Green Bay Packers 2012 Schedule: All 16 Games Ranked from Easiest to Toughest
The Packers have a good schedule. You can never tell for sure what will happen, but it's hard to imagine this being a bad year for them.
Aside from the divisional road games, which are always tough, their hardest battles will take place in Lambeau Field.
If you're going to face a tough opponent, better to do it close to home.
Today we take a look at the Packers schedule, ranking from the easiest games to the hardest.
Week 5: The Colts in Indianapolis
The Colts have (finally) admitted what we all knew already: Andrew Luck is going to be a Colt.
That won't change an outcome which will test his ability to overcome sacks and interceptions to it's fullest. I've said before Luck has a short memory and confidence. He'd better in this game.
This won't be a tough game. An inexperienced, albeit talented, rookie quarterback behind a rebuilding offensive line with no real run game?
Welcome to the NFL, kid.
Week 7: The Rams in St. Louis
Bradford will bounce back from a lousy 2011 and I expect they Rams to get him at least one weapon in the upcoming draft.
The defense is streaky but has some good pieces.
Ultimately, though, this isn't a game that should chill the spine of any Packers fan.
Road games are rarely easy, but this won't be anything resembling hard.
Week 8: The Jaguars at Lambeau
I don't think Blaine Gabbert is a lost cause or as bad as he looked in 2011, but I'm not sure how good he is. Even if they do nothing but pick wide receivers in the draft, he's still going to lack receivers to throw to.
Maybe that's a little hyperbole, but this is a team which has some pieces, but not enough to threaten the Packers at home. Maurice Jones-Drew will be his usual self, but the rest of the Jags can't compete.
If Gabbert does end up being as skittish as he looked last year, this actually might be a rout and less of a challenge than the Colts and Rams.
Week 9: The Cardinals at Lambeau
Kevin Kolb will get another chance to embarrass himself next season, but whether he'll still be starting by Week 9 is anyone's guess. The Cards defense is a bit more consistent than the offense, but not by much.
Ultimately, at home, this game will pose little in the way of challenge.
Week 13: The Vikings at Lambeau
In general, I believe the Vikings will be a tougher out next season.
That said, the first meeting between these two teams, taking place in Lambeau, is likely to be a game the Packers will win.
While the Vikings will have had time to jell and Ponder will have even more confidence and experience, I don't see them keeping up with the Packers at home.
I don't believe this will be a blowout, but I also don't think the Packers will be in danger of losing it at any point.
Week 3: The Seahawks in Seattle
Seattle is no joke when it comes to being a tough place to play. The Seahawks have some issues, that's true, but it is always a harder game in Seattle than you think it should be.
This should be even more intriguing because we'll be seeing Matt Flynn take on his old teammates.
I like Flynn, though how good he truly is I don't know. That said, he makes this team better than Tarvaris Jackson did. If they can keep him upright, this could be quite a spectacle.
In the end, though, everything else aside, this team will not beat the Packers. There's too much of a talent gap.
Week 16: The Titans at Lambeau
The Titans are another team not nearly as bad as they appeared at times in 2011. Jake Locker could win the job outright and Chris Johnson should improve from his disastrous 2011 effort.
In the end, the secondary might kill the Titans, as they lack the skill to keep up with the billion different receivers the Pack can throw at you.
Locker will have his hands full with Clay Matthews and the defensive line.
Week 17: The Vikings in Minneapolis
This has the potential to be a big game.
The division title, home-field advantage, first-round byes—all are things which could be on the line for this game.
Let's not even get into the chance that this could be the Vikings' last game in Minnesota.
I've picked this game as a potential spoiler for the Vikings and I assume they will come at the Packers hard regardless of circumstance.
Still, the overall talent in the Packers squad makes this an uneven battle as of now.
It won't be an easy game by any means, but I don't think it is one of the toughest as of now.
Week 1: The 49ers at Lambeau
This is tough mostly for the fact that the Niners are going to come out of the gate hard and fast, looking to prove that 2011 was no illusion.
Even in front of a home crowd, the Packers will have their hands full.
