Wednesday, April 18, 2012

First Look at 2012 Green Bay Packers Schedule

It would be easy for me to say that the 2012 Green Bay Packers should go 16-0, which they realistically could, but that would negate any reason to actually go through their schedule game-by-game. So let's assume just for a few minutes that the Packers actually lose a regulars season game or two, as you will see, there aren't many stumbling blocks on their schedule:

Sunday, September 9th (3:15 pm on FOX) v. 49ers: Midway through 2011 this looked like a possible NFC Championship preview, unfortunately the Packers couldn't hold up their end of the bargain. The Packers get a chance to take care of some unfinished business from 2011 to start 2012. After the 49ers unsuccessfully chased Peyton Manning they settled for re-signing Alex Smith, which has a chance to divide the locker room. I may be in the minority but I see the Packers winning this one comfortably.

Thursday, September 13th (7:20 pm on NFL Network) v. Bears: How ridiculous is it that the Packers and Bears open the season on Sunday but have to turn around and play a divisional game just four days later? The Bears play the Colts at home at noon while the Packers host the 49ers at 3:15. Despite playing later on Sunday, I like the Packers chances merely because they get to play at home following the short week.

Monday, September 24th (7:30 pm on ESPN) at Seattle: Mentor meets mentee times two in the Mentor/Mentee Bowl. Assuming both Rodgers and Flynn are healthy heading into this game, ESPN will run the Rodgers v. Flynn story line into the ground. I actually think the bigger mentor/mentee match-up is going on in the front office between the general mangers. Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson's former protege John Schneider is now the Seattle Seahawks general manager. Schneider likes to tinker with his roster ala Ron Wolf more than Thompson so he has already put his stamp on the Seahawks roster in just two short years. Despite the tinkering, Schneider doesn't have as much talent on his roster as Thompson does so I see Thompson and Rodgers beating Schneider and Flynn to win the Mentor/Mentee Bowl.

Sunday, September 30th (3:15 pm on FOX) v. Saints: Unfortunately the bounty talk will get drummed up again when the Saints travel to Green Bay for the second year in a row because the Packers wanted to hire two of the principles involved in the bounty scandal: suspended head coach Sean Payton and suspended former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. Both Payton and Williams choose New Orleans instead of Green Bay. The Packers ended up with Mike McCarthy and Dom Capers instead. Since both teams have one Super Bowl ring under the current/suspended regimes, I would say the Packers lucked out getting McCarthy/Capers instead of Payton/Williams. I see the Packers keeping their record perfect against the Saints to improve to 4-0 hopefully in front of Cheesehead Chick, Mama Cheese, Papa Cheese, my in-laws, and me.

Sunday, October 7th (Noon on FOX) at Colts: As crazy as it was to see someone other than Brett Favre quarterbacking the Packers, the franchise was able to move from one hall of fame quarterback to another. Thanks to playing horrible sans Peyton Manning last year, Colts fans got used to seeing someone other than Manning play quarterback for the Colts. In fact the 2011 Indianapolis Colts played so bad that they "earned" the first pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. Scouts claim that former Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck is about as sure of a things as Manning or Elway. If all the hype is true, much like the Packers, the Colts have a chance to move from one hall-of-fame quarterback to another. Luck may be good down the road but he does not bring enough to the table in 2012 to lead the Colts over the Packers so I see the Packers continuing their perfect start to the 2012 season.

Sunday, October 14th (7:20 om on NBC) at Texans: Despite losing all-world pass rusher Mario Williams, a player I vociferously advocated for the Packers to sign, the Texans still look like a legitimate playoff threat heading into 2012 so I see this as the first stumbling block for Packers.

Sunday, October 21st (Noon on FOX) at Rams: Last season I thought Rams quarterback Sam Bradford was poised for a breakout year but that never came to fruition. Unless Bradford makes the jump a year later than I expected, the Rams look like a perfect antidote for the Packers after suffering a loss the previous week to the Texans. Just on quarterback talent alone I see the Packers improving to 6-1.

Sunday, October 28th (Noon on CBS) v. Jaguars: New Jaguars owner Shad Khan actually seems committed to keeping the Jaguars in Jacksonville, in part, because this self-made billionaire made a good chunk of his money selling auto parts in Jacksonville. That's where to good news ends for the Jaguars. The Packers should win this one going away in their first home game in a little less than a month.

