The 2021 schedule came out Wednesday for the Green Bay Packers. The excitement led us to analyze the top storylines for each of the games.
The NFL schedule has been released! The schedule release officially marks the ramp-up period to build excitement for the new season that is upon us.
The Green Bay Packers will play 17 games this season. 8 games will be at home and 9 on the road. Their extra road game from their rotational schedule falls at Kansas City.
There will be storylines surrounding every game. Each game in the NFL is unique. One of the reasons the NFL is as popular as it is is because it is a week-to-week league.
Any given Sunday a bad team can beat a good one.
With all the cliches out of the way, let’s look at how the Packers’ schedule stacks up.
Week 1 @ New Orleans 3:25
The Green Bay Packers open their season on the road for the third consecutive year when they travel to New Orleans to take on the Saints.
The biggest storyline here obviously is unknown. For now, it’s slated to be Aaron Rodgers against one of Taysom Hill or Jameis Winston. With Rodgers’ future up in the air
at this time, that could lead to a showcase of two of the winningest franchises in the past decade transitioning to new quarterbacks.
Last year the Packers took down the Saints in the Superdome on Sunday Night Football. Allen Lazard was the big star of the night with more than 100 yards receiving on six receptions.
This will be a big test for Joe Barry’s defense. Despite losing Brees, the Saints’ offense is loaded and has one of the best coaches in football in Sean Payton.
Week 2 Vs Detroit 7:20 MNF
The Packers’ home opener will be against an old friend. Jamaal Williams and the Detroit Lions will come to town on Monday Night Football. The two teams met in Week 2 last season, with the Packers winning 42-21.
The Packers swept the season series with Detroit, and have won their last two games at Lambeau against the Lions.
Week 3 @ San Francisco 7:20 SNF
The Green Bay Packers return to the scene of the crime. The last three times these teams have played, neither game has been particularly close. The 49ers won a 37-8 drubbing in November of 2019. They followed that up with a 37-20 ass-kicking in the NFC Championship Game. Last season, the Packers returned the favor with a 34-17 performance that was not nearly as close as the final score indicated.
This year will be different. The 49ers could be breaking in a new quarterback with third overall pick Trey Lance in the fold. The 49ers are an incredibly talented team that struggled with the injury bug last year. They are looking to return to prominence in the NFC.
Of course, this game will lead to the 2005 draft stories that we’ve heard more than a dozen times by this point. Just grin and bear them.
Week 4 vs Pittsburgh 3:25
A rematch of Super Bowl XLV. The Pittsburgh Steelers return to Lambeau Field for the first time since 2013 when Matt Flynn and Eddie Lacy led the way for a Green Bay offense that was missing Aaron Rodgers.
If Rodgers is back under center, it will likely represent the final showdown between him and Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
This game’s intrigue is pretty obvious. It’s the two best fan bases in all of football. Two organizations are typically the gold standard when it comes to professional football.
It will be a great weekend for both nostalgia and on the field. The Steelers are always competitive and they bring a tough defense with them.
They’ll also bring TJ Watt and Chase Claypool, two players that the fan base consistently argues they should have drafted in their respective classes.
Week 5 @ Cincinnati 12 PM
A Joe Burrow sighting! The Packers will be taking on the former number one overall pick. Jamarr Chase will be an excellent test for Jaire Alexander/Kevin King/Eric Stokes and the rest of the Packers’ secondary.
The Bengals are an uncommon opponent. The last time these two linked up, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers overcame a 24-7 deficit to win 27-24 in overtime in what was the hottest game in Lambeau Field history to date.
Week 6 @ Chicago 12 PM
The biggest question here is who is starting at quarterback? Do the Bears bother going with Andy Dalton early in the season, or do they hand the reigns to Justin Fields right out of the gate.
If they don’t do that, then there is a possibility this is Fields’ debut as the Bears’ starting quarterback.
Assuming Aaron Rodgers is on the team, these are the two best teams in the NFC North. I feel like the Packers are still a cut above, but the Bears finally have elite talent at the quarterback position to go along with that defense. If nothing else, it makes things interesting.
Week 7 vs WFT Noon
Washington made the playoffs last season and gave the eventual Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers a run for their money.
Alex Smith is gone. Ryan Fitzpatrick is slated to be the team’s starting quarterback.
Washington’s defense is tough as nails under Head Coach Ron Rivera. This game will be fascinating in the trenches.
