Kicking It Off At Philadelphia

Schedule highlights include a Sunday night game vs. the Vikings at Lambeau Field among four prime-time games, a Week 10 bye (and a challenging slate of games before and after the break), and back-to-back home games to conclude the regular season.

Aaron Rodgers replaced the legendary Brett Favre in Green Bay. Kevin Kolb will replace the legendary Donovan McNabb in Philadelphia.

Those two quarterbacks will square off in Week 1 of the 2010 season, with the Green Bay Packers visiting the Eagles. And speaking of Favre, he might be under center when the Minnesota Vikings visit Lambeau Field for a "Sunday Night Football" showdown on Oct. 24.

Those games — along with prime-time clashes vs. Chicago (Monday) in Week 3, Dallas (Sunday) in Week 9 and New England (Sunday) in Week 15 — highlight the NFL schedule that was released on Tuesday evening.

"It is a privilege to play prime-time football," coach Mike McCarthy said in a press release. "I think it's a reflection of how we're looked upon as an organization by the National Football League and the networks. It's always exciting to play in those big games, and more importantly, it's great to be able to share it with our fans across the world."

Some noteworthy nuggets:

— The Packers have opened 30 of their last 40 seasons at Lambeau Field, so a road opener is a rarity. During that stretch, the Packers are 7-3 in season-opening road games.

— The Packers finish the season with back-to-back home games: vs. the New York Giants and Chicago Bears. Last season, three of their last four games were away from home.

— Gold package games (for Milwaukee season-ticket holders) are, as usual, the second and fifth home games. That means Detroit and Dallas.

— The Packers play just once on Monday night, which is great because that means only one short week. The Monday game is Chicago, with a home game vs. Detroit to follow.

— In another break for the Packers, they get their bye week before going to Minnesota on Nov. 21. The Vikings will have played at Chicago the week before.

— The bye comes much later than last year, when the Packers were off in Week 5. This year, it's Week 10.

"Anytime you play nine consecutive games without a bye week, it's just another challenge," McCarthy said.

— Around the North, the Vikings' bye is in Week 4, the Lions' bye is in Week 7 and the Bears' bye is in Week 8.

— The pre-bye portion of the schedule is the Packers' toughest, with three consecutive games against teams that reached the postseason in 2009. They host Minnesota, go to New York to face the Jets, then come back home to battle Dallas.

— After the bye, the Packers play four of five games on the road, a stretch kicked off with dome games at Minnesota and Atlanta. A home game against San Francisco is next, followed by another dome game, at Detroit, and a big-time challenge at New England. That sets them up for two home games to end the season for the first time since 2005.

"Outside of the first four games of the season, the next thing I look at on our schedule is how many home games we have in December," McCarthy said. "I think it's a distinct environment that we enjoy playing in, and I think it's something that is unique to the Green Bay Packers. I wish we'd have three or four games in December every year, and obviously to finish with the last two is something that we'll look forward to."

— According to the Packers, they've never closed the season with a home game vs. Chicago.

— The Packers' 16 opponents have a cumulative .488 winning percentage (125-131). Last year's foes wound up with a .441 percentage (113-143).

The 2010 Schedule

Week 1

Sun. Sept. 12, at Philadelphia, 3:15 p.m. (Fox)

Noteworthy: Kevin Kolb takes over at quarterback, with the Eagles owning a nine-game, 48-year home winning streak over the Packers. Last year: 11-5, 34-14 playoff drubbing by Dallas in wild-card round.


Week 2

Sun. Sept. 19, Buffalo, noon (CBS)

Noteworthy: The Bills have a new coach in Chan Gailey and might have a new/old quarterback in 2008 Packers draft bust Brian Brohm. Last year: 6-10.


Week 3

Mon. Sept. 27, at Chicago, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN)

Noteworthy: Without a draft pick until the third round because of the trades for Jay Cutler and the late Gaines Adams, the Bears bought Julius Peppers and Chester Taylor. Last year: 7-9.


