This last week the NFL announced its schedule for the biggest season to date. Adding the 17th game for each team, the NFL looks to have another great year ahead. The Packers schedule comes tasked with ten playoff teams from the previous year. Let’s take an early look at the first four opponents for the Packers in 2021.
Week One at New Orleans
Last year the Packers went to the Super Dome in week three without Davante Adams and pulled out a statement win. The defense struggled to contain Kamara, but forced a clutch turnover when it mattered. This year, however, nobody knows what to expect from the Saints led by Jamies Winston. Winston brings a different style than Brees did, and the offense will be different. Regardless, their offense will flow through Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas.
The Packers offense should be dominant again this season and should be able to overcome anything the New Orleans defense throws at them. It will all come down to how the defense can perform against the star-powered New Orleans attack. This game will be the first outing for Joe Barry’s new Green Bay defense, and it will be a huge test. The Packers like Jaire matched up against anybody and will trust Kenny Clark and Za’Darius Smith to make an impact in the backfield.
Week Two vs. Detroit
The first divisional matchup of the season will be at home on Monday Night Football, and will most likely be the first game with a packed Lambeau field in over a year. The Lions will have a completely new look this season. With Dan Campbell taking over as head coach, and Jared Goff at quarterback, the Packers should be in for an interesting matchup. The Lions seem to be giving Goff the chance to prove he can be the franchise quarterback. The Packers have a chance to welcome him to the division early with the whole country watching. The Lions lost Kenny Golliday in free agency, but shouldn’t be overlooked. Detroit always gives the Packers trouble, and with the element of surprise, this one could be close.
Matt LaFleur has only lost one division game during his time in Green Bay but has played in some close contests. An Aaron Rodgers led offense should put up fireworks against a weaker Detroit defense. It will come down to the defense stopping Goff and Swift in the young Detroit backfield.
Week Three at San Francisco
The Packers will travel to Santa Clara yet again this season. Don’t let last year’s blowout win tell the story. The 49ers were riddled with injuries that game and will look to be healthy early next season. The 49ers are a team that ran through the Packers on their way to a Super Bowl two years ago. Matt LaFleur has never out-scored a healthy Kyle Shanahan offense. Every time the 49ers have beath the Packers with Matt LaFleur it has been with big plays on offense and a lethal pass rush. With Nick Bosa, Geroge Kittle, and Jimmy Garoppolo all back and healthy the Packers need to make a statement and win.
Just like the first two matchups, the Packers will go as far as this defense allows them. Joe Barry has all the tools on defense. The question will be if he can put them in a position to outdo one of the smartest minds in football.
Week Four vs. Pittsburgh
The Steelers will once again be led by Ben Roethlisberger, but lack the firepower they had four years ago when they faced off in an epic Sunday Night game. The Steelers have a young receiving core and will ride the talent of rookie running back Najee Harris. Mike Tomlin will have his offense ready and rolling one month into the season, but will once again look for his defense to make plays.
A defense led by T.J Watt and Minkah Fitzpatrick will be tasked to stop a loaded Packers attack. Aaron Rodgers, Aaron Jones, Davante Adams, and Robert Tonyan will give them their money’s worth. The story of this game will be if one of the best defenses in football can contain the best offense in the NFL. Unlike the first three games where Joe Barry’s defense will be the deciding factor, this game will be decided with the reigning MVP calling the shots.
The Packers first month will reveal a lot about the team. Facing four teams who are all loaded with talent, the Packers will have a real chance to prove what they can do on both sides of the ball.
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