Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Packer Schedule is Released

The NFL released the regular season schedules tonight. It caught me by surprise, since in the past the schedule release and the draft took place several weeks apart. This year, the NFL evidently thought that by releasing the schedules in prime time tonight, and then having the draft start 48 hours later, also in prime time, they can shake things up and maybe create excitement among sports fans for the whole week. I don't know about that, but I am excited by the Packers' schedule.

Having spent about 20 years in Packer purgatory, living outside of Wisconsin, before the age of sports bars and the NFL Sunday Ticket, I recall very well what it was like to wait for release of the schedule, to see if the league was going to favor me by sending a prime time game or two I could watch that year in exile in Massachusetts, Illinois, or California. And, old habits being hard to break, that is still how I look at the schedule, even though the NFL Sunday Ticket makes it largely irrelevant to me.

The Packers open the season with an artificially late game at Philadelphia, then get a Monday night game at Chicago two weeks later, a home Sunday night game against the Vikings in late October, a Sunday night home game against Dallas in November, another Sunday night game at New England in December, an artificially late game at home against the Giants, and then finish up against the Bears, at Lambeau Field, on January 2.

The other thing I look for (now that we again have a quarterback who can play in the cold) is a good collection of cold weather games. The Packers have three December or January home games (49ers, Giants, and Bears) as well as a road game against the Patriots. My only complaint is that only one of those cold weather games is against a fair weather team, the 49ers.

One more thing. Of the Packers' first 6 opponents, only one had a winning record last year, the Eagles. And the Eagles have already lost their starting quarterback, and they may well lose their starting running back as well. So the Packers are in a position to get a strong start to the season. Could they be 5-1 or 6-0 by the time the first showdown with the Vikings rolls around? Crazier things have happened.

The Packers' schedule can be found here.