There is a buzz in the air following the announcement of the National Football League schedule for the 2014 season and the Green Bay Packers are feeling it as much as anyone, after learning they will begin 2014 on the road against Super Bowl Champion Seattle on Thursday Night Football to kickoff the season.
It’s easy to get focused on the first game of the season but truth to be told, it’s much more useful to take a look at the 16-game slate as a whole. For starters, the Packers are facing a difficult stretch to open the season with four of their first six and five of their first eight games on the road.
These road trips include the visit to Seattle, as well as trips to Detroit, Chicago, Miami and New Orleans — five teams that either made or contended for the playoffs in 2013.
However, having a bunch of road games early means Green Bay will enjoy plenty of home cooking late in the year. Following their bye during Week 9, the Packers will play four of five and five of their last eight games at home.
In all the Packers will face five teams that made the postseason in 2013; the Seahawks, Panthers, Saints, Eagles and Patriots.
Now that we have taken a look at the schedule and broken things down in a broad sense, here are the Packers Guru game-by-game predictions for Green Bay’s 2014 season:
Week 1 Green Bay at Seattle (L) – This is going to be a very tough game for the Packers. Not only is Seattle very, very good at home but this is the night they hang their Super Bowl banner. Road teams have historically struggled in the opening game against the defending champs and even though Green Bay is good enough to play with Seattle, expect a hard-fought loss in this one.
Week 2 New York Jets at Green Bay (W) – The Packers will get 10 days off after opening the season at Seattle on a Thursday night, which will give them plenty of time to get ready for the new look New York Jets. It will be interesting to see if Michael Vick or Geno Smith is the starting QB but either way it won’t matter, Green Bay wins handily.
Week 3 Green Bay at Detroit (W) – Aaron Rodgers has never lost to Detroit when he has started and played the entire game. He did start in a 2010 road loss to Detroit but was sidelined in the second quarter with a concussion. Other than that game, Rodgers is 10-0 all-time against the Lions, so expect the Packers to get their first road win of 2014 here and avoid a 1-2 start for the third straight season.
Week 4 Green Bay at Chicago (W) – The Bears should push the Packers more than any other team in the NFC North Division in 2014, so this early season matchup at Solider Field will be critical. This is a must win game for the Bears if they want to hang with Green Bay in the divisional race. Rodgers is 5-2 on the road against the Bears and the Packers have won four straight in Chicago. Expect that trend to continue.
Week 5 Minnesota at Green Bay (W) – The Vikings come to Lambeau for Sunday Night Football in Week 5 and unless Minnesota has found a franchise quarterback by then, this should be another Green Bay victory.
Week 6 Green Bay at Miami (W) – The Dolphins have flirted with the playoffs in each of the past two seasons and this could be a trap game for the Packers with two key NFC showdowns to follow. But in the end, the Packers have the advantage at head coach and quarterback and that will for another win.
Week 7 Carolina at Green Bay (W) – The Panthers had a great 2013 season but proved in the playoffs that they weren’t ready for prime time. Their defense is tough and this one won’t be easy but the Packers should pull out a squeaker.
Week 8 Green Bay at New Orleans (L) – The SuperDome is one of the toughest places in the NFL to earn a road win and despite the fact that the Packers enter this game on a six-game win streak, the prediction here is they hit a wall before the bye week and drop a game to Drew Brees and the Saints in the Big Easy.
Week 10 Chicago at Green Bay (W) – The Bears will be out for revenge in this game and both teams will be coming off their bye week, so it should be a great matchup. Yet, the Packers are just about unbeatable at home when Rodgers is under center and he guides them to another win here.
Week 11 Philadelphia at Green Bay (W) – The Eagles took advantage of the Packers when Rodgers was sidelined in 2013 but it won’t happen again this season, the Packers get their own revenge and down the Eagles.
Week 12 Green Bay at Minnesota (L) – This will be the first time Green Bay has played an outdoor game in Minnesota in over 30 years as the Vikings are playing at the University of Minnesota’s stadium, while their new stadium is under construction. In what could be a dismal season for the Vikings, they get their best win of the year in Week 12 with a home upset of the Packers.
Week 13 New England at Green Bay (W) – In what should be an all-time great matchup between Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady, the Packers pull out a close one in a game that will be must see TV.
Week 14 Atlanta at Green Bay (W) – Late in the year and hopefully with snow on the ground, the Falcons come into Lambeau for a Monday Night showdown. Green Bay is tough enough to beat at home without the weather conditions being in their favor and at this time of year it’s hard to see Atlanta besting the Packers.
Week 15 Green Bay at Buffalo (W) – The weather could be very nasty for this game in Buffalo, which could make for a more competitive game than expected. Yet, even though it may not be easy — winning on the road in the NFL never is, Green Bay comes away with the win.
Week 16 Green Bay at Tampa Bay (L) – For some reason the Packers struggle in Tampa, Rodgers is 0-2 there as a starter. Green Bay should be the better team with the better record at this point but Lovie Smith knows the Packers and could have the Bucs fighting for a playoff spot. At the end of the day, the Packers get a pre-playoff wakeup call by losing to Lovie in Tampa.
Week 17 Detroit at Green Bay (W) – Detroit hasn’t won in Green Bay in over 20 years and that won’t change in 2014 as the Packers end the season on a high note.
When it’s all said and done, the Packers Guru sees Green Bay posting a 12-4 regular season record and capturing their fourth consecutive NFC North Championship.
I’d love to hear your thoughts so feel free to respond by commenting below.