Every year there always appears to be a part of the schedule that ends up defining a team’s season, whether that’s for better or for worse. For the Green Bay Packers, at least on paper, that stretch of games will occur between Weeks 11 through 14.
It begins with the Packers facing the Los Angeles Chargers at Lambeau Field. Led by Justin Herbert, the Chargers made the playoffs in 2022 with a 10-7 record. Green Bay then has a short week before they travel to up-and-coming Detroit to face the Lions on Thanksgiving. After that, they return home for a Sunday Night matchup with the Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs, and then on the road to face the New York Giants, another 2022 playoff team.
Up until the start of this stretch, the Packers will only face one playoff team from the 2022 season through the first 10 weeks of the season. Although at this stage we really do not know what we are going to get from this Packers team in 2023, realistically, they could still enter Week 11 as part of the playoff conversation with their schedule that isn’t terribly daunting.
On the other side of that difficult four-game stretch are matchups with only two 2022 playoff teams, one of which is Tampa Bay, who is now without Tom Brady. However, an 0-4 or 1-3 record during those four games against Los Angeles, Detroit, Kansas City, and New York could very well end any playoff hopes that still may be alive for the Packers through the first 10 weeks.
Overall, the Packers’ strength of schedule is the ninth-easiest in the NFL, playing only five playoff teams from a year ago, but three of those matchups occur between Weeks 11 through 14. Their longest-road trip is only two games, and Green Bay travels the second-fewest road miles of any team. The Packers also don’t have nearly as many games as they did in 2022 where they will be playing their opponents on short rest.
For the 2022 Green Bay Packers, ultimately, their season was defined by Weeks 5 through 9. They would face the Giants in London, the Jets at home, and then were on the road for three straight games against the Commanders, Bills, and Lions. As you can tell, these five games were all played in a new city each week and Green Bay would go 0-5. With a late-season win streak, the Packers were able to put themselves back into playoff position but lost a must-win game in Week 18 to Detroit. In the end, the 3-6 start to the year was too much to overcome.
Of course, we all know that the game isn’t played on…