A Look at the 2013 Schedule, One Quarter at a Time

OK, you know and I know that it’s patently absurd to predict the outcome of games played in the fall when I look out my window and there’s nine inches of fresh snow on the ground.

But, as I said, there’s nine inches of fresh snow on the ground and what better use of time than to take a quick stock of the 2013 schedule and what the season may have in store? We’ll go by quarters since that’s the way Coach McCarthy likes to do it.

First quarter: There are two ways to look at opening for a second consecutive season against the 49ers. It might’ve been nice to face them on the back half of the schedule, hoping that some young defensive re-enforcements are getting things figured out and the defense is starting to find its groove. Instead, Dom Capers will have to deal with Colin Kaepernick and maybe a healed RGIII in the first two weeks. The opener will feel like much more than the first game; a chance to see if the defense has figured out how to keep that offense under 500 yards. If the Pack is beaten soundly, the whole season will feel like a warm-up to a potential rematch in the post-season.

It’s rare that Green Bay opens away from home: it’s only the second time it’s happened under McCarthy. A win would make a September statement, but I’ll call this one a loss: hopefully a close one, ┬áif it happens.

The home opener against Washington will be all about RGIII. If he’s back, it’s likely he’ll be nowhere near the threat he was before the devastating knee injury. Even if he’s AP-like, he won’t be near 100% in week 2, which means the Pack should handle the Skins.

Week three features a road test against the Bengals, the third straight 2012 playoff team on the schedule. The Bengals still have cap space to burn and may look a little different as we get closer to the season, but the Pack should be able to handle this team to improve to 2-1 heading into the bye.

We were due for an early bye week and this year, it’s our turn. The only silver lining is that the Thanksgiving Day game comes nine weeks after the bye and will serve as a mini-bye heading into the fourth quarter of the season. The Pack comes out of the bye with the first division game of the season, against the Lions, who never win in Wisconsin. The Packers finish the first quarter at 3-1.

Second Quarter: This quarter begins with a pair of AFC North games and ends with two divisional games. It starts in Baltimore, against the Super Bowl champs, a team that will look a whole lot different, primarily on defense. Until we see how they’ve replaced two Hall of Famers and a couple of other key front seven guys, I have to believe the Packers can score on them. The Ravens are now a team with an offensive identity. So are the Packers. I say the Pack wins a close one and follows up with a comfortable home win against the improving, but still rebuilding Browns. 5-1.

Next, the Packers head to the Metrodome for the final time for the first prime time game of the season. In an odd quirk, three of the next four games are night games. Also for the first time in team history, there are no back-to-back road games. We used to curse three game trips; this year there aren’t even any two game trips. So in each quarter of the season, there are two home games and two road games.

Last year this was the only divisional loss for the Packers, in a game where the Vikings’ season was on the line and the Packers’ wasn’t (I love firing up Queen fans). The place will be crazy for Sunday Night Football. I’ve got to give the Pack a loss in the division. This one is it again.

The Packers head into halftime of 2013 with a Monday night home game against the Bears. There is nothing better in the world. And the Packers don’t lose these games. They take care of the Bears and head into halftime at 6-2.

Third Quarter: The second half kicks off with Chip Kelly and his magical mystical offense at Lambeau. We have no idea what the Eagles will be like, or who will be their QB, but it’s at home. Even on a short week, the Packers handle Philly to improve to 7-2. Next up, another date with Eli Manning and the Giants at their place on a Sunday night. Tough sledding. I’ll give this one to Eli. The Pack close out this quarter with two division games: the rematch with the Vikings at Lambeau (win) and the traditional Thanksgiving Day game in Motown that we seem to play every four years or so. This one probably won’t be easy, but unless that defense has improved dramatically, I don’t think they can slow Rodgers down. The Packers close the third quarter at 9-3.

Fourth Quarter: Wow, a great four games to close out the season. It starts on a Sunday night at Lambeau with the Falcons coming to town. A Dome team coming to Green Bay for a night game in December? Love the timing of this game for the Packers. They’ll handle Matty Ice, whose nickname has nothing to do with the climate in December.

Next, the Pack travels to Dallas. The Cowboys are the most schizofrenic team in the league year after year. Usually, they dig themselves into a grave early and try to dig out late. This could be a dangerous game, coming on the heels of the big Sunday night game against the dirty birds. But McCarthy travels well in the back half of the season and I expect the Packers to pull out a tight one.

The home finale comes against the Steelers, three days before Christmas. The Steelers are another team in flux, with studs like Mike Wallace and James Harrison among a number of key guys no longer there. The Packers take care of business and dispatch of Pittsburgh to improve to 12-3. The season closes at Soldier Field against the Bears. I’ll give this one to the bad guys. Maybe the Pack will be in ‘rest a few guys’ mode. Maybe the Bears will flat beat ‘em. Either way, call it a loss and the Packers finish at 12-4.

Which takes us back to the evening of Sunday, September 8th. The opener against the 49ers will have just ended and we’ll likely feel one of three ways: jacked up because the Pack sprung the road upset and got some payback from last year’s opener; encouraged, because in a close loss the Pack showed the gap between the two teams is not as big as it looked in the playoffs; or devastated because a sound beat down means that the next four months will serve as a prelude to a potential rematch in January, with not much to prove until that possible rematch.

Only 140 days and change to wait.

