Predicting the Packers Season-Opening Opponent
The NFL just announced its preseason slate, and the regular season schedule won’t be too far behind. Who could the Packers see in Week 1?
There’s no strong way to guess who each team will play to open the regular season. Over the past five seasons, Green Bay’s opening day match ups have become less and less exciting.
The team opened the 2012 and 2013 seasons with highly anticipated contest with the 49ers, while 2014 saw the Packers take on the Seahawks. All of those games featured games between two of the best teams in the NFC.
The 2015 season opened with a somewhat rare division matchup, as the Packers defeated the Bears. But a Chicago team in the middle of a rough stretch proved to not have implications on the back half of the season. Last year featured a ho-hum contest with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Sure, the Packers eked out a win, but it wasn’t a game that had many people talking.
Interestingly, the Packers have not opened a season at home since 2012. So they could be due for a Week 1 game at Lambeau. Which of Green Bay’s 2017 opponents represent good candidates for a season opener?
If Green Bay is forced to open a fifth straight season on the road, the most intriguing match ups would be the Cowboys and Falcons. Both would represent playoff rematches from last season, and could make for potential Sunday Night Football games during Week 1. The Packers and Cowboys, especially, represent two of the league’s biggest fan bases. They’d represent a strong draw for a nationally televised game.
If the Packers get to play at home, both the Saints and Seahawks could be in play. The Seattle-Green Bay rivalry has led to some entertaining games over the past few years. Additionally, both teams should contend again in 2017. However, that might make the league more prone to feature that match up later in the season when the stakes are higher. The Saints, while strong on offense, have struggled the past few seasons. So a potential shoot out between Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees could attract the schedule makers.
While those four games would make for entertaining games that have a national appeal, it’s just as likely that the team draws a less exciting opener with the Browns or Ravens, similar to the Jacksonville game last season.
The 2016 schedule was announced on April 14, so we’re quickly approaching the time when next year’s games are released.