An Insider's Look at 2012 Packers' Schedule

In this version of the schedule, we provide much more than the dates and times. Instead, we provide the inside scoop on each of this season's opponents.

WEEK 1: vs. San Francisco 49ers


Date: Sunday, Sept. 9. Time: 3:15 p.m. TV: Fox.

2011 record: 13-3. Points scored: 380 (11th). Points against: 229 (2nd).

Noteworthy: After a run of eight consecutive non-winning seasons, the 49ers vaulted back into the NFL consciousness and are eager to take the next step. Their defense features All-Pros Patrick Willis, NaVorro Bowman and Justin Smith, and the offense added some oomph with free-agent signings Randy Moss, Mario Manningham and Brandon Jacobs. The series: The Packers have won eight straight, including 34-16 at Lambeau in 2010.


WEEK 2: vs. Chicago Bears


Date: Thursday, Sept. 13. Time: 7:20 p.m. TV: NFL Network.

2011 record: 8-8. Points scored: 353 (17th). Points against: 341 (14th).

Noteworthy: A couple years ago, the Bears hitched their wagon to Jay Cutler. Now, he has some weapons. Chicago had arguably the worst receiver corps in the league — especially after Johnny Knox's injury — but upgraded by sending two third-round picks to Miami for Brandon Marshall. Plus, they have a dynamic backfield one-two punch with Matt Forte and Michael Bush. The series: The Packers have won four straight over Chicago at Lambeau.


WEEK 3: at Seattle Seahawks


Date: Monday, Sept. 24. Time: 7:30 p.m. TV: ESPN.

2011 record: 7-9. Points scored: 321 (23rd). Points against: 315 (7th).

Noteworthy: It will be a teacher-vs.-pupil matchup of sorts when Aaron Rodgers takes on Matt Flynn. That's assuming Flynn can beat out Tavaris Jackson. OK, you can assume that. Running back Marshawn Lynch provides balance. Seattle must correct its No. 31 ranking in penalties but is on track on defense (from 25th to seventh in points allowed). The series: The Packers, who are 6-0 in road openers under coach Mike McCarthy, are 2-2 all-time at Seattle.


WEEK 4: vs. New Orleans Saints


Date: Sunday, Sept. 30. Time: 3:15 p.m. TV: Fox.

2011 record: 13-3. Points scored: 547 (2nd). Points against: 339 (13th).

Noteworthy: The Saints will feature a new-look defense since the Packers won last year's season-opening shootout, 42-34. Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams jumped to St. Louis but was suspended indefinitely for his role in the bounty scandal. Meanwhile, the Saints signed linebackers Curtis Lofton, David Hawthorne and Chris Chamberlain along with defensive tackle Brodrick Bunkley. The series: Since McCarthy and the suspended Sean Payton took over their clubs, the Packers (63-33) and Saints (62-34) boast the NFC's best records.


WEEK 5: at Indianapolis Colts


Date: Sunday, Oct. 7. Time: noon. TV: Fox.

2011 record: 2-14. Points scored: 243 (28th). Points against: 430 (28th).

Noteworthy: It's a strange sight without Peyton Manning, Jeff Saturday, Dallas Clark, Gary Brackett, Melvin Bullitt and Joseph Addai in the locker room. Rather than two locker stalls reading "Manning 18" it's "Harvey 54" and "McGlynn 75," for linebacker Mario Harvey and guard Mike McGlynn. The series: The Packers and Colts are tied 20-20-1. Manning, who led the Colts to nine consecutive playoff berths, went 1-2 against Green Bay. The Colts will be coming off of their bye.


WEEK 6: at Houston Texans


Date: Sunday, Oct. 14. Time: 7:20 p.m. TV: NBC.

2011 record: 10-6. Points scored: 381 (10th). Points against: 278 (4th).

Noteworthy: If not for quarterback Matt Schaub's season-ending foot injury, the Texans might have won the AFC championship. Still, Houston earned its first playoff berth behind rookie third-stringer T.J. Yates. Incredibly, the Texans went 3-2 and allowed 19.0 points per game with Mario Williams and went 7-4 and allowed 16.6 without him. The series: The teams have split two previous matchups. Both wins have come on the road, with Green Bay beating Dom Capers' Texans 16-13 in 2004.


WEEK 7: at St. Louis Rams


Date: Sunday, Oct. 21. Time: noon. TV: Fox.

2011 record: 2-14 Points scored: 193 (32nd). Points against: 407 (26th).

Noteworthy: Losing defensive coordinator Gregg Williams to a league suspension was a major blow for new coach Jeff Fisher. "I called plays as a defensive coordinator for a number of years," Fisher said. "So as you turn your defense over from Steve Sidwell to Gregg Williams to Jim Schwartz to Chuck Cecil, you're always going to stay involved in it." The addition of Scott Wells should help Sam Bradford rebound from a sophomore slump. The series: McCarthy led the Packers to wins at St. Louis in 2007 and 2009, both by 19 points.


WEEK 8: vs. Jacksonville Jaguars


Date: Sunday, Oct. 28. Time: noon. TV: CBS.

2011 record: 5-11. Points scored: 243 (28th). Points against: 329 (11th).

Noteworthy: The Jaguars have been rebuilding since 1999 and in 2012 ... they're finally ready to rebuild again. Jacksonville is trying to find out if Blaine Gabbert can be a legitimate quarterback or if he'll be yet another first-round bust, and they're hoping that their sixth-ranked defense from a season ago can equal their 2011 exploits to keep one of the league's worst offenses competitive in games. The series: The wind chill was minus-12 when the Jaguars won their only trip to Green Bay, 28-25 in 2004.


