So the slate is set for the Green Bay Packers. About the only thing that needs to be said about the 2020 NFL schedule is I hope it goes off on time and with fans in the seats because for the Pack, it's a doozy.
Here's the list:
August 13-17 Arizona Cardinals (Bishop's Charities)
August 20-24 Cleveland Browns (Midwest Shrine Game)
August 27-30 @ New York Giants
September 3-4 @ Kansas City Chiefs
Sunday, September 13 at Minnesota Vikings Noon
Sunday, September 20 vs Detroit Lions Noon
Sunday, September 27 at New Orleans Saints 7:20 PM
Monday, October 5 vs Atlanta Falcons (Gold Package) 7:15 PM
BYE Week 5
Sunday, October 18 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers 3:25 PM
Sunday, October 25 at Houston Texans Noon
Sunday, November 1 vs Minnesota Vikings Noon
Thursday, November 5 at San Francisco 49ers 7:20 PM
Sunday, November 15 vs Jacksonville Jaguars Noon
Sunday, November 22 at Indianapolis Colts Noon
Sunday, November 29 vs Chicago Bears (Gold Package) 7:20 PM
Sunday, December 6 vs Philadelphia Eagles 3:25 PM
Sunday, December 13 at Detroit Lions Noon
Saturday or Sunday, December 19 or 20 vs Carolina Panthers TBD
Sunday, December 27 vs Tennessee Titans 7:20 PM
Sunday, January 3 at Chicago Bears Noon
Now, here's my 20-20 vision of the lineup.
Another five prime time games for the Packers, always a ratings draw. Seems to me the Gold Package folks are getting cheated a bit with both of their games under the lights, most of those season ticket holders live well outside the greater Green Bay area. The Pre-Season is interesting with the first two at home and the last two on the road including a visit to the Super Bowl champs to wrap it up. Thoughts on the Regular Season games, one by one.
At Minnesota to start, first time the Packers have ever opened a season with a visit to the Vikings across the border. If the pandemic is still a problem by then and no fans are allowed at the US Bank vault, the boys will be catching a big Skol break and Aaron Rodgers will be throwing the ball against a rebuilt secondary.
A home opener against the Detroit Lions and back to back noon starts for the Pack.
Prime time in NOLA. A Sunday night Rodgers v Brees showcase and two NFC contenders meeting early but I'm most interested to see what Taysom Hill shenanigans Sean Payton dreams up for the team that got burned trying to keep him. This game will be played hours after the Ryder Cup wraps up the final day of singles matches at Whistling Straits. Packers President Mark Murphy made only two requests to the NFL regarding the schedule, keep the team out of town around the international golf spectacle (sure hope this doesn't get postponed or cancelled), and the following weekend when the Wisconsin Badgers host the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Lambeau Field on Saturday, October 3.
Make it 28 consecutive seasons on Monday Night Football as the Packers welcome the Falcons in week 4. Doesn't bring the same sizzle as it might have had a couple of years ago. Todd Gurley will be an interesting X-factor. The tundra is going to take a beating with this game coming two days after the collegians compete.
It's an early bye for the Packers in week 5 but the fun is just beginning.
Coming off the bye, it's the juicy trip to Tampa, the long forgotten NFC Central rival but now it's Rodgers and Brady. The Buccaneers will have had a month and a half to see how the Brady-Gronk revival is going and this game will be hyped like crazy.
Then it's off to Reliant Stadium for Deshone Watson, J.J. Watt and the Houston Texans for the only back to back road weekends of the season. I remember talking to the Smith brothers last season about when they believed the Packers might be contender and they said it was during the joint training camp practices against the Texans.
November brings the Vikings rematch to Lambeau but four days later....
It's back to Hell's Kitchen for the LaFleur-Rodgers Pack, Levi's Stadium and the NFC Championship game rematch. Three trips to Santa Clara in 13 months, could the third time be the charm?
A mini-bye leads Green Bay into a pair of AFC South games, hosting Jacksonville and then traveling to Indianapolis, where the Packers have NEVER won, be it the Hoosier Dome or Lucas Oil Stadium.
The Sunday after Thanksgiving will have the Packers hosting the Chicago Bears in prime time, the second Gold Package game. If Aaron Rodgers couldn't make a lot of big plays with Jimmy Graham in two years, I can't wait to see if Mitchell Trubisky can get the ball anywhere near the new Bear. Maybe it'll be Nick Foles' team by then.
The Eagles make it two years in a row at Lambeau on December 6 and the Packers owe them one after a poor showing early last year.
It's off to Detroit for a noon start at Ford Field. Will ex-Packers Mike Daniels and Geronimo Allison be contributing to another disappointing season in Motown?
A week 15 weekend with the Carolina Panthers has yet to be settled on, either Saturday or Sunday at home for a peek at Teddy Bridgewater.
One last prime time show for the Packers comes two days after Christmas with the Tennessee Titans coming to Lambeau in a contest involving the conference championship game runner-ups from a year ago.
The season finale will be at Soldier Field, I've covered some memorable ones there, Bart Starr not calling a timeout on the Bears final drive in what turned out to be his last game as coach, Brett Favre tearfully leaving the field thinking that one was his last, John Kuhn's piece of Julius Peppers that allowed Aaron Rodgers 4th down toss to Randall Cobb just to name a few.
So there you have it, just don't ask me for (11) a record (and 5) prediction. Let's just hope they're played.