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Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Green Bay Packers 2015 Schedule: Game-by-Game Predictions

The schedules are out and what a season this is going to be. As usual, the Packers have some major highlights to their schedule. They play in FIVE prime time games, all before week 13. This includes two Thursday night games, two Sunday night games, and one Monday night game.

The Packers made a special request to the league regarding their plans with Brett Favre, and boy were they granted! The Packers will host their first Thanksgiving Day game since 1923 against the Chicago Bears, where Brett Favre will have his number enshrined in the ring of fame at Lambeau Field. The scalpers are having a hay-day with this one, with most tickets currently listed for $1000-$2500 a seat!

There are a few oddities to the schedule. First, after opening on the road in Chicago, the Packers play four of their next five games at home and then have their bye week! We will see if this additional rest early in the season keeps them fresh, or if it just means that they are far too drained later in the year; I fear the latter may be true.

In weeks 10-13 the Packers play four straight against division rivals. This comes after back to back road games against the 2014 division winning Broncos and Panthers, and precedes one of the biggest games of the year against the Dallas Cowboys. That seven game stretch will be the proving ground for this team.

Finally, the Packers only play one division opponent in the final four weeks of the season. This means the division could be locked up much earlier than usual and the Packers could have their focus on getting that coveted top position in the NFC.

Now, let’s get to the predictions!

Week 1 at Chicago:
The Packers open the season on the road against their long time rivals, the Chicago Bears. A lot is new in Chicago which means there will be some hurdles to get over, and the Packers will take full advantage. The Packers have lost their last three openers, but that streak ends this year. GB 31-20. 1-0

Week 2 vs Seattle:
The home opener might be the most important game of the season and certainly one of the most watched. The key in this one way be the addition of Jimmy Graham, adding a huge red-zone threat. But in the confines of Lambeau, the Packers offense cannot be stopped. This game will deliver everything the fans could ask for; and will end will a Rodgers drive in the final two minutes, down six, to win it. GB 28-27. 2-0

Week 3 vs Kansas City:
This game is being (incorrectly) hyped as the 50
th anniversary of the famed NFL-AFL matchup that Green Bay won 35-10. The point being, this was a couple of generations ago, and this game is not one you want to attend. It will have a very similar result, and Rodgers won’t be playing in the fourth quarter. GB  41-13. 3-0

Week 4 at San Francisco:
The 49ers have had the Packers number the past few seasons, but that is all about to change. This is the only road game the Packers play in a six week stretch that includes four home games and their bye. They will be well rested and will be playing a team that looks vastly different from the ones that beat them in 2012 and 2013. The Packers keep rolling at the expense of a 49ers team that will likely be 1-3. GB 27-16. 4-0

Week 5 vs St. Louis:
I like St. Louis this year and feel that they could continue their improvements; but this is in Green Bay and the Rams still have a long way to go to keep up with the elite in the conference. The Packers might run away with this one. GB 38-16. 5-0

Week 6 vs San Diego:
Assuming that Philip Rivers is still the quarterback for the Chargers, this game will be one that the Packers should not overlook. The Chargers could be coming to town with a very good rookie running back leading their ground game, and one of the better passers in the league helping to keep up with the Packers. This game will come down to turnovers; and at home the Packers are almost perfect. I’ll give a close one to Green Bay: GB 27-24. 6-0

Week 8 at Denver:
The NFL worked their magic on this one. Of course two of the best QBs in the league are going head to head. Of course both QBs have carried the torch for their respective teams since a magical 1998 Super Bowl match-up of their predecessors. And of course the NFL gave both teams a week seven bye to prepare for their biggest game of the year.

This game will give us a chance to see two teams that can put up the points in droves; but it won’t just be Rodgers vs Manning. Expect Lacy vs Anderson to be a great storyline too. Expect the early November Denver weather to be an issue. Expect the unexpected. There is no reason to believe that both of these teams can’t be 6-0 going in to this game. There is no reason to think this wouldn’t be a Super Bowl preview. Get ready for quite the game.

In what might be the most exciting game of the season in the entire NFL, this one goes to OT. The coin flip determines the winner as either QB can drive for the touchdown. My heart says it is Green Bay. GB 37-31. 7-0

Week 9 at Carolina:
This could be a very difficult game for the Packers, similar to their road loss at Buffalo last season. Carolina has a very strong defense and always finds a way to run the ball. They have a mobile QB, which is something the Packers have had trouble with in the past. And the Packers will be drained coming off of a heavyweight battle in Denver. This is the first of two back to back road trips on the season, and this one doesn’t end well. Car 23-17. 7-1

Week 10 vs Detroit:
Following the road loss get ready for a smack down. The Packers play the Lions twice over the next four weeks, and Rodgers will take out his frustrations from week nine in this one. The Lions won’t have an answer. GB 38-20. 8-1

11 at Minnesota: I have to assume that the Vikings will keep AP and continue to develop their young QB. Games in Minnesota are usually closer than they should be based solely on talent. The Packers still come away with the win if they can keep AP under 200 total yards. GB 31-24. 9-1

Week 12 vs Chicago:
The game of the season; the decade; perhaps the greatest game ever. Yes, I am overhyping it, but this is expected to be the game that Brett Favre has his retirement ceremony and his name and number and revealed on the ring of fame. Let’s add to it that this pits two of the league’s oldest franchises. Oh and did I mention this is on Thanksgiving night? This is a recipe for a great game.

But then I am reminded of a few things. The Bears are still starting Jay Cutler, and this is a prime time game in Green Bay. Enough said. Sorry fans, Rodgers might not even finish this game. GB 44-23. 10-1

Week 13 at Detroit:
The Lions have a chance at revenge after a three score loss only three weeks ago. At this point in the season though, they may already need to win out to have a real chance at the playoffs. The deck is stacked against the Lions. GB 24-20. 11-1

Week 14 vs Dallas:
Let’s get ready to rumble! The Cowboys return to the scene of the crime where for Dez Bryant’s non-catch, the correct call was made, but perhaps the rule should read differently (note: the rule does read differently now and it STILL would not be a catch). Folks fail to remember that the Packers would have gotten the ball back with just under 4 minutes left in a game that they were hardly being stopped.

But enough about the past. The Packers and Cowboys will likely both have a lot to play for in this game; perhaps they will even be battling for the top seed in the NFC. These teams match up well, though the loss of Demarco Murray could be a nail in the coffin for the Cowboys. The Packers truly seem to be almost unbeatable at home recently and this will be just another passed test. GB 37-31 in OT. 12-1

Week 15 at Oakland:
The Packers travel west for their final two road games, but get the benefit of playing a Raiders team that could be gunning for another very early pick. There shouldn’t be much interest in this one, although I also don’t see the Packers putting the pedal to the metal. GB 27-16. 13-1

Week 16 at Arizona:
As with their last pair of back to back road games, the Packers face a team they will not match-up with very well at all. Arizona has a strong defense and can control the clock. The Packers will be doing a lot of traveling and it will wear on them. I expect another stumble just before the finish line. AZ 23-20 in OT. 13-2

Week 17 vs Minnesota:
It always feels good to end the year at home. The Packers could be sitting at 13-2 at this point and might not even need a win to wrap up the top seed. If that is the case, this could actually be a very close game as I don’t see the starters playing at all. If however they need to get to 14-2 for the top seed, you can expect them to do just enough to get it done. I predict a close game either way but still think the Packers win their final home game to once again go undefeated at home. GB 20-16. 14-2




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