It comes down to Alex Smith, really, and whether HE is legitimate. We know the Niner defense is good. They've added weapons to the offense (though I am somewhat dubious as to the quality of guys like Randy Moss) and you can't say enough good things about Frank Gore and Vernon Davis.
This should be a good fight, right at the start when teams are just getting going. It's a little easier for being a home game.
Week 2: The Bears at Lambeau
Division rivalries always rate, especially when both teams are expected to be pretty good as they are here.
It's an early portion of the schedule at home, so the Packers have some advantages.
I do expect Matt Forte to come out hot, as he definitely is unhappy with the current state of things between him and his team. Of course, he could hold out, which changes things considerably.
Players who hold out seem to get hurt quite often. In Forte's case, Michael Bush would step in and take his job.
Either way, you get a running back who is looking to make a name, a tough defense and a healthy Jay Cutler.
It won't be easy, that's for sure.
Week 4: The Saints at Lambeau
Again, a tough matchup, softened a bit by being at home.
We know the Saints can play well and have talent. A few things could take the legs out of this game though.
No Sean Payton (suspended for the bounty shenanigans) and potential multiple player suspensions could make this a train wreck.
However, I think that the Saints will come into the game with a huge chip on their shoulder, angry at the league and all the teams and ready prove everyone wrong.
They may be missing key players on the defense and their head coach, but that may just make them more determined.
Week 14: The Lions at Lambeau
This will actually be the second tilt between these two teams. The second games are usually harder, but in this case, the difference of home field in Lambeau pushes it a little down the list.
That said, there will be a ton on the line here, as I foresee a pretty tight race between the Packers, Lions and Bears (OH MY) by this week. One or more teams could be fighting for their playoff lives, the division title or many other things.
We know how good the Lions offense is. We know they can play tough defense.
We know they'll give the Packers a fight at home.
Week 6: The Texans in Houston
When everyone is healthy, I really believe the Texans match up well with the Packers. Both have solid defenses with some playmakers in the secondary and dangerous offenses, and the Texans have Arian Foster.
At home, the Texans can be a tough nut to crack. It's early in the season so there's less on the line, but no way does either team want to let this go early in case it factors in as a tiebreaker.
The fans will just be glad everyone is in one piece and looking to get another shot at the playoffs.
Expect a tough crowd and a tougher game in Houston.
Week 11: The Lions in Detroit
Here's the first meeting between the Lions and Packers and while it's fresh off a bye for Green Bay, it starts a critical run for them as well. One they don't want to start off on the wrong foot.
The rest of the season is at the Giants, home vs. the Vikings and Lions, at Chicago, home against the Titans and at Minnesota.
Not the easiest of schedules.
The Lions will have just played the Vikings and Jaguars—while not a bye week in either case, not a pair of meat grinders either.
Winning against the Packers will make their journey to the playoffs easier, and winning at home should happen if they want to get past Lambeau with dignity intact.
It's not a must-win for either team, but it's a tough game for both.
Week 12: The Giants in New York (really, New Jersey)
The Giants may have played above their heads last year, but they are a very good team nonetheless.
MetLife isn't Lambeau, but it can get very, very loud there.
This game has a lot of pressure on it already and we don't even know what each team will look like yet.
We do know that the Giants will throw everything at the Packers and the Packers will respond likewise.
This will be a tough one, no doubt. Hostile crowds, intense brewing rivalry, payback in mind...
Oh yeah, this one's going to be a hard-fought game.
Week 15: The Bears in Chicago
Without a doubt, this should be the toughest test of the season.
Are you kidding me? Soldier Field in December, with massive playoff implications? How could it not be?
Assuming everyone is healthy, the Packers will have their hands full with an offense who should be totally on the same page by then, the usual tough defense and a crowd of freezing Bears fans.
Everything will come together for this game. I would be stunned if it doesn't get moved to Sunday night for NBC.
It's going to be a tough, hard game between two teams who just plain don't like each other and are both trying to win the division.
It'll be the biggest test of the regular season for the Packers.