The NFL released the 2012 schedule Tuesday, including the 16-game schedule the Packers will face next season.
Here's a short breakdown on Green Bay's slate of games:
What's to like
- Five primetime games. Despite a rich history, 2012 will mark the first ever season in which Green Bay plays five games under the lights. Primetime games are always a good platform for a team like the Packers to expand their brand.
- Start at home. The games aren't easy, but Green Bay does open the season with two games at Lambeau Field. There's something to be said about starting fast, and getting two games in Green Bay helps that cause.
- "Easy" middle stretch. I tread lightly with the word easy, as no game at this level is going to be a cakewalk. But a stretch through October and into November features games against the Indianapolis Colts, St. Louis Rams, Arizona Cardinals and Jacksonville Jaguars doesn't look especially daunting.
- Finish in Minnesota. The Metrodome hasn't always been a friendly place for the Packers, but it does mark a comfortable weather environment for Green Bay to finish the season. Closing the season against the NFC North's weakest member helps too.
- Good bye week placement. The Packers get two home games before taking a week off in early November. That could prove to be important, as Green Bay then travels to Detroit and New York for important games following the bye.
What's to dislike
- Tough opening stretch. The 49ers will prove to be a tough opener, and the NFL did no favors in giving Green Bay a Thursday night game just four days later against Chicago. While the team will arguably be at its freshest point, that's no easy task to face a physical football team like the 49ers before a quick turnover. A Monday night trip to Seattle to face Matt Flynn and the up-and-coming Seahawks won't be easy, and the Saints—who come to Green Bay in Week 4—still have a guy named Drew Brees leading a pretty good offense.
- Late division run. The Packers have a weird end of the season, to say the least. Instead of spreading out the division games, Green Bay faces five division opponents over the final seven weeks. That means the Packers will face Chicago in Week 2 and then not see another NFC North opponent until Detroit in Week 11. Odd.
- One home game in October and November. The Packers are just one of two teams with a three-game road trip on the schedule, and the bye in November ensures Green Bay plays just two home games over an eight-week stretch. You need to win road games to have a chance in this league, but that's a tough middle-of-the-season run.