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The Green Bay Packers 2017 schedule was released Thursday night. Let’s check out the five games with the biggest playoff implications for the Green and Gold this season.
Week 1: vs Seattle 3:25 p.m. FOX
Green Bay won both games against Seattle over the past two years, but the memories of the Fail Mary game in 2012 and the NFC Championship heartbreaker in 2014 are still open wounds for the Packers faithful.
That this game is being played in Week 1 gives the matchup an extra edge. The Packers and Seahawks had up-and-down seasons in 2016 (by their standards at least), and will be looking for a quick start to the 2017 season. Aaron Rodgers is not going to want to face another “Run the Table” type situation, and Russell Wilson, Pete Carroll, and the rest of the Seahawks merry band is trying to prove it still has championship mettle after back-to-back Super Bowl appearances in 2013 and 2014.
The Packers will also be able to see old friend and new foe Eddie Lacy early in the season.
This has a chance to be one of the best games of the year with two teams looking to snag the top spot in the NFC.
The NFL schedule gods are throwing the Packers into the deep end with this start to the season. In Week 2, Green Bay will return to the scene of the crime – last year’s season-ending 44-21 bludgeoning in the NFC Championship game at the hands of Matt Ryan and Julio Jones.
Speaking of Jones, Green Bay has done very little to shore up the secondary (if anything, it might be a little worse) that Jones shredded for 180 yards and two touchdowns last year. With these first two games, Green Bay could very well start the season 0-2.
Week 5: at Dallas 3:25 p.m. FOX
The hits just keep on coming early in the season for the Packers. In-between the Falcons showdown, there is a testy home contest with Cincinnati (Rodgers is 0-2 against the Bengals all-time), and then another big playoff re-match on the road. This time, it is with Dallas, who will certainly be looking for revenge after last year’s thrilling 34-31 postseason tilt.
Rodgers and Dak Prescott could be the quarterback battle to watch in the NFC over the next several years; with a heavy dose of Ezekiel Elliott and Dez Bryant sprinkled in, the stars will be out in full force for this must-watch game.
The Packers did not fare well in their 17-14 loss at Minnesota last season, turning the ball over three times and managing just 263 total yards. The Vikings did not finish 2016 strong, but their home-field advantage inside the new US Bank Stadium is undeniable. The Vikings and Lions are looking to push the Packers for the division crown, making these NFC North road matchups even harder for Green Bay.
Week 13: vs Tampa Bay 1 p.m. FOX
I could have picked several other matchups for this final spot, such as at Pittsburgh in Week 12, or at Carolina in Week 15. But this Buccaneers squad is one of the rising teams in the NFC. It is year three of Jameis Winston, and he now has deep threat DeSean Jackson alongside big-time playmaker Mike Evans. The former number one pick is in line for a monster season.
Even with last year’s young squad, the Bucs finished 9-7. Throw in another year of experience, consistency, and talent, and Tampa could be one of the best teams in the conference. Considering Green Bay’s defensive woes, the Buccaneers prolific offense could be a problem.
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