Schedules Help, Hurt Packers

Now facing a battle just to get in the playoffs, Green Bay — as well as its NFC North rivals — have easy schedules.

The Green Bay Packers don't have much margin for error as they face at least three or four games without former MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

Entering Sunday's game against Philadelphia, Green Bay is 5-3. Officially, the Packers are in third place in the NFC North and in eighth place in the NFC.

The Packers have a fighting chance these next three weeks based on the schedule. They host the Eagles (4-5) on Sunday, followed by a road game against the Giants (2-6) and a home game against Minnesota (2-7).

Green Bay can't count on the schedule, however, as the other NFC North contenders are facing a cushy schedule, as well. Other than games against Chicago and Green Bay, Detroit doesn't face a winning team the rest of the season. Other than games against Detroit and Green Bay, Chicago faces only one team (at home vs. Dallas) with a winning record.

Moreover, Green Bay's games against Detroit on Thanksgiving and Chicago in Week 17 will be played away from Lambeau Field. The Bears, on the other hand, get the Lions (on Sunday) and Packers (Week 17) at home. That's a tremendous advantage.

Here's the remaining schedule among the NFC North's three contenders.

Chicago: Detroit (5-3), Baltimore (3-5), at St. Louis (3-6), at Minnesota (2-7), Dallas (5-4), at Cleveland (4-5), at Philadelphia (4-5), Green Bay (5-3). Total: 31-38.

Detroit: at Chicago (5-4), at Pittsburgh (2-6), Tampa Bay (0-8), Green Bay (5-3), at Philadelphia (4-5), Baltimore (3-5), N.Y. Giants (2-6), at Minnesota (2-7). Total: 23-44.

Green Bay: Philadelphia (4-5), at N.Y. Giants (2-6), Minnesota (2-7), at Detroit (5-3), Atlanta (2-6), at Dallas (5-4), Pittsburgh (2-6), at Chicago (5-3). Total: 27-40.

With Rodgers at quarterback, the Packers would have been a heavy favorite these next three weeks and probably a slight favorite at Detroit. Now, with Seneca Wallace, nothing is certain and every game is vital considering all could play a role in end-of-season tiebreakers. The Packers need to win as many of these next three games as possible to build up some margin for error should Wallace be the starter at Detroit.


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.


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