Most people aren’t fans of such an early bye week. They would rather save this week for later in the season, when they can fully recharge their batteries for the second half of the season. The Green Bay Packers unfortunately do not have that luxury this season, as they their bye week falls in week four. In an ironic way, this bye week couldn’t come at a better time.
Head coach Mike McCarthy admits that the Packers caught a break withthis bye week. McCarthy said this week, “I never thought I would say this, but for as different a schedule that we have, it’s a great time to have the bye, because we need it. That’s where we are.” McCarthy is referring to the injury bug that is going around his team, as four defensive starters sat out against Detroit and tight end Jared Cook sprained his ankle.
The Packers head into the bye with a 2-1 record and are coming off a game where Aaron Rodgers threw four touchdowns. Here is how the rest of the schedule looks for the Packers.
October: Giants (2-2), Cowboys (3-1), Bears (1-3), at Falcons (3-1)
The Packers come out of the bye with three straight home games, ending with the Bears in a Thursday night game. The Packers and Giants always seem to have great games while the Cowboys will be looking to avenge the Dez Bryant “Was it a catch?’ game. This game may be Dak Prescott’s final game, as Tony Romo is expected to return after the Cowboys’ bye week. The Giants are definitely a playoff caliber team, but the Packers should have the edge on both the Giants and Cowboys since the games are at Lambeau.
The Packers then face the Bears on a short week. The Bears are one of the worst teams in the league, but these Thursday night games are so unfair on the players and coaches that nothing can be a sure thing. The Packers should be able to handle the Bears, but it should be noted that the Bears beat the Packers last year on a short week (Thanksgiving night). The Falcons offense has been one of the league’s best this season, as their 34.7 points per game is the highest in the league. Expect a shootout in week eight against the Atlanta Falcons.
November: Colts (1-3), at Titans (1-3), at Redskins (2-2), at Eagles (3-0)
The Packers’ schedule lightens up in November, starting off with the Colts at home. Indianapolis depends too much on Andrew Luck’s comeback ability, which isn’t a good idea in a November game at Lambeau. As Mike McCarthy mentioned, the Packers schedule is “different” and this three-game stretch is a perfect example why. The Pack will play three straight road games - four out of five games when you count the Falcons game - including a Sunday night game against the Redskins and a Monday night game against the Eagles.
On paper, the Packers have more talent than all of these teams, but right now the Eagles are playing great and you can’t count out the Colts or Redskins. It will be an interesting month for the Packers.
December and January: Texans (3-1), Seahawks (3-1), at Bears (1-3), Vikings (4-0), at Lions (1-2)
The Packers simply have to beat the Texans at home, so let’s move on from that. Playing the Seahawks in week 14 is as tough of a matchup as you are going to get, especially with these two teams expected to be in the thick of a playoff race. The last three games will come against divisional opponents, two of which will be on the road. The week 16 matchup against the Vikings could possibly be the most important game of the entire season, since it can essentially be for the NFC North crown. Let’s hope the week 17 game in Detroit is meaningless and the Packers know exactly what seed they are in the playoffs, whether it is as division champion or Wild Card team.
With 13 straight weeks of football left for the Green Bay Packers, their stamina, focus, and preparation will be tested for the next three months. There is no soft part of the schedule, as the Packers will have to earn every win from here on out. It should be an exciting 13 weeks for Packers fans.