Week 4

Sun., Oct. 3, Detroit (gold), noon (Fox)

Noteworthy: The Packers throttled the Lions twice last season, with No. 1 overall pick Matthew Stafford playing one game with a bum shoulder and sitting out the second game. Last year: 2-14.


Week 5

Sun., Oct. 10, at Washington, noon (Fox)

Noteworthy: It's a new era for the once-proud Redskins, with Mike Shanahan taking over as coach and Donovan McNabb taking over at quarterback. Last year: 4-12.


Week 6

Sun. Oct. 17, Miami, noon (CBS)

Noteworthy: Promising young quarterback Chad Henne has a big-time target in just-acquired Brandon Marshall. Last year: 7-9.


Week 7

Sun., Oct. 24, Minnesota, 7:20 p.m. (NBC)

Noteworthy: Hmmm, why, oh why, would NBC want this game? Perhaps because the Vikings just re-signed quarterback Tarvaris Jackson. Last year: 12-4, lost NFC championship game at New Orleans in overtime.


Week 8

Sun., Oct. 31, at New York Jets, noon (Fox)

Noteworthy: The Jets, one half away from reaching the Super Bowl last year, are betting the ranch on the Super Bowl by adding Santonio Holmes (substance abuse violation), Antonio Cromartie (nine kids with eight women), LaDainian Tomlinson (old) and Jason Taylor (old). Yeah, none of those are Ted Thompson's guys. Last year: 9-7, lost to Colts in AFC championship game.


Week 9

Sun, Nov. 7, Dallas (gold), 7:20 p.m. (NBC)

Noteworthy: Charles Woodson forced three turnovers as the Packers earned a critical victory over the Cowboys last season. Last year: 12-4, beat Eagles in the wild-card round but were hammered at Minnesota in divisional round.


Week 10

Sun., Nov. 14, BYE

Noteworthy: It's the latest bye ever for the Packers.


Week 11

Sun, Nov. 21, at Minnesota, noon (Fox)*

Noteworthy: Chad Clifton missed both games last year, the Packers gave up 14 sacks, and the two losses were the difference in the NFC North standings. Last year: 12-4, lost NFC championship game in overtime.


Week 12

Sun., Nov. 28, at Atlanta, noon (Fox)*

Noteworthy: The Falcons took a step back last season after reaching the playoffs with an 11-5 record in 2008 under then-rookie quarterback Matt Ryan. Last year: 9-7.


Week 13

Sun., Dec. 5, San Francisco, noon (Fox)*

Noteworthy: The Packers lost Al Harris and Aaron Kampman and most of a big lead before holding off the Niners last season. Last year: 8-8.


Week 14

Sun., Dec. 12, at Detroit, noon (Fox)*

Noteworthy: For the second consecutive year, the Lions have made over their roster. They hold the second pick of the draft on Thursday. Last year: 2-14.


Week 15

Sun., Dec. 19, at New England, 7:20 p.m. (NBC)*

Noteworthy: Last year, the Packers' secondary was gutted by the likes of Brett Favre, Ben Roethlisberger and Kurt Warner. Hello, Tom Brady, Randy Moss and Wes Welker. Last year: 10-6, lost in wild-card round to Baltimore.


Week 16

Sun., Dec. 26, New York Giants, 3:15 p.m. (Fox)*

Noteworthy: The Giants were the pick to reach the Super Bowl out of the NFC last year after loading up in free agency. They were yet another offseason champion that didn't win when it counted. This, of course, is a rematch of the NFC championship game that the Giants won in overtime. It'll be cold again. Last year: 8-8.


Week 17

Sun., Jan. 2, Chicago, noon (Fox)*

Noteworthy: New offensive coordinator Mike Martz has a habit of letting his quarterbacks get knocked around. Jay Cutler has a habit of throwing the ball to the defense when he's about to get knocked around. Should be a match made in heaven. Last year: 7-9.


Note: Asterisk denotes games with kickoff times that could shift due to NFL flexible scheduling.


Agree or disagree?: Discuss hot Packers topics in our, free forums. Leave Bill a question in the subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum.


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 and Facebook under Bill Huber.


Packer Report Top Stories