Over the past few years, teams that jump out to double-digit wins and secure the number one or number two seed have almost guaranteed themselves a Super Bowl berth. The Green Bay Packers must start fast in 2020 to have the odds be ever in their favor.
In 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there will either be limited fans in stadiums or no fans at all. All this means is that teams cannot afford to let outside distractions effect their play. Especially a team like Green Bay that thrives off fan presence.
The schedule makers have once again put Green Bay in a perilous spot that will test them right out of the gate in 2020. Getting off to a winning record after the first four games of the seasons will be a challenge in itself.
The First Four
Green Bay is the defending NFC North champions heading into this season and open with two divisional games to start their season. They’ll open up against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium — in which they won last season for the first time since it opened in 2016.
U.S. Bank Stadium has been a house of horrors for Green Bay, but an opening-season win could set the tone on the road for a team that won six away games last season.
Next, they’ll return to Lambeau Field for the home opener against the Detroit Lions. The Lions were a team that gave Green Bay fits during both matchups last year. In both games the Packers won on last second field goals by Mason Crosby.
When Matthew Stafford is 100 percent healthy, he’s a great quarterback that’s capable of winning at Lambeau Field. Again, with no fans in the stadium, Green Bay has to feel like they’re feeding off 80,000 people chanting “Go Pack Go.”
From there it’s a prime time game on NBC against the New Orleans Saints. The Saints should also be fighting for a number one seed come the end of the season.
Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees will no doubt give us another classic, but anyway you slice it, it’ll be a tough game in a place where Rodgers (0-2) hasn’t won. With the game being this early in the season, even if Green Bay should drop it, there’s plenty of games to recover.
Lastly, the first quarter of the season will finish with a Monday Night Football game against the Atlanta Falcons at Lambeau Field. Without a preseason, it’ll be tough to gauge how good Atlanta will be going into the season. However, as with Brees, Rodgers and Matt Ryan has been must-watch football.
This game could have the makings of a trap-game knowing that a brutal four-game stretch against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Houston Texans, Minnesota Vikings and San Francisco 49ers follows.
Green Bay after Four Games
Good teams beat the teams they’re supposed to and the first four games could go a number of ways. Both Minnesota and New Orleans were a playoff team last season, while Tampa Bay added Tom Brady to dramatically improve their positioning.
The obvious outcome would have Green Bay go a perfect 4-0 in the first quarter of 2020. But assuming there’s a loss or two in there, either at 3-1 or 2-2, Green Bay would carry momentum into the gauntlet awaiting them around the middle of the season.
However, Green Bay cannot afford to drop to a 1-3 record or woeful 0-4 start and still have a Super Bowl victory in mind. Although it’s just four games, losing head-to-head meetings against four NFC teams won’t do them any favors.
Under second-year head coach, Matt LaFleur, the Packers should have a more familiar feeling for getting the best out of an aging quarterback, a powerful 1-2 running back combo, and a defense that’s seemingly getting better.
Green Bay’s window is still open and surviving the first eight games of the season could set them up as a potential number one seed. We’ll find out in less than three weeks as the NFL season draws near!
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