The NFL 2020 Schedule is hot off the presses, and the hot takes are ready to roll. The Green Bay Packers come into this season after a draft which has seemed to put a cloud over the team going into the season. To quiet the noise from the outside the Packers need to have a strong start to the season. So let’s break it down.
Week One: @ Minnesota Viking
Green Bay swept Minnesota in their meetings last year and finished with a very convincing win in Minnesota in Week 16. However, this Vikings team will look a little different thanks to some key offseason moves. The Vikings traded away Pro Bowl Receiver Stefon Diggs to the Buffalo Bills and Cut Pro Bowl Cornerback Xaiver Rhodes. The real only significant add for the Vikings was adding the electric Wide Receiver Justin Jefferson in the draft.
Even with the addition of Justin Jefferson the Vikings come into the season as a weaker team overall. Losing Stephon Diggs is a significant loss for a Vikings and now add even more pressure on Dalvin Cook and Adam Thelen in that offense.
Week Two: Home Against Detroit Lions
The Packers also swept the Lions in their meetings last year, but did it in a very dramatic fashion by winning by one point and three points in those games. The Lions will welcome back Matthew Stafford who was hurt for most of the season with a back fracture. The Lions offense posses talent at Wide Receiver with Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones along with Running Back Kerryon Johnson.
However the Lions traded away disgruntled Pro Bowl Cornerback Darrius Slay to the Eagles while signing Cornerback Desmond Trufant. While Trufant is not at the level of Slay, he still is a solid replacement. I believe the Lions are a team on the brink of a rebuild and with their record at Lambeau, I don’t see the Lions winning this one.
Week Three: @ New Orleans Saints
The last time the Packers played the Saints it was week seven of the 2017 NFL season. Brett Hundley started for the injured Aaron Rodgers and the Saint swon 26-17 in Lambeau. The Saints haven’t changed much in those two years and still boast the elite talents of Drew Brees, Michael Thomas, and Alvin Kamara on offense. They have Marshon Lattimore and Cameron Jordan leading the way on defense.
This go around, the Packers will presumptively have Aaron Rodgers healthy. This matchup will sure be a high scoring affair, but the saints at home are a totally different beast than any other NFL team, and with a defense that does not seem to show up against elite offenses, I don’t feel to optimistic about a victory.
Week Four: Home Against Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons in 2019 seemed to have all the talent to compete in the NFC, but instead they stumbled to the middle of the season that year with a record of 1-7 before finishing the season 7-9. During this offseason the Falcons cut Pro Bowl Linebacker Vic Beasley and running back Devonta Freeman. They then added, once elite, running back Todd Gurley, and traded for Tight End Hayden Hurst. This will also be the second week in a row the Packers will be playing a prime time game. I feel like this game will have a similar flow to the Saints game, but with the home crowd and inconstancies the Falcons have shown, I feel confident in a win for the Pack.
Week Five: Bye Week
Week Six: @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Packers will come off the bye week in week five, to travel to Tampa to see Tom Brady and the Bucs. Adding Tom Brady seemed to be the missing piece the Buccaneers needed to complete an already loaded offense. It includes Mike Evans, breakout receiver Chris Godwin, and recently un-retired Rob Gronkowski. This defense is also loaded in talent.
The only questions marks for this team is the age of Brady and the health of Rob Gronkowski. I know the Buccaneers are the NFL offseason darlings this year, similar to the Browns from 2019. On paper most would side with the Buccaneers winning this game. However with the question marks and potential chemisty issues that could arise this could be a winnable game for the Packers.
Week Seven: @ Houston Texans
A lot of people gave the Packers grief for their performance in the 2020 Draft, but I don’t think it compares to the off-the-rails offseason the Houston Texans had. The Texans started the offseason by trading stud Wide Receiver Deandre Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals for a second round pick and David Johnson. Johnson, at one time, was considered in the upper echelon of running backs. With last season being a horrible disappointment for him, he was benched in favor of Kenyan Drake.
The Houston Texans boast one of the worst offensive lines in football and didn’t really do much to improve that this offseason. With the Packers having one of the premier rushing attacks in the league I feel this will be a game where the defensive will shine. Also helping this defense is not having to deal with Deandre Hopkins.
Week Eight: Home Against Minnesota Vikings
With my prediction of the Packers getting the win in the week at the US Bank Stadium. I feel the same outcome will happen for the Packers as long as they stay healthy.
Week Nine: @ San Francisco 49ers
This is the match a lot of Packers fans will have circled on their calendars. The Packers faced off against the 49ers once during the regular and then the second time during the NFC Championship game. Both games were played at Levi Stadium, and both had the same story. The 49ers completely out powered and out played the Packers. The 49ers were busy this offseason in the trade market with trading the effective Running Back Matt Breida to Miami, and trading Pro Bowl Defensive Tackle DeForest Buckner to the Colts.
If that wasn’t enough, the 49ers then made the blockbuster trade for Offensive Lineman Trent Williams from the Redskins. Even though the loss of Deforest Buckner is huge, the 49ers still boast plenty of talent on defensive side. On offense the 49ers lost Emmanuel Sanders to free agency. They still boast breakout wide receiver Deebo Samuel, and Tight End George Kittle. This game seems like a tall task for the Packers.
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