The NFL schedule is always a highly debated and criticized topic amongst fans and analysts alike. Every year, there are teams that feel slighted by their schedule and others that feel favored. However, this year, it seems that the Green Bay Packers are the ones receiving the “love” from the schedule-makers, even without their star quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Coming off a 13-3 season and an appearance in the NFC Championship game, it’s no surprise that the Packers were already on the radar of the schedule-makers. But what’s impressive is the fact that even with uncertainty surrounding Rodgers’ future with the team, the Packers still received a favorable schedule.
First, let’s look at the Packers’ opponents. They are set to face six teams with losing records from last season, including the Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears twice each. Their strength of schedule is tied for the ninth-easiest in the league, according to CBS Sports.
But it’s not just the opponents that favor the Packers. The schedule-makers also gave them some prime-time games, including a Week 1 match-up against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday Night Football and a Week 17 showdown with the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday Night Football.
The Packers also have three of their first four games at home, giving them some early-season momentum and a chance to start the season off strong. They also have a bye week in Week 13, which could be crucial for their aging roster and give them the extra rest needed for a playoff push.
But perhaps the most notable “love” shown to the Packers by the schedule-makers is their lack of travel. The Packers have just four road games in the first 13 weeks of the season, including a stretch of four consecutive home games from Weeks 5-8. This could give them a significant advantage, as they won’t have to deal with the wear and tear of constant traveling.
Of course, the schedule is never a guarantee of success, and the Packers will still have to play the games and navigate the ups and downs of an NFL season. But it’s clear that the schedule-makers have given them a favorable slate, even without their star quarterback.
Perhaps the schedule-makers are banking on the fact that the Packers will be a playoff contender regardless of who starts at quarterback. If that’s the case, they may have hit the nail on the head. The Packers have a strong defense, a solid running game, and a proven receiver in Davante Adams. If they can get solid play from the quarterback position, they could once again be one of the top teams in the NFC.
In conclusion, the schedule-makers have certainly shown the Packers some “love” this season, even without Aaron Rodgers. While the Packers will still have to prove themselves on the field, their favorable schedule certainly gives them an advantage. It will be interesting to see how they fare in the upcoming season and if they can make another deep playoff run.