Road warriors: Packers face tough stretch

Successful away from home last year, the Green Bay Packers will be tested on the road during the middle part of their schedule this season. The NFL announced the 2005 schedule today, and the Packers face a challenging stretch of games between late October and early December away from Lambeau Field.<p>

The Packers also will open their 2005 season on the road at Ford Field in Detroit against the Lions on Sept. 11.

After playing three of four games at Lambeau Field, beginning with the home opener on Sept. 18 against the Cleveland Browns, the Packers get a bye in Week 6. The Packers, who went 6-2 on the road last year, then will play five of their next seven games away from home, beginning with the Minnesota Vikings on Oct. 23 and Cincinnati Bengals (Oct. 30). Four of the five road games in that stretch are against NFC opponents, including the Atlanta Falcons (Nov. 13), Philadelphia Eagles (Nov. 27), and Chicago Bears (Dec. 4). In between those five road games are home games on Nov. 6 against the Pittsburgh Steelers and Nov. 21 against the Vikings.

The team's Gold Package home games are in Week 2 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Sept. 25) and Week 11 against the Vikings (Nov. 21).

Eight of the final nine games on the Green Bay schedule in 2005 will be broadcast nationally. And three of the team's final four games will be played at Lambeau Field.

In a contrast to the finish of the 2004 season when they played on Christmas Eve, the Packers will be in Green Bay for the holidays this season as they close out with a pair of Lambeau Field contests on Christmas Day (against Chicago, 4 p.m. CDT start) and New Year's Day (against Seattle, 3:15 p.m. CDT start).

One of Green Bay's three Monday Night Football games will be at Lambeau Field, Nov. 21 against Minnesota. The Packers travel to play the Carolina Panthers (Oct. 3) and Baltimore Ravens (Dec. 19) on MNF. This will mark the third straight season and the eighth time in team history that the Pack has played in the maximum amount of Monday Night contests.

Last season, the Packers (10-6 in the regular season) were 2-1 on MNF, opening the season with a 24-14 victory at Carolina, a 48-27 loss at home to the Tennessee Titans, and a 45-17 shellacking of the St. Louis Rams at Lambeau Field, raising Green Bay's record to 9-3 on Monday nights under Head Coach Mike Sherman.

Additionally, the Packers will host the Lions in an ESPN Sunday Night telecast in December. The Packers were victorious in their lone Sunday night outing in 2004, beating the Texans 16-13 in Houston.

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