Breaking Down the Greenbay Packers' Schedule: Is a Rebound Imminent?

Kris BurkeCorrespondent IApril 15, 2009

GREEN BAY, WI - NOVEMBER 16:  Head coach Mike McCarthy of the Green Bay Packers leads his team against the Chicago Bears during NFL action at Lambeau Field on November 16, 2008 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Bears 37-3.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Even though he won't admit it, Packers coach, Mike McCarthy, had to have been doing cartwheels in his head Tuesday, when the Packers' and the other 31 NFL teams learned their schedules for the 2009 season.

Aside from a potential road block in the opener against the suddenly dangerous Chicago Bears, the Packers face an easy beginning to the schedule while they work out the kinks of the new defensive scheme Dom Capers has been installing.

The Packers face only one playoff team from last season in the first half of the season, the Vikings—twice, and that should provide ample time for Capers to get his defense up and running for the critical November-December stretch that makes or breaks any potential playoff teams.

Here is a breakdown of all 16 games the Packers play this season.


Week One vs. Chicago 

The Packers face a potentially tough test against the Chicago Bears with gun slinging Jay Cutler now leading the Chicago offense. 

While some fans seem to be fearing the Bears now that they have a quality quarterback, I beg to differ. 

Who does Cutler have to throw to in Chicago?  No one who was as good as Pro Bowler Brandon Marshall and the up and coming Eddie Royal, that's for sure. I can see why fans are concerned, but I think the Packers will win this one on national TV.

Prediction—Packers will win.


Week Two vs. Cincinnati

Two years ago, the Bengal offense would have likely given the Packers fits.  However, with the departure of T.J. Houshmanzadeh and the potential of Chad Ochocinco, Palmer is in for a learning experience with the new WR corps.

Prediction—Packers will win


Week Three at St. Louis

Here, the Packers encounter a team that has nowhere to go but up.  The rebuilding Rams have a new coach, and even though this is a dome game, the Packers win this one big. 

Prediction—Packers will win.


Week Four at Minnesota

While the Packers have done an overall solid job of containing Adrian Peterson, the home field advantage here means that the still learning Packers defense will learn a valuable lesson, as Peterson rips the defense apart. 

Prediction—Packers will lose.


Week Five, Bye Week

This is the earliest bye for the Packers in awhile.  Strength and conditioning will be key during the rest of the season.


Week Six vs. Detroit

While I say they will be much improved, it's still the Lions at Lambeau where they haven't won since 1991. 

Prediction—Packers will win.


Week Seven at Cleveland

Mangini vs. McCarthy—boy, this matchup would be much more entertaining had it taken place a year ago. 

Prediction—Packers will win.

Week Eight vs. Minnesota

Having learned their lesson from their defeat at the Metrodome in week four, the Packers will win a squeaker at Lambeau, despite still giving up too many rushing yards. The Packer-Viking games often come down to home field advantage, and such will be the case again in 2009.

Prediction—Packers will win.


Week Nine at Tampa Bay

Here the schedule starts to get tough.  The Packers haven't had much luck in Tampa Bay lately.  Despite the face lift on offense and defense, I say the Bucs, who I think will be a surprise team in the NFC, will pull off the upset of the 6-1 Packers.

Prediction—Packers will lose.


Week Ten vs. Dallas

This is another tough matchup.  It's obvious that Wade Phillips will be coaching for his job this year, and now, without Terrell Owens, Dallas will be much better and a much more cohesive unit. 

This will be a shootout, but I think the Packers will drop this one as well.

Prediction—Packers will lose.


Week Eleven vs. San Francisco

Back to back games against Dallas and San Francisco would have been a nightmare in the mid-90s, but with the 49ers rebuilding yet again, I say the Packers will get their groove back in convincing fashion. 

The 49ers, however, could be a team that will surprise people as I think Mike Singletary is a better coach than people think.

Prediction—Packers will win.


Week Twelve at Detroit

Turkey Day! 

These games are usually close, regardless of the quality of the teams, and I expect no different this year.

Experience wins, as the Packers sweep Detroit again.

Prediction—Packers will win.


Week Thirteen vs. Baltimore

The Ravens were one of the surprise teams last season, but with a still inconsistent offense and an aging defense, Green Bay gets the upper hand. 

Prediction—Packers will win.


Week Fourteen at Chicago

In a game that very well could have playoff implications, the Packers face what could be a potent offense with Cutler now having 12 games under his belt with the Bears.  This will be one of the higher scoring games in the Packers-Bears rivalry.

I give the edge to the Packers, but barely. 

Prediction: Packers will win.


Week Fifteen at Pittsburg

This is the one game that made me cringe, when I saw the schedule. 

The Packers make a trip to Pittsburgh in December.  While Green Bay gives the effort, I think Pittsburgh will win, as they are simply the better team.

Prediction—Packers will lose.


Week Sixteen vs. Seattle

No Favre and no Holmgren—where's the intrigue?

Seattle's once potent offense continues to sputter as Matt Hasselbeck continues to struggle with injuries.

Prediction—Packers will win.


Week Seventeen at Arizona

While many remain convinced Arizona's Super Bowl run last season was a fluke, I have learned never to underestimate Kurt Warner.  Arizona's offense will be strong again and too much for the Packers on the road.

Prediction—Packers will lose.


Overall: 11-5

Well, there you have it.  I see an 11-5 record for the Packers which will likely be good enough for at least a wild card spot.  Will it be enough for the NFC North title? Had I been asked a month ago, I would have said yes.  However, the entry of Jay Cutler into the division is a bit of a wild card. 

I also note these could turn out to be way off as well, depending how each team is performing when the Packers face them.  Coach McCarthy put it best when he said: "[I]t's not who you play, but when you play them."

Here's hoping that everything falls in place for the Packers in 2009.