Out of the Gate

Colin Kaepernick literally ran over the Packers in the 2012 playoffs...and guess who the Packers play Week 1. The NFL released its 2013 season schedule on Thursday, and everybody's doing their best to figure out how their team will do based on who they're playing this year. Oddly, we already knew the 2013 season opponents, but nobody seemed to predict what their team's record would be based on their opponents alone. But now that we know the order in which they'll play, it's time to prognosticate!

Anyhow, given how much the NFL changes from year to year, it's kind of silly to predict an entire season based on last year's results. By October, a quarter of the season has gone by and the landscape has again changed dramatically. But that quarter season can mean a lot, so we can maybe engaged in a little prediction of our own.

Week 1, the Packers renew acquaintances with a team that beat them twice last season: the San Francisco 49ers. It's hard to think that the Packers will have improved enough to unseat San Francisco, so let's assume for sake of argument that the 49ers have a better than average chance of beating the Packers.

In Week 2, the Packers host the Washington Redskins and, presumably Robert Griffin III. I say presumably because Griffin is currently recovering from off-season knee surgery and his availability for the start of the season remains in doubt.  If Griffin plays, this would probably be a pretty even match-up, but I don't think Griffin is going to be ready, and if he is, he won't be the RG3 we saw at the end of the season. Let's mark this as a tentative win for Green Bay.

Next up, the Packers travel to Cincinnati. The Bengals are a bit of a puzzler. Andy Dalton and A.J. Green are a formidable duo, and Geno Atkins and Company are a force to be reckoned with up front. Of their early games, this one is probably the biggest question mark for the Packers. Will they have enough defense to slow down Dalton and Green? Will their offensive line be enough to hold off a big push up the middle? Who knows. I think this one is too close to call. (Duh. Every game is too close to call. It's April.)

Anyhow, I'd say there's a pretty good chance the Packers start the season at least 2-1. With a bye week in Week 4, it's important that the Packers get off to a good start. There won't be any opportunities to catch their breath late in the year, so the Packers better have their house in order early on.

What do you think? What kind of success will the Packers have early in the season?

Jon Meerdink