Packers 2017 Schedule Features 6 Super Bowl QBs
Before the 2016 season began, the Packers had the easiest schedule in the NFL based on 2015. Green Bay finished with the 12th hardest schedule based on their opponents’ records, thanks to Dallas’ improbable season and a stronger AFC South. A lot can and will change between now and the conclusion of next season.
The 2017 NFL schedule hasn’t yet been released, but we do know who the Packers will be playing at Lambeau Field and on the road.
On its surface, there’s one big takeaway. The Packers are going to be facing some of the NFL’s best quarterbacks. Green Bay will play six games, barring any injuries or trades, against quarterbacks who have started at least one Super Bowl.
- Joe Flacco
- Drew Brees
- Russell Wilson
- Matt Ryan
- Cam Newton
- Ben Roethlisberger
Aaron Rodgers is a luxury only the New England Patriots can comprehend. The Packers are, as head coach Mike McCarthy once put it, “nobody’s underdogs.”
The potential of facing six quarterbacks with a start in the Super Bowl is a drastic change from last season. Ultimately, the Packers faced only two quarterbacks who had started the big game: Eli Manning and Russell Wilson. (Matt Ryan doesn’t count, as his Super Bowl start came after the Packers game.)
In 2014, three Super Bowl starting quarterbacks peppered the Packers schedule. Seattle’s Russell Wilson started the season’s inaugural game against the Packers, New Orleans’ Drew Brees gave Green Bay one of its four regular season losses, and the Patriots’ Tom Brady made his first start in Lambeau Field against Aaron Rodgers late in the year.
What impact does this have on the Packers 2017 season?
More pressure on the secondary. Green Bay will be rebuilding their defensive backfield this offseason, and reports have the Packers even considering dipping their toe into free agency at cornerback. Corners Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins had dreadful 2016 campaigns against average NFL quarterbacks, but will have to face a higher level of competition next season.
More veterans quarterbacks. Most NFL rosters are full of young players learning the ropes of professional football and relying on their athletic gifts to compensate. Last year, Green Bay played against five quarterbacks with two or fewer years of experience. Veteran quarterbacks like Drew Brees and Joe Flacco beat teams just as much with their brains as their arms and legs. It will be a season-long test for Dom Capers and the Packers defense.
Fewer cupcake games in 2017. The Packers were favored by a touchdown or more in six games last year. At a cursory glance, only Cleveland and Chicago figure to have oddsmakers favoring the Packers by a touchdown or more next season. On top of the Super Bowl starters above, Green Bay will also likely face Jameis Winston, Andy Dalton and Dak Prescott next year, too.