Green Bay Packers 2011 Schedule: Analyzing Each Game
The Green Bay Packers have a very difficult road ahead of them in their quest to repeat. Playoff caliber teams like the Saints, Falcons, Bears, Chargers, Giants, and Buccaneers will prove difficult foes, while even lesser opponents such as the Broncos, Rams, and Panthers may prove to be formidable as they try to take down the defending Super Bowl champions.
The 2011 season will be a very interesting year for the Packers, no win will be guaranteed, and every game will be a battle.
Week 1: Saints at Packers (Thursday Night)
The Packers may have an edge in the receiving corps, with Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, Donald Driver, Jermichael Finley, and perhaps Randall Cobb all legitimate threats.However, with Marques Colston and Devery Henderson, the Saints passing game should not be taken lightly.
However, the Saints running game is intriguing, with newly acquired runningback Mark Ingram, and Reggie Bush possibly being in the mix.
On defense, the Packers and Saints are both very good at creating turnovers, but the Saints have a tendency to give up big plays, as seen in the wildcard playoff game last year.
This is going to be a great game, perhaps one of the best of the season. Both teams are very evenly matched, but I would give the edge to the Packers, particularly on defense. And considering that the Super Bowl champions have won the first game of the season for the last seven seasons, I say that the Packers win this game in a close one.
Score: Packers 27, Saints 24
Week 2: Packers at Panthers
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Even if the Panthers bring their "A" game, I just can't see how they could defeat the Packers. The Packers have the superior offense, with a deep receiving corps and a veteran quarterback coming off a Super Bowl. The Panthers may have the better running game with DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart, but both of them are aging, and do not have the same impact they did two years ago.
Defensively, the Packers have the edge too, as the Panthers have few stars on defense outside of Jon Beason, and have a weak secondary that is susceptible to getting burned by a strong passing game.
Even though just two years ago the Panthers beat the Packers 35-31 on Lambeau Field, this time the Packers will easily breeze past the Panthers.
Score: Packers 31, Panthers 7
Week 3: Packers at Bears
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In an NFC Championship matchup, the Bears will surely want to get a piece of the Packers, who robbed them of the chance to be in Super Bowl XLV. The Bears always play the Packers tough, and I do not expect anything different this time.
The Packers offense has a definite edge over the Bears' offense, who has a weak receiving corps, a questionable offensive line, and a quarterback that is prone to interceptions. The strength to the Bears offense is their running game under Matt Forte, who has proven to be a reliable back.
The Bears defense is where they are the most threatening, led by two of the best defensive players in the game, Julius Peppers and Brian Urlacher. However, the Packers defense is just as stifling, with playmakers Clay Matthews, Charles Woodson, B.J. Raji, and Tramon Williams.
These games are commonly defensive struggles, as neither offense plays its best against the other team's defense. In this game, I predict the Bears will get their revenge on the Packers. defeating them on a last-second field goal.
Bears 13, Packers 10
Week 4: Broncos at Packers
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The Broncos are a rebuilding team. Likely starting Tim Tebow at quarterback, the Broncos have a solid passing game, with a promising young quarterback along with a number of solid receivers, including Brandon Lloyd and Eddie Royal. Their running game, despite drafting Knowshown Moreno two years ago, has not taken off the way it was hoped.
The Broncos' defense has many weaknesses. Despite a solid secondary led by Champ Bailey, the defensive line was terrible at stopping the run last year. In the 2011 draft, they drafted Von Miller and several other promising young defensive players to try and shore up their poor defense.
The Broncos may put up some points with a solid offense, but they're going to give away points, as well. The Packers will take advantage of the Broncos' weak defense to defeat them easily at Lambeau, taking them to a 3-1 record.
Score: Packers 34, Broncos 17
Week 5: Packers at Falcons (Sunday Night)
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The Packers will face off on Sunday night for a game that is sure to be a good one. Last year the Packers and Falcons met, it was in the NFC Divisional Playoff game, where the Packers routed the Falcons 48-21. Despite the score, both teams are incredibly talented, as the Falcons were 13-3 and the Number 1 seed in the NFC before the Packers, sitting at the Number 6 seed, exposed their defense and routed them in the playoffs.