WEEK 9: vs. Arizona Cardinals


Date: Sunday, Nov. 4. Time: noon. TV: Fox.

2011 record: 8-8. Points scored: 312 (24th). Points against: 348 (17th).

Noteworthy: The Cardinals paid a heavy price for Kevin Kolb — six years for $65 million, plus a second-round pick and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. For that, Kolb produced a 3-6 record. John Skelton, a fifth-round pick out of Fordham in 2010, led the team to a 5-2 mark. All of the wins came in come-from-behind fashion. How's this: The Cardinals have been outscored in 30 of their last 35 seasons. The series: The Packers are 13-5 in games before their bye, including wins in each of the last four seasons.


WEEK 10: Bye


Date: Sunday, Nov. 11.

Noteworthy: Including last year's win at San Diego, the Packers are 5-1 following regular-season bye weeks under coach Mike McCarthy. That record does not include last year's playoff loss to the Giants. The Packers are 38-20 (.655) under McCarthy during the post-bye segments of the schedule. That compares to 25-13 (.658) before the bye.


WEEK 11: at Detroit Lions


Date: Sunday, Nov. 18. Time: noon. TV: Fox.

2011 record: 10-6. Points scored: 474 (4th). Points against: 387 (23rd).

Noteworthy: The Lions escaped their Matt Millen-induced funk by posting their first winning season since 2000, first playoff berth since 1999 and first 10-win season since 1995. With Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson, the Lions rallied from 13-plus-point deficits to win six times last year. Still, they went 0-5 against the league's best teams. The series: The Packers are 7-3 at Ford Field, including 5-1 under McCarthy.


WEEK 12: at New York Giants


Date: Sunday, Nov. 25. Time: 7:20 p.m. TV: NBC.

2011 record: 9-7. Points scored: 394 (9th). Points against: 400 (25th).

Noteworthy: The Giants became the first NFL champion to allow more points than it scored. According to ColdHardFootballFacts.com, 30 teams in the Super Bowl era reached the playoffs while being outscored. Those teams went 23-29 in the playoffs, and only three won more than one playoff game. Eli Manning set a NFL record with five road playoff victories. The series: The Packers are 2-0 at MetLife Stadium, including 38-35 over the Giants in Week 13 of last season. In this matchup, the Giants are coming off of their bye week.


WEEK 13: vs. Minnesota Vikings


Date: Sunday, Dec. 2. Time: noon. TV: Fox.

2011 record: 3-13. Points scored: 340 (19th). Points against: 449 (31st).

Noteworthy: The overhaul is under way in Minnesota. The Vikings will have a revamped offensive line that could have three new starters, a new starting tight end, a quarterback with 10 starts under his belt and a defense that has seen nearly as many changes. It's Christian Ponder's game now, and the success of the rebuild will lie largely on the second-year quarterback's shoulders. The series: For the first time in the 50-year history of the series, both clashes will come in December. Last year's 45-7 romp over Minnesota at Lambeau was the most lopsided in the 102-game history of the rivalry.


WEEK 14: vs. Detroit Lions


Date: Sunday, Dec. 9. Time: 7:20 p.m. TV: NBC.

2011 record: 10-6. Points scored: 474 (4th). Points against: 387 (23rd).

Quoteworthy: "Last year is last year and this year is this year," GM Martin Mayhew said. "Look around the league and a lot of teams went out and improved themselves. Every year there are teams that make the playoffs and there is a big turnover the following year. We want to be one of those teams that are in the playoffs every year." The series: Green Bay has won 20 straight against Detroit in Wisconsin, including last year's 45-41 shootout. The 1,125 combined yards of offense was second-most in NFL history.


WEEK 15: at Chicago Bears


Date: Sunday, Dec. 16. Time: noon. TV: Fox.

2011 record: 8-8. Points scored: 353 (17th). Points against: 341 (14th).

Quoteworthy: "On paper, we're a better football team than we were last year at the end of the season," Brian Urlacher said. "Now we just have to go out there and do it. I'm excited about that. Phil Emery knows what he's doing, obviously: getting Brandon Marshall and Michael Bush, and Matt (Forte) is coming back." The series: The Packers have won 14 of the last 18 at Soldier Field and have swept the series in two of the past three seasons.


WEEK 16: vs. Tennessee Titans


Date: Sunday, Dec. 23. Time: noon. TV: CBS.

2011 record: 9-7. Points scored: 325 (21st). Points against: 317 (8th).

Noteworthy: The Titans failed to land Peyton Manning so will stick with Matt Hasselbeck. To take the next step, running back Chris Johnson needs a bounce-back season after rushing for "just" 1,047 yards and four touchdowns. They upgraded the league's 31st-ranked pass rush by signing Kamerion Wimbley. Their special teams ranked fourth in the league. The series: Something will have to give: The Titans have won three straight in the series but the Packers are 6-0 in home finales under McCarthy.


WEEK 17: at Minnesota Vikings


Date: Sunday, Dec. 30. Time: noon. TV: Fox.

2011 record: 3-13. Points scored: 340 (19th). Points against: 449 (31st).

Quoteworthy: "He needs time," coach Leslie Frazier said of quarterback Christian Ponder, "and we've got to surround him with the right weapons in key spots and make sure that our offensive line is the way we need it to be so that he doesn't begin to get happy feet and lose confidence." The series: The Packers haven't closed a regular season at Minnesota since 1991 and 1992 (a 27-7 win and a 27-7 loss). Green Bay is 25-25 at Minnesota and 14-15 at the Metrodome.



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