Green Bay Packers 2012 Schedule: Ranking Each Game from Easiest to Toughest

Matt Stein@MatthewJSteinCorrespondent IIApril 20, 2012

Green Bay Packers 2012 Schedule: Ranking Each Game from Easiest to Toughest

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    The Green Bay Packers 2012 regular season schedule was released earlier in the week, and it is safe to say that they don't have the easiest schedule in the league.

    With games against the San Francisco 49ers, New York Giants and New Orleans Saints, Green Bay won't have a easy road to make a deep playoff run. 

    Today we'll rank the Packers games from easiest to toughest.

Week 8: Jaguars vs. Packers

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    Barring any unforeseen astronomical leaps from Blaine Gabbert at the quarterback position, the Green Bay Packers should be able to roll right over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

    While Maurice Jones-Drew could potentially be a problem, without any type of passing game, the Packers can put eight men in the box on every play and slow down MJD. Without Jones-Drew, the Jaguars simply don't stand a chance in this game.

    Look for the Packers, at home nonetheless, to make this game a complete blowout before the end of the first half.

Week 13: Vikings vs. Packers

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    No one is expecting the Minnesota Vikings to be much of a threat in the NFC North, so this should also be a rather easy game for the Green Bay Packers.

    With that said, there are two major things that still scare me about this game. The first is a man named Adrian Peterson. As long as he is healthy, he is a threat to completely take over the game.

    The second part of this game that scares me is Jared Allen. He's been known to dominate the Packers and their offensive line. If Allen can get consistent pressure on Aaron Rodgers, it could be a long game for Green Bay.

    What ultimately makes this game an easy matchup for Green Bay is the complete lack of a secondary for Minnesota. Combine that with home-field advantage, and this should be another easy victory for Green Bay.

Week 5: Packers vs. Colts

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    As good as Andrew Luck is going to be during his career, this will be only his fifth game in the NFL. Throw in the fact that the Indianapolis Colts will likely have some major holes on the roster surrounding Luck, and it could be a difficult start to Luck's career.

    The Green Bay Packers had major success against rookie quarterbacks last year. They dominated both Cam Newton and Christian Ponder, and their aggressive defense often causes young quarterbacks to make mistakes.

    Don't be surprised if Luck has his worst game of his young career against the Packers as they roll into Indianapolis and walk out with an easy win.

Week 16: Titans vs. Packers

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    While the Tennessee Titans could find themselves in the playoff hunt this late in the season, it is unlikely. They still have issues on the defensive side of the ball, and only one team from the AFC South will make the playoffs, and that team is the Houston Texans.

    The Titans do have a dangerous ground game, but with Jake Locker as the likely starting quarterback this late in a lost season, the Green Bay Packers will be able to focus on slowing down Chris Johnson.

    The other component to this game that makes it an easy win for the Packers is the loss of Cortland Finnegan for the Titans. Without an elite cornerback, Aaron Rodgers and his talented wide receivers should have a field day.

    Chalk up another easy victory at home for the Packers.

Week 9: Cardinals vs. Packers

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    The difficulty of this game really depends on the success that Kevin Kolb is having during the 2012 season.

    For example, if Kolb has proved to be a franchise quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals, this game will become a lot more difficult. Unfortunately, I just can't see that happening right now.

    Yes, the Green Bay Packers will have difficulty with Larry Fitzgerald and Beanie Wells, but the Cardinals will have way more difficulty on defense than Green Bay. While Patrick Peterson may be a dangerous return man, he is far from being an elite shutdown cornerback.

    Look for the Packers to pour on points early in this contest and provide too much firepower for Arizona to handle.

Week 17: Packers vs. Vikings

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    The Green Bay Packers must have sighed a huge sigh of relief when they saw that their Week 17 opponent was the Minnesota Vikings.

    There are two scenarios that I could see happening heading into this game: either the Packers will need a victory to seal up the NFC North, or they'll already have won the division and will be able to rest their starters.

    Either way is a win for the Packers. However, the Vikings always seem to give the Packers some trouble which is why this game is a little more difficult than some of the previous games.

Week 7: Packers vs. Rams

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    While the St. Louis Rams could surprise some people, especially if Sam Bradford bounces back in a big way, their defense leaves much to be desired.

    Like many of the other "easy" games on the Green Bay Packers' schedule, the Rams' secondary simply doesn't have enough firepower to keep up with Green Bay's explosive passing attack.

    Yes, the Rams signed Cortland Finnegan in the off-season, but can you name anyone else in that secondary? Much like the 2011 season, Rodgers should be on pace for a historic season thanks to some easy games in the first eight games of the season.

Week 2: Bears vs. Packers

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    I know that this is the most intense rivalry in the NFL, and that no game against the Chicago Bears is easy for the Green Bay Packers, but hear me out for a second.

    First, the Packers get this game at home. Say what you want about home-field advantage in the NFL, but for Green Bay, it is a big deal.

    Secondly, both of these teams will be entering this game after only three days rest, since this game takes place on Thursday night on the NFL Network. While the lack of rest and preparation will affect both teams, the Packers' offense is more suited to succeeding with a short week.

