB- Utah...6-3 251 lbs had 17.5 sacks last year on a Utah team that was undervalued. Could be a real sleeper pick. 5- Duke Johnson- RB- Miami...5-9 207. My first offensive pick of draft. This guy had 1,650 rushing yards and 10 TD last year. Great special teams player. Was 2nd in nation as a kick returner and has 4.54 speed. Would be nice complement to Lacy. 6- With first pick in round 6 OSSG stays on offense with Wes Saxton TE- South Alabama Weneed a TE who can get some seperation and this guy at 6-4 235 lbs is rangy with good hands. Was the fastest TE at the combine with 4.56 speed which we need. 6- With our compensatory pick we stay offense and go with Robb Havenstein from Wisconsin. This 6-7 321 lb. giant was the main blocker for Melvin Gordon. Would have to be mainly a RT as not quick enough for the left side. 6- With our second compensatory pick in round 6 we take Craig Mager a CB from Texas State. With 4.44 speed we keep upgrading our defensive speed. Would give us a reliable special teams player and nickel back prospect. 7- With Matt Flynns days probably at an end as a Packer here we go development QB with Sean Mannion...a 6-5 229 lb strong armed QB from Oregon State. Despite having a weak offensive line he put up nice numbers at 3,164 yds and 15 TD's. With his size and arm worth a look. There you have it...5 defensive players and 4 offensive players at positions of needs. While not one of these may be drafted Packers in the real world I believe the position breakdown is about right. Let's start the discussions. GO PACK GO !!

on April 23rd, 2015 at 08:26pm

Great to have you back on the site .....Davy !! I will have my annual Packer Mock Draft Monday as well. Cant wait to get some discussion going on the Draft. GO PACK GO !!

on April 23rd, 2015 at 11:56am

OSSG, are u sure your not my long lost brother?? I love your picks. I thought long and hard about it. can't wait for Davey any longer. I love brown, but he will be gone before pick 20, too good, I know anthony lb, is on some bds. at 55-60, he will never last until pick 62. but I love him, we need him too. I would take him at pick 30. or harold lb from virginia. they may take a cb, but peters cb from wash. has some off field stuff, and we need lb more. rd 2 walford TE miami, again on same page as ossg,, pick 94, perryman ILB Miami, impact hitter to take hawks place. 129 , take glenn cb, from UCF, 166, take Tawan Jones LB Michigan st. notice a pattern here, we need LB"s. pick 205, OT, cory robinson, South carolina, need backups, pick 210, ron beckwith, OG miss. st. 213, stephan diggs,Az. wr,, and kick returner, last pick FB, aaron ripowski from maryland, kuhn has 1 year left, what a great names also, diggs and ripowski, there it is, after all that, TT will trade back to 2nd rd and we will all be amazed who he takes, still think my 1st 4 picks for JJ watt looks awfully smart now doesn't it?. GO Packers.

on April 24th, 2015 at 03:42pm

made mistake, diggs wr, is from Maryland, not Az, looks great for returner and 4th wr. I really love Lockett fron Kansas st, jordy's team, but would have to take him in 3rd round, great returner also. come on Davey, where are your picks?? still thinking TT will move back, and take Dl in early 2nd rd. and Lb with normal 2nd rd pick, maybe preston smith from Texas A and M or Goldman from florida st. Can't wait.

on April 27th, 2015 at 12:46pm

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