The strength for the Falcons is their offense, as they have one of the best young quarterbacks in the game in Matt Ryan, a playmaking runningback in Michael Turner, and a talented receiving corps led by Roddy White, with wide receiver Julio Jones, who they acquired in the draft, being added to the mix.
The weak spot for the Falcons, is their defense, who was exposed by the Packers in the playoffs, as they rolled up 48 points against them. The Falcons didn't do alot in the offseason to improve their defense, giving away everything they had in the draft for receiver Jones.
This will be another close game; the Falcons may have the weaker defense, but they play great in the Georgia Dome, and they will play their best to beat the team that beat them in January.
The Packers will play tough, but the Falcons will get their revenge, and defeat the Packers in a close game on Sunday night.
Score: Falcons 28, Packers 24
Week 6: Rams at Packers
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The Rams are an improving team, almost making the playoffs last year with a 7-9 record. Under quarterback Sam Bradford, the Rams have a bright future, but they still have a lot of work to do in order to get better.
The Rams offense, led by Sam Bradford and running back Steven Jackson, has put up solid numbers, but a weak receiving corps has held them back. This may prove to be a hurdle against a strong Packers defense, and playing against an offense that is one of the best in the league.
After a difficult loss that brought them back to 3-2, the Packers will rebound and win this one, improving their record to 4-2.
Score: Packers 38, Rams 14
Week 7: Packers at Vikings
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The Packers swept the Vikings last year, but the Vikings are a still a formidable team with lots of talent. With the Vikings likely acquiring Donovan McNabb via trade, this gives their offense an experienced leader who has the proven ability to put up numbers.
Although McNabb is getting older and had a difficult year in Washington, he was playing for a poor team with little to no offensive weapons. This year, he will be playing with a much improved running game led by Adrian Peterson, and wide receiving threats in Percy Harvin and perhaps Sidney Rice, granted he is not lost in free agency.
However, the Vikings are not the team they were in 2009 when they swept the Packers and won the division. They are a team with talented but aging stars, and McNabb is just one of the players that fits that description.
While the Vikings offense has the ability to put up points, and the defense has the ability to make plays, their window to win a championship is quickly closing, and the Packers, a team with both veteran players and up and coming talent, will find ways to exploit the declining team.
The Vikings won't let themselves get routed by the Packers this time, they will keep it a close game, but in the end, the Packers will take home their 5th victory of the season.
Score: Packers 30, Vikings 24
Week 9: Packers at Chargers
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This is one of the more intriguing games of the year. Despite not making the playoffs, the Chargers had the number 1 ranked offense and defense last year,but let themselves lose to inferior foes in the regular season.
However, they should not be taken lightly. The Chargers offense is led by one of the best quarterbacks in the game in Philip Rivers, along with a young, promising runningback in Ryan Mathews. The Chargers will also likely have Vincent Jackson back at receiving, and have one of the best tight ends in the NFL in Antonio Gates.
The Chargers defense certainly has its playmakers, but they could be exploited by a high-powered offense like the Packers. After losing some of their better defensive players in Antonio Cromartie and Shawne Merriman, the Chargers defense is looking to bring in new players and rebuild.
This will be a very close game, and likely high-scoring, as Rivers and the Chargers offense have the talent to match up well against the Packers defense. In addition, the Chargers normally get hot around mid-season. Although it will be a close game, the Packers will win it on a game-winning field goal, improving their record to 6-2.
Packers 31, Chargers 28
Week 10: Vikings at Packers (Monday Night)
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As mentioned before, the Vikings are an aging team, and while they certainly have young talent in players like Percy Harvin and Adrian Peterson, I think that the Packers have an advantage over them, especially on defense, as their defensive line is getting old and their secondary is quite suspect.
The Vikings keep it close once again, but the Packers win at Lambeau on Monday Night.
Packers 24, Vikings 20
Week 11: Buccaneers at Packers
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The Packers recently have had a frustrating history with Tampa Bay. In 2008, they lost at home 30-21, and the next year, they fell to the Bucs, 38-28, when Tampa Bay was 0-9.
Tampa Bay is an up and coming team with alot of talent on offense, starting with quarterback Josh Freeman. On defense, they improved greatly through the draft, bringing in Adrian Clayborn and Da'Quan Bowers. They also have veteran presence in corner Ronde Barber.