Washington’s front four is vicious led by Chase Young and Montez Sweat. Green Bay will likely have David Bakhtiari back by this point and have their preferred starters ready to go.
Whoever wins that matchup will go a long way toward winning the game.
Week 8 @ Arizona 7:20 TNF
The JJ Watt bowl. Watt of course was pursued by Green Bay this offseason before signing with the Arizona Cardinals. Watt will be one of many intriguing players that the Cardinals have on their roster.
A Packers’ fanbase draft crush, Zaven Collins will be making his debut against Green Bay.
Kyler Murray is a lot of fun with the high-flying offense that Kliff Kingsbury and company bring with them. Rondale Moore is another exciting player to keep an eye on. There will be plenty of intrigue in this Thursday night matchup.
Week 9 @ Kansas City 3:25
Aaron Rodgers vs Patrick Mahomes.
Week 10 vs Seattle 3:25
This is always a game that is circled on the calendar. Seattle has kept Green Bay out of at least one additional Super Bowl in the Aaron Rodgers era.
Russell Wilson is always a tough matchup regardless of who he faces.
The Seattle defense isn’t what it used to be, but there are always some fun matchups when Green Bay’s offenses face off with them.
Week 11 @ Minnesota Noon
Their first matchup against Minnesota comes in mid-November.
The Vikings are a team at a bit of a crossroads. They have some talent on offense led by Dalvin Cook and Justin Jefferson. Adam Theilen is obviously still a very good player.
This offense really comes down to their offensive line and whether or not they’ll be able to block for Kirk Cousins.
Defensively, the Vikings are in a bit of a transition. Their secondary added Patrick Peterson this offseason. Their front is built straight out of 1998 with Dalvin Tomlinson and Michael Pierce manning the middle. The question for the Vikings on defense will be whether their cornerbacks can hold up in coverage and if they can get any sort of pass rush.
Week 12 vs Los Angeles 3:25
Sean McVay vs Matt LaFleur. A rematch of last year’s Divisional Round of the NFC playoffs that Green Bay won 32-18.
McVay of course was one of LaFleur’s mentors before he became the Head Coach in Green Bay.
Matthew Stafford is a familiar face that will be making his return to Lambeau Field.
The matchup of note here, of course, is Davante Adams against Jalen Ramsey. Adams won that battle last January. Ramsey hasn’t forgotten. It will make for a great football theater.
Week 13 Bye week
A later bye week that initially anticipated, but good for the Packers before a tough final five games of their season.
Week 14 vs Chicago 7:20 SNF
A Sunday Night Football game at Lambeau against the Bears. Could this game be for controlling the landscape of the NFC North? It’s certainly possible.
Week 15 @ Baltimore
An uncommon opponent, but a fun one. The Baltimore Ravens are one of the best-run organizations in all of football. Lamar Jackson is an MVP candidate coming into this season. Their running game has been the best in the NFL the last two years, and not solely because of Jackson.
JK Dobbins is the type of running back that could give the Packers’ defense fits. Rashod Bateman was a Packers’ favorite for this year’s draft class, and he could lock horns with the guy they had to take instead, Eric Stokes.
Week 16 vs Cleveland (Christmas Day!) 3:30
Christmas at Lambeau!
These aren’t the same old Browns either. The Green Bay Packers are Super Bowl contenders and have been for the better part of a decade.
The Cleveland Browns might be the team best equipped to knock off Patrick Mahomes and the two-time defending AFC Champion, Kansas City Chiefs.
The Browns are loaded with talent. This game has a chance to be the statement game for Green Bay that tells us whether or not to really believe in their Super Bowl chances.
Week 17 vs Minnesota 7:20 SNF
A January date at home with the Minnesota Vikings. Is there anything better than that?
Last year the Vikings won at Lambeau Field behind Dalvin Cook’s monster game.
This year, with the game as late in the season as it is, the Packers cannot afford to have a hiccup like that one.
Could Kellen Mond be the starting quarterback by then?
Week 18 @ Detroit Noon
The season ends on the road against Detroit. The 2019 Packers’ regular season ended in Detroit. It was a 20-17 win that allowed Green Bay to secure a first-round bye.
This year the Packers could be looking to accomplish the same feat in Detroit.
The Lions are likely slated to have a tough year under first-year Head Coach Dan Campbell but make no mistake, the Lions have played Green Bay tough in recent years.
That’s especially true at Ford Field. It’s a tough place to play, and Green Bay has really struggled there in recent years.