    This game could be ugly, but the fact that Green Bay excels at creating turnovers while limiting their own, this should be another win for the Packers.

Week 3: Packers vs. Seattle

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    The Chicago Bears game in Week 2 ranked as only the eighth hardest games proves just how difficult the Green Bay Packers' schedule is this season.

    With the signing of Matt Flynn, the Seattle Seahawks could become serious contenders in the NFC North. Now they'll have a potent passing attack to go along with Marshawn Lynch.

    What really makes this game difficult for Green Bay is the hostility that they'll receive from the Seattle fans. Seattle is famous for its "12th man", and the Packers could have some troubles with getting their offense in a consistent rhythm.

    When you also consider the fact that Seattle has one of the better young secondaries in the league, this becomes a scary match up.

Week 14: Lions vs. Packers

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    The last seven games on this list could really end up in any order due to how difficult they will all be.

    We'll start with the Green Bay Packers getting the Detroit Lions at home to start. The last time these two teams met in Lambeau Field was in Week 17 of last season when the teams combined for 86 points. And that was without Aaron Rodgers by the way.

    Expect a similar offensive shootout in this week, as both teams will be fighting for the NFC North title by this point in the season. 90 points isn't completely out of the picture for these two offenses.

    What this game will ultimately come down to will be which team will get a defensive stop first. With players like Morgan Burnett, Charles Woodson and Clay Matthews, the Packers will get a key turnover to come away with a key victory.

Week 4: Saints vs. Packers

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    This rematch from Week 1 last year will be hard to be as exciting, but it will definitely be close.

    Of course, the big issue here will be how the New Orleans Saints play without their head coach, Sean Payton. If there is a hiccup in the New Orleans Saints' offense from their loss, the Green Bay Packers could jump on that opportunity and get off to an early lead.

    To be honest, the idea of New Orleans' offense being slow is a pretty ridiculous one. This is going to be an absolute shootout. 

    The only reason that the Packers will be a favorite is because of home-field advantage. It won the game for them last year, and it will do the same thing this year.

Week 11: Packers vs. Lions

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    The last time that the Green Bay Packers were playing against the Detroit Lions in Detroit, Ndamukong Suh stomped on Evan Dietrich-Smith's head.

    Considering this is the first matchup between these two teams during the 2012 season, you can bet that tensions will be running high. With both of these teams being considered legitimate Super Bowl threats, this should be one of the best games of the 2012 season.

    The key for the Packers will be slowing down Calvin Johnson. Considering that slowing down Johnson is nearly impossible, I actually believe that Green Bay will end up losing this game and will find themselves in second place in the NFC North for a short period of time.

Week 1: 49ers vs. Packers

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    These last four games of the Green Bay Packers 2012 schedule are going to be simply fantastic. Each of the teams they play in these games have to be seriously considered Super Bowl contenders.

    We'll start with the San Francisco 49ers. The only reason that this game ranks this low is because it is taking place in Week 1. Put this game later in the season with home-field advantage in the playoffs on the line, and it would be the best game in the NFL.

    This is going to be a classic battle between a dominant offense and a dominant defense. Whichever unit breaks first will ultimately decide the outcome of this game.

Week 15: Packers vs. Bears

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    The NFL's greatest rivalry will head to Soldier Field in Week 15. With both the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers likely to be fighting for a playoff spot, one can only imagine how intense this game is going to be.

    At this point in the season, Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall could very well have gotten back into the groove they had with the Denver Broncos. That will only make the Bears a more dangerous team on offense, and this game could eventually turn into a shootout.

    Look for this game to become intense extremely quick. Neither of these teams like each other one iota, and it could get ugly out on that field.

Week 6: Packers vs. Texans

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    Some of you might be surprised to see this matchup with the Houston Texans ranked as such a difficult game, but with a healthy Matt Schaub, I expect the Texans to be a legitimate Super Bowl contender.

    The fact that this game is on the road will only make it more difficult for the Green Bay Packers. However, the reason that this is the second most difficult game that Green Bay will play is because of the overall talent that Houston has.

    On offense, they can beat the Packers in a number of ways. Arian Foster is one of the best running backs in the league, but he can also do damage as a receiver. Also, Schaub and Andre Johnson are always a threat to make plays.

    On the defensive side of the ball, impact players like J.J. Watt, Brian Cushing and Johnathan Joseph will give the Texans one of the better overall defenses in the league.

    This is going to be an extremely difficult game for Green Bay to win, and it could actually be a preview to this year's Super Bowl.

Week 12: Packers vs. Giants

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    And the toughest game for the Green Bay Packers this year is none other than their Week 12 matchup against the New York Giants.

    These teams have quietly put together quite the rivalry with three key games over the past two seasons. The playoff loss to New York from last year is definitely going to be fresh in Green Bay's mind, which will only increase the intensity of this game.

    It wouldn't be surprising at all if this game came down to another last-minute field goal like their regular season matchup did last year. The winner of this game will be the favorite for the remainder of the season to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.