The NFL schedule-makers were fairly gracious with Green Bay. The Packers are never on the road for more than two straight weeks during the season. They also play two of their first three games at home. Because of their 13-3 regular season last year, Green Bay will play three Monday Night Football games, and one on Sunday night, and at least two 3:15 p.m. starts.
Of course, during the NFL season, it's not who you play but when you play them due to the injury factor. For now, we have place that factor to the side and base Green Bay's opponents on how they finished last year. With that in mind, here's an early bird prediction:
Week 1: Packers 24, Vikings 17 - Look for Green Bay to open its season with a win over the Vikings, who were 8-8 in 2008 and swept away by Green Bay. The Aaron Rodgers era gets off to a good start on Monday Night Football as the Packers usher in the new season at Lambeau Field.
Week 2: Packers 28, Lions 10 The Lions are coming off a 7-9 season, including getting swept by Green Bay. Maybe Detroit will be improved but probably not. Green Bay goes to 2-0 with an easy victory at Ford Field.
Week 3: Packers 27, Cowboys 20 - The Packers will be out for revenge and the Lambeau Field crowd will be pumped up for this Sunday night game. Remember when the Packers dominated the Cowboys 45-17 on Nov. 23, 1997 at Lambeau Field? That came after years of frustrating losses at Texas Stadium. Well, the Packers had a another frustrating loss (37-27) there last year, but they've got the Cowboys, 13-3 in 2007, at home this time under the nation's spotlight.
Week 4: Bucs 23, Packers 20 - Tampa Bay is coming off a NFC South Division-winning 9-7 season and are expected to make the playoffs this year. The Packers probably will get nipped at the finish line for their first loss of the year and drop to 3-1.
Week 5: Packers 35, Falcons 14 - Memo to Brett Favre: Hey, Brett, how about scheduling your jersey retirement for this game? The hapless Falcons, the team that traded Favre to the Packers, will be in Green Bay for a noon game that will be undoubtedly perfect football weather. With Atlanta coming off a 4-12 season, the Packers will celebrate with Favre in grand style.
Week 6: Seahawks 27, Packers 17 - Seattle, which won the mediocre NFC West Division last season with a 10-6 record, probably will send the Packers to their second loss of the season. Matt Hasselbeck simply gets the edge over Rodgers in this game, especially with the game being played at noisy Qwest Field. Green Bay slips to 4-2.
Week 7: Colts 35, Packers 24 - The Packers will probably be underdogs against Peyton Manning's Colts. Green Bay will give it a good try but the Colts (13-3 last year) win the shootout as the Packers fall to 4-3 before the break.
Week 8: bye - Green Bay has been blessed in recent seasons with the bye coming near the middle of the season. Great time for a bye!
Week 9: Titans 31, Packers 21 - The Packers have yet to win a game at Tennessee during the regular season. That won't change as the Vince Young-led Titans (10-6 in 2007) upend the Packers, who fall to 4-4.
Week 10: Packers 28, Vikings 27 – The Packers snap their three-game losing streak in the Metrodome by edging the Vikings on Mason Crosby's late field goal for a win and second-straight season sweep. The Packers-Vikings matchups have always been close in recent seasons and this battle will be no different.
Week 11: Packers 34, Bears 13 - The Packers remember getting swept by the Bears in 2007 and strike back with a solid win at Lambeau Field. Green Bay improves to 6-4 with its second straight victory.
Week 12: Saints 27, Packers 21 - Green Bay plays on Monday Night Football for the second time in the season against Reggie Bush and the Saints, who were a disappointing 7-9 in 2007. New Orleans is expected to bounce back this season and probably will upend the Packers in the Superdome.
Week 13: Packers 20, Panthers 10 - Green Bay returns to Lambeau Field for a Sunday noon game and tames the Panthers (7-9 in 2007) to improve to 7-5 and stay in the hunt for the division title.
Week 14: Packers 23, Texans 13 - Houston makes its first-ever appearance in Lambeau Field and the Packers will enter December with a victory. For whatever reason that first weekend in December is typically very frigid in Green Bay, which won't sit well with the warm-weather Texans (8-8 in 2007). Packers go to 8-5.
Week 15: Jaguars 33, Packers 17 - Jacksonville, 11-5 in 2007, is expected to be a playoff contender this season. The Packers will run into a buzz saw in Florida and fall to 8-6. Look for this game to be "flexed" by the NFL to a later start, or even a night game.
Week 16: Packers 24, Bears 23 - Looks like this game will be for all the marbles in the NFC North. The networks apparently agree, too. The Packers and Bears will clash on Monday night in the Windy City in what will be a hard-fought battle, but look for Green Bay to win ugly in this one to gain an edge on the Bears with one game to go in the regular season.
Week 17: Packers 33, Lions 13 - The Packers close out the regular season and wrap up the division title by thumping the Lions at Lambeau Field to sew up a playoff berth and finish with a 10-6 record.
Playoffs: With at least one game at home, there is no reason why the Packers should not be able to advance to the divisional round. Depending who they play, the Packers may end their season there, or possibly advance to the NFC Championship Game. Stay tuned!