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12 Responses to A Look at the 2013 Schedule, One Quarter at a Time

  1. Cane says:

    I love how you end your last blog post of last season with “It’s disappointing and the Packers will not enter 2013 as the Super Bowl favorites, but they’ll be a contender and the changes that take place in the front office, coaching staff and on the roster will shape how serious a contender they ultimately are.”—-then you still pick your team to go 12-4 despite having a very tough schedule. So laughable. You are 10 times the homer that PA is, THC.

  2. Thomas the Tank Engine says:

    I love how you make it seem like that last game of the year the Pack just packed it in and let the Vikings win. What a dope you are. They were trying to win and got bested by AP. Your homerism knows no bounds, I am starting to understand why they call you THC….

  3. Screech says:

    This is a smart article written by a straight man.


  4. SchenySchen says:

    He picked your team to win the game. Even when being given credit you Viqueen fans can’t relax. I admit, when you lose 4 superbowls, you’re bound to get a little wound up. Relax, deep breath. GoPack!

  5. Bill, the voice of reason says:

    Look at it this way…the schedule just came out, it’s another week before the draft, no one could possibly make predictions this far out with any reasonable accuracy, plus we’re all getting a little bored, so Dave’s just looking for a way to get purple fans a little riled up. I’m OK with that.

  6. deakon says:

    I think you got the first quarter reversed. 1-3 seems more likely to me.

    And god help this team if Rodgers goes down. If he does the Pack would be tempted to spend their 3rd overall pick on back-up QB.

  7. larry says:

    hey Guys, 1st off, I hate these experts on on schedules. u don’t know who is going to play alot better then the year before and injuries aresso important also. who would have thought the seahawks, dolphins, and the vikings would be? I always say it’s not who u play it’s when u play them. it’s a pretty even league. I think TT will move back in round 1, there is so much depth between 15 and 75. I think the bills, cardinals philly, and even oakland may jump back in if they don’t take a qb early. they would have to give up a 2nd and 3rd round it would be worth it. i love cyprien alot more the elam, he is 4″ taller and better ball skills, hunt is very intriguing to me too. good fit with 52 on other side. we need olb, nose tackle, te and safety out of this draft. and u know TT will pick up another wr in 3rd or 4th round. love ogeltree, and your man Aurther, ossg, and if sylvester is there TT will take him, he will begone in mid teens. I have said it for 3months, I want eifert from ND. but he will be gone too jarvis jones is falling because of his neck but take him if he is there, it’s worth it . i would never take lacey, he hasn’t played 5 games in a row in his career i bet. Ball anyday is better .But, I like frankiln from ucla in later rounds. so after all that if he doesn’t trade out, he will take hankins dl from O.S. or fredrick from wisconsin. go pack, 11-5 is best pack will do this year, 10 wins could win division.

  8. Bill, the voice of reason says:

    Since we’re on the topic of schedules, and since my opinion isn’t worth any more than the next “expert”, here’s where I see the Vikings this coming year – I’d be hard pressed to have them any better than 8-8 this year. I have them for wins against the Lions (x2), Browns, Panthers, Redskins and Eagles. Losses to the Steelers, Giants, Cowboys, Seahawks, Ravens and Bengals. I also have them with home-and-home splits with the Packers and Bears. The Ravens game could go in the Vikes’ favor, only because the Ravens will be a shell of what they once were, so that’s the only one I’ll hedge on. Go ahead, purple faithful, rip it apart all you want – none of this means a whole lot in April. I’m probably way off, but I don’t care. 8-8, possibly 9-7, and another wild card if they’re lucky. Division champ…no way. Not this year. And again, go ahead and rip this if you want because it means nothing in April.

  9. SchenySchen says:

    I too see a trade-down out of 26 to get an early 2nd, as well as an additonal pick. I personally think that D-line, regardless of round, will be pick one. I think WR with pick 2 and I have the sneaking suspicion that either Franklin(UCLA) or Ball may be a 3rd round selection. — MM always preaches that guys get better from year 1 to year 2. I think they are hoping that McMillan makes strides as the starting SS. Great athelete, just needs more reps. After that, its wide open. Either way, I will predict my usual 19-0, Superbowl Homeboy! GoPack!

  10. Packerlifer says:

    Obviously we’ll have to wait to see how the draft and any additional offseason moves affect the roster and how injury recoveries are progressing to start getting into the season predicting business.

    But this far out it looks like another 10-12 win season coming for the Pack, which should be enough for another division title or at least a wild card playoff berth.

    Winning at home will be key. There’s nobody coming into Lambeau in 2013 that the Packers can’t handle. They were 7-1 there last season, 8-1 the year before. Keep up that kind of home record and you don’t have to be dominant on the road to make the playoffs.

    San Francisco still looks like too much of a physical mismatch to start the season, I don’t see winning at Cincinnati, and the last trip to the Metrodome could well be similar to last season.

    But the Packers have shown they can win at Chicago and Detroit, Dallas and a changing Giants team on the road also looks more promising.

    While the schedule looks demanding the Pack didn’t play a bunch of sugarpuffs in 2012. Nine of their games last season came against teams that made the playoffs or won at least 10 games.

  11. Moe says:

    I am an avid Packer fan, but even I find the 12 – 4 record more than a little pie in the sky. The Packer’s demonstrated they have to improve greatly to contend. They had and have losses to their team on offense and on defense. Jennings is gone, draft picks from last year are recovering from injuries. Their offensive line is not solid. AND they have done nothing to address their shortcomings

    They have a difficult schedule next year and an early bye week which limits their ability to address team injuries late.

    You have them winning each and every game that could be close. I hope you are proven right, but I see this as a fall back year – 9-7 or 10 -6.

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