The NFL will unveil their glorious 2016 scheduled this evening. What does that schedule hold in store for the Green Bay Packers?
It’s pointless to try to guess the entire 17-week slate, but we can certainly make an educated guess on the team’s week 1 opponent. We’re going with the Seattle Seahawks.
Before we tell you why, here are the Packers’ 2016 opponents.
Division: Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions and Minnesota Vikings.
Home: Dallas Cowboys, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, New York Giants and Seattle Seahawks.
Away: Atlanta Falcons, Jacksonville Jaguars, Philadelphia Eagles, Tennessee Titans and Washington Redskins.
A number of factors.
First, the Packers have opened on the road each of the past three seasons. They’ve played at Chicago, at Seattle and at San Francisco going back to 2013.
You’d think it’s high time the Packers actually got to play week 1 in their own stadium. Let’s start there.
First, we’re throwing out the division. The Packers just opened with the Bears, the Lions aren’t a desirable matchup and the Vikings, while expected to open on the road, will likely get their home opener against the Packers in week 2.
If you’re curious why Green Bay at Minnesota in week 2, it’s because the Vikings are expected to open their new stadium then. The team wants a week to work out any kinks after the preseason, putting the Vikings away for week 1. They also want the Packers for the home opener and since the taxpayers of that state ponied up for that stadium, we expect the Vikings to get what they want.
That leaves us with five possibilities.
It also brings us to our second consideration — the marquee matchup.
The Packers open with a marquee game just about every season. The last three openers featured the oldest rivalry in the game and a pair of Super Bowl contenders.
Who fits that bill this year and is on the home schedule?
We’d argue only the Seattle Seahawks.
While a draw, Dallas was 4-12 last season. The Colts were once thought to be a Super Bowl contender, but they were bad with and without Andrew Luck in 2015.
Seattle is the cream of that crop and, we would argue, they are currently the Packers’ biggest non-division rival.
That makes for a meaty opening-weekend game.
Is it possible the Packers could open on the road for a fourth year in a row?
Anything is possible. It may even be likely if someone in the organization has concerns about the condition of Lambeau Field with the Wisconsin Badgers playing LSU there on September 3.
We have our doubts that would be a consideration — the Packers have played enough back-to-back home games to make any concern there moot.
Just to play devil’s advocate, we like Washington in week 1 if the Packers go on the road. They’re the only 2015 playoff team on the away slate other than the Vikings.