NFC North Schedule 2012: Breaking Down Season for Packers, Lions, Bears, Vikings

Gabe ZaldivarPop Culture Lead WriterApril 18, 2012

GREEN BAY, WI - JANUARY 01:  Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions looks for a receiver against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on January 1, 2012 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Lions 45-41.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The NFL released the official season schedule, giving us a glimpse into the future for the toughest division in the league, the NFC North. 

There is no way of knowing who the North will belong to, but all we know is that it will be a fierce battle from start to finish. 

This is a grand conference with the biggest collection of storied franchise in one tight race. Let's take a very early look at how things shake out in respects to schedule.


Minnesota Vikings

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JANUARY 1: Percy Harvin #12 of the Minnesota Vikings carries the ball during the game against the Chicago Bears on January 1, 2012 at Mall of America Field at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah F
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

For a List of the Full Schedule, Visit the Official NFL Page

You won't see much of the Minnesota Vikings outside of the local market; they have one prime-time game, and it's a Thursday night game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The rebuilding process should continue with a few lumps to begin the season, and some promising games that could invigorate the team.

By Week 5, the Vikings will have had some winnable games in the Jaguars and Colts, but all potential pratfalls in the 49ers and Lions.

The real chore is closing the season on the road four of the final six times, and two are against the Packers and Bears. This is going to be a rough season. 


Detroit Lions

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 07:  Calvin Johnson #81 of the Detroit Lions catches a pass for a touchdown in the second quarter against the New Orleans Saints during their 2012 NFC Wild Card Playoff game at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 7, 2012 in New Or
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

For a List of the Full Schedule, Visit the Official NFL Page.

The Lions don't have much to complain about. They start off against the Rams and end with five of their last seven games at home. 

They will have every opportunity to close out the season strong with a schedule like that. 

The game we all want to see right off is a clash with the San Francisco 49ers in a Week 2 showdown on Sunday night. 

Forget handshakes, these are two teams bursting with talent. I am confident this will let us know where these two teams stand right off the bat. 


Chicago Bears

CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 20: Jay Cutler #6 of the Chicago Bears flips the ball to Matt Forte #22 as he is hit by Antwan Barnes #98 of the San Diego Chargers at Soldier Field on November 20, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Chargers 31-20. (
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

For a List of the Full Schedule, Visit the Official NFL Page.

We will see a whole bunch of the Chicago Bears, and we will see them early. The Bears will have five prime-time games, and they will all come prior to Week 11. 

The Bears were done no favors by ending the season on the road with two games away, culminating in a match with possible playoff implications against the Lions.

Before that road trip, they get the Packers, hardly a cakewalk. They will need to build an early cushion if they want to steal the division back from the Lions or Packers.


Green Bay Packers

GREEN BAY, WI - JANUARY 15:  Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers looks on in the third quarter against the New York Giants during their NFC Divisional playoff game at Lambeau Field on January 15, 2012 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Jamie Squir
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

For a List of the Full Schedule, Visit the Official NFL Page.

The Packers are thrown into the deep end right away with a game against the 49ers, key to proving who holds sway in the NFC immediately. 

They then get a rivalry-fuled match against the Bears. 

They get a bit of a breather against the Seahawks, home versus the embattled Saints and then the Colts. If they can manage early success, they could easily get out to a 5-0 start. 

I also like the Week 10 bye week for a late respite before the playoff push. It could have been a lot worse for these contenders.