Sunday, November 4th (Noon on FOX) v. Cardinals: Cheesehead retirees are salty that the Packers are playing the Cardinals at home instead of on the road. Although the Cardinals finished 2011 strong, they look like a pretender as opposed to a contender in 2012. Hopefully the Packers stay focused and do not look ahead to their bye week because the Packers are a much better team on paper than the Cardinals. I see the Packers taking care of business so that means they will be 8-1 heading into their bye week.

Sunday, November 11th - Bye week: Worst weekend of the fall.

Sunday, November 18th (Noon on FOX) at Lions: After a ton of non-divisional games the Packers finally get back on the NFC North train. The Lions were a guaranteed win for most of my adult life but after finally dumping Matt Millen the Lions are suddenly a threat to win the NFC North. Despite coming off a bye, I actually see the Packers losing to the Lions.

Sunday, November 25th (7:20 pm on NBC) at Giants: I hate the Giants. The last two home Packer playoff games I attended (2007 NFC Championship Game with Fernando and the 2011 Divisional Round Game with Papa Cheese) ended in losses to the Giants so I want to see the Packers avenge those losses any way possible. Although winning a regular season road game in no way makes up for multiple post-season home losses, a win over the Giants would give the Packers a much better chance of hosting a playoff game against the Giants. Call this wishful thinking but I see the Packers beating the Giants to improve to 9-2 and possibly setting up a "3rd times a charm" home playoff game against the Giants.

Sunday, December 2nd (Noon on FOX) v. Vikings: It seems crazy to me that the Packers don't play their divisional "foe" at least once until December. My simple solution for the NFL is to make three divisional weeks at the beginning and end of the season. I am guessing this will never happen though because it makes too much sense. Leaving the schedule issues aside, I see the Packers steam rolling the Vikings at Lambeau Field to improve to 10-2.

Sunday, December 9th (7:20 pm on NBC) v. Lions: After losing to the Lions earlier in the season I see the Packers enacting revenge and winning their 22nd consecutive game over the Lions in Cheesehead country.

Sunday, December 16th (Noon on FOX) at Bears: Usually this game is played in the first few weeks of the season but the NFL flipped the script so now the Packers have to travel Chicago late in the season. Normally my uncles are nice enough to give me their tickets to this game. In fact I am almost positive that I've attended every Packers/Bears game in Chicago since the space ship landed at Soldier Field. I have a feeling the Bears and Packers will be fighting each other for the NFC North crown so unless I pick up tickets on Stubhub, I see my streak coming to an end. Unfortunately I also see the Packers losing this one to the Bears to fall to 11-3.

Sunday, December 23rd (Noon on CBS) v. Titans: This game sets up to be a potentially tough game at the end of the season. Much like not playing the Vikings until the beginning of December, it seems silly to me that the Packers play a non-conference team the second last week of the season. Fortunately if the Packers trip up, a non-conference loss is the best possible loss but losing at home this late in the season is never a good thing. As such, I see the Packers dismantling the Matt "We'll take the ball and score" Hasselbeck to improve to 12-3.

Sunday, December 30th (Noon on FOX) at Vikings: If the Packers have to close the season on the road against a divisional foe, I would much rather the Packers travel to the Humpty Dumpty Dome instead of Ford Field or Soldier Field. Plus we might have to relish these Packers/Vikings divisional games because if the state of Minnesota can't get a stadium deal sorted out the Minnesota Vikings might become the Los Angeles Vikings. Either way the Vikings will be in full tank mode at this point, the question is whether the Packers will be jockeying for playoff position or already have home field advantage locked up. If 2011 is our guide, hopefully the Packers play this game like it matters so they enter the playoffs on a roll like 2010 instead of a whimper like 2011.

Obviosuly I can't predict injuries but if Aaron Rodgers and Company stay healthy I see the 2012 Green Bay Packers going at least 13-3 and winning the NFC North for the second year in a row.

Check back over the next few weeks for my wall-to-wall coverage of the 2012 NFL Draft.

Related Posts:
- Sunday Funday - 2012 Free Agent Shopping Guide for Ted Thompson
- Wednesday What (Should) Happen - Advice for Ted Thompson

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