For whatever reason, the Bucs seem to match up well against the Packers, and with a fiery and inspired head coach who is determined to prove that Tampa Bay is no longer a joke in the NFC, he will want to beat the Super Bowl champions more than ever.
Despite riding a 4-game winning streak, the Packers will fall in this one.
Buccaneers 34, Packers 31
Week 12: Packers at Lions (Thanksgiving)
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The Lions may be the most intriguing team in the NFC North. With a talented but injury-prone quarterback, one of he best receivers in the league, and a stifling defensive line, the Lions are no longer a joke. They proved last year they were not a joke to the Packers, when they defeated them 7-3 and took out their starting quarterback.
While the Packers have the better offense, with one of the deepest receiving corps in the league, and a running game they hope will be more balanced, the Lions have a passing attack that can put up numbers, as well, especially when quarterback Matt Stafford stays healthy.
The Lions defensive line is what is truly scary, with one of the best defensive tackles in the league in Ndamukong Suh, and rookie defensive lineman Nick Fairley, who they drafted this April.
The Lions have what it takes to play tough against the Packers, and I expect them to, and they will defeat the Packers on Thanksgiving, dropping the Packers to 7-4.
Lions 17, Packers 13
Week 13: Packers at Giants
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Last year, the Packers took down the Giants 45-17 to get back on track and into the playoffs. Like the Falcons, the Giants were a team thought to be a contender, but the Packers exposed their supposed stifling defense, and their turnover-prone offense.
The Giants do have many defensive playmakers, starting with Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora. Their secondary got a boost when they drafted Prince Amukamara in the first round of the draft. However, the Packers have an equally talented defense, which has the ability to create turnovers, which is a proven issue with the Giants offense.
The Packers once again will use the Giants to get back on track, and will defeat them on the road to bring them to 8-4.
Packers 35, Giants 21
Week 14: Raiders at Packers
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The Packers will return home to face the Oakland Raiders, a team that many believe is on the rise, but, in 2010, they still had their struggles on their way to an 8-8 record.
Quarterback Jason Campbell is an efficient quarterback with several weapons in the passing game, and their running game is solid with Darren McFadden and Michael Bush. However, on defense, the loss of start cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha may prove to be huge for them, as he was easily the best player on that team.
The Raiders are not the punchline they were a few years ago, but they still have alot of growing to do.
The Packers are a second-half team, and will prove it here, as they rout the Raiders for their second win in a row.
Packers 37, Raiders 13
Week 15: Packers at Chiefs
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The Packers are returning on the road to face the Kansas City Chiefs, another team on the rise. Like the Raiders, the Chiefs were a punchline just a few years ago, but have made significant strides to improve their team, culminating in a division win last year.
The Chiefs have a solid offense led by quarterback Matt Cassel, and have one of the top runningbacks in the league in Jamaal Charles. Their defense is young and improving, with second-year safety Eric Berry one of the team's best up and coming players.
The Chiefs should be able to match up well against the Packers, especially since this game is in Arrowhead, one of the hardest places to play.
The Chiefs will keep the game close, but the Packers will come out on top to grab their third straight win.
Packers 27, Chiefs 21
Week 16: Bears at Packers (Christmas Day)
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The Bears reunite with the Packers on Christmas Day, on a game sure to be close, as most Bears-Packers matchups have been in the past few years.
This game should be another defensive, low-scoring game, as both defenses seem to play their best, causing the offenses of both teams to struggle.
The Packers won't let themselves get swept by the Bears, as they will get their 4th win in a row, defeating the Bears on Christmas Day.
Packers 17, Bears 14
Week 17: Lions at Packers
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In the final game of the season, the Lions will come to Lambeau to face the Packers. The Lions will bring that stifling defense with them, but, it is unclear how their offense may perform. The Lions' success this year is dependent on Matthew Stafford, and whether or not he can stay healthy. If he can stay healthy and keep the chains moving, he could be a legitimate threat to the Packers' playoff hopes.
The Lions also suffer a weak secondary that is prone to the pass. With the Packers high-powered passing attack, this could be a poor matchup for the Lions.
The Lions will keep it interesting, but the Packers will win their final game of the season and take home that division title with a 12-4 record.
Packers 20, Lions 14