Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – Are you ready for some football?
It’s official. The NFL’s pre-and regular-season schedules were announced last night, and football fans across the nation are hopeful for full- or near-capacity stadiums this fall.
A much-anticipated return to football normalcy, as vaccinations allow larger public gatherings.
At FOX 25/48, we’re excited to present our best NFL schedule ever: 49 games, including 11 Packers games, seven Vikings games, eight Bears games, and four NFC playoff contests including the NFC Championship Game.
The Green Bay Packers have been in the last two NFC title games after posting back-to-back 13-3 regular-season records.
With or without Aaron Rodgers, the fourth-toughest schedule in 2021 awaits head coach Matt LaFleur’s team in their quest to go one step further to the Super Bowl.
The schedule is highlighted by five prime-time contests (subject to flexible scheduling) for the eighth straight year. Green Bay has been a network darling and opens the regular season in New Orleans against the Drew Brees-less Saints and hosts Clevland and Baker Mayfield on Christmas Day.
The bad news: seven of their first 11 games are on the road and the bye week comes at a franchise-latest Week 13.
The good news: four of their final six games will be played at Lambeau Field in late November and December, when playoff berths are won and lost.
Here’s a look at the Packers’ schedule by month:
Sun., Sept 12: At New Orleans. 3:25p on FOX.
Mon., Sept 20: Host Detroit.
Sun., Sept 26: At San Francisco.
Projected record with Rodgers: 3-0. 1-2 without.
Saints are without Brees but still have weapons, Detroit is still rebuilding and the home opener at Lambeau will be something special with the franchise honoring the 25th anniversary of the 1996 Super Bowl team. San Francisco is much improved and will definitely be a loss without Rodgers under center.
Sun., Oct 3: Host Pittsburgh.
Sun., Oct 10: At Cincinnati. 12 noon FOX
Sun., Oct 17: At Chicago. 12 noon FOX
Sun., Oct. 24: Host Washington 12 noon FOX
Thur., Oct. 28: At Arizona 7:20p FOX
Projected record with Rodgers: 4-1. 2-3 without.
Big Ben and Steelers are always a challenge, Bengals still in rebuilding mode. The division-rival Bears are much improved and will have a new QB under center after a much-anticipated training camp battle. Washington and Cardinals are solid teams that the Packers can handle with Rodgers. With Love under center, they are toss-ups as the rookie should be settling into offense and rhythm by Weeks 7-8.
Sun., Nov 7: At Kansas City. 3:25p FOX
Sun., Nov 14: Host Seattle.
Sun., Nov 21: At Minnesota. 12 noon FOX
Sun., Nov. 28: Host LA Rams. 3:25p FOX
Projected record with Rodgers: 3-1. 2-2 without.
The Chiefs—with Mahomes this time—will prevail at home. Russell Wilson and the Seahawks have struggled mightily the past several years. Vikings are a much more physical team with an improved offensive line and a young defense with a year of experience playing together—a toss-up with these border rivals. Rams should be ornery returning to Lambeau after last year’s playoff debacle with a new but familiar quarterback.
Week 13 – Bye Week
Sun., Dec 12: Host Chicago.
Sun., Dec 19: at Baltimore. 12 noon FOX
Sat., Dec 25: Host Cleveland. 3:30p FOX
Projected record with Rodgers: 2-1. 1-2 without.
The Bears rematch is a must-win at home. Ravens on the road is a huge challenge for Packers defense as Baltimore has added more weapons to complement their ever-dangerous quarterback. Browns are a bona-fide NFC contender and a potential shoot-out looms at Lambeau on Christmas Day.
Sun., Jan 2: Host Vikings.
Sun., Jan 9: at Detroit. 12 noon FOX
Projected record with Rodgers: 2-0. 1-1 without.
These last two NFC North clashes may well determine the division champion. With Rodgers, a potential first-round bye is earned. Without, players pack their bags for an early off-season.
Final Projected Record: 14-3 with Rodgers, 7-10 without.