Sjoberg: Taking a closer look at Green Bay’s 2020 schedule
Ryan Sjoberg | @Ryan_Sjoberg
It’s here! The 2020 NFL schedule is out and we can all start planning the games we want to go to this upcoming season. Let’s dive in and examine the Packers opponents for this year under the assumption there will be football and fans this fall.
When combing through all 17 weeks a trio of things stick out: 1. Green Bay goes on the road early and often, but get plenty of home games late in the season. 2. Week 5 bye… gross. Having to finish out the season with 12 straight games before the playoffs is not ideal. Better be gunning for that number one seed and the first round BYE! And 3. Playing Minnesota Week 1 on the road is an ideal situation. This team lost a ton of players and has an influx of rookies coming in. Pair that with a shortened off-season regimen and the Vikings may struggle out of the gates.
Weather The Storm — Week 6-9 (@TB, @HOU, vs. MIN, @SF)
Coming off the early Week 5 BYE, Green Bay hits the road and is welcomed
back by Tom Brady and company off their first extended rest period as a team. It doesn’t get any easier after that either, as tough games against the Texans (in Houston), Minnesota (coming off a BYE) and culminating with a west coast trip on a short week for a Thursday night prime time game with the 49ers… a game that seems almost unwinnable right now considering how much road teams struggle on Thursday night and how the 49ers ran by, through and around Green Bay last year. The Pack have to stay focused on going 2-2 over the course of these four weeks. If they do that, the playoff chances increase exponentially.
Key Stretch — Weeks 12-16 (vs. CHI, vs. PHI, @DET, vs. CAR, vs. TEN)
With the first eight games the green and gold have, they could very well be a game or two back of the division with six games left. Weeks 12-16 could be the key stretch for the Packers to make up some games as they get four of five at home in late November and December when Lambeau will be cold and rockin’.
Best Home Games For The Travelling Fan
Week 8 vs. Minnesota – Viking/Packer games are always a hoot. Most fans know at least a couple people who root for the rival. This midseason showdown is the last between the two in 2020, meaning it could have division ramifications.
Week 13 vs. Philadelphia – The Eagles coming to Green Bay in December almost always means playoff positioning is up for grabs. These two cornerstone franchises have been playing in big-time match-ups against one another for years and this one might be no different as both are favored to win their respective divisions.
Week 16 vs. Tennessee – The Titans are a fun one because you’ll get to see a unique opponent Green Bay doesn’t play much at home and both could be playing for playoff spots in their conferences. Tennessee, much like Green Bay, fell in the Conference Championship last season and are eager to get back to postseason play. This game might be like time traveling back to 1982 as defenses attempt to bring AJ Dillon and Derrick Henry down in the cold (and possibly snow).
If Matt LaFleur and the Packers can weather the first eight games of the season and go 5-3, they’ll be in great position down the stretch with plenty of home games at their disposal. I see 11-5, with losses coming at New Orleans Week 3, at Houston Week 7, at San Francisco Week 9, at Indianapolis Week 11 and vs. Philadelphia Week 13.