Ranking the Difficulty of the Packers Remaining Games

The Green Bay Packers have five games left on their regular-season schedule after the bye week. With the Pack still in contention for the top overall seed in the NFC with a 9-3 record, every contest will be important.

Still, not all games are equally challenging. Here is a look at the Packers five remaining games in the 2021 regular season and their relative degree of difficulty:

Week 14: Chicago at Green Bay

The Bears invade Lambeau Field in the second meeting between the NFL’s oldest rivals this season. The Packers won the first meeting in Chicago 24-14 back in Week 6.

The Bears are presently 4-7 heading into this week’s game against the Arizona Cardinals. Packers fans will be rooting for Chicago to pull off the upset this weekend in a rare occurrence.

The Bears continue to struggle on offense even though Matt Nagy has gone back to veteran Andy Dalton at quarterback over rookie Justin Fields. In fact, the Bears haven’t scored more than 20 points in a game and won since they beat the Raiders in Week 5.

The Packers are clearly the more talented team and they will be at home, but the Bears always get psyched up to play the Packers and few games in this rivalry are easy or one-sided.

Chicago’s defense, even without the injured Khalil Mack, is still a solid unit that often keeps the Bears close in games.

Degree of Difficulty: 5 out of 10

Week 15: Green Bay at Baltimore

The Ravens are 8-3 entering this weekend’s divisional matchup against the Steelers. They are in first place and have won three of their last four games.

The Ravens have a unique offense led by quarterback Lamar Jackson. Jackson is improving as a passer but is even more dangerous when he runs the football. He leads the Ravens with 707 yards on the ground and is averaging 5.7-yards per attempt. No other Ravens player has gained more than 324 yards rushing.

The Ravens are second in the NFL in rushing defense but are more vulnerable to the pass.

This is probably the toughest game left on the schedule. It’s on the road against a likely playoff team that features an unorthodox offense. Running quarterbacks have often given the Green Bay defense problems in recent seasons.

Because this game is against an AFC opponent, it is also the game the Packers can afford to lose if it had to drop one game down the stretch.

Degree of Difficulty: 8.5 out of 10

Week 16: Cleveland at Green Bay

The Pack hosts the Brown on Christmas Day in a game that will likely have playoff implications for both teams.

Cleveland’s offense has struggled as of late with Baker Mayfield seemingly unable to find his groove. The Browns have scored fewer than 20 points in six of their last seven games although their strong defense helped them win three of those contests.

The key for the Packers defense will be to slow down running back Nick Chubb who is averaging nearly 100-yards per game on the ground.

Defensively, Cleveland is stronger against the pass than the run and it will be a challenge for Aaron Rodgers to move the football consistently on the Browns secondary.

Green Bay is at home on national television and they will be favored, but this will not be an easy game.

Degree of Difficulty: 7 out of 10

Week 17: Minnesota at Green Bay

The Packers look to avenge their only division loss this season when they host the Vikings at Lambeau Field on Sunday Night Football.

The Vikings may have running back Dalvin Cook back for this game, but they beat the Packers earlier this season on the strength of Kirk Cousins downfield passing to Justin Jefferson.

The Packers hope to have some of their injured Pro Bowlers back by the time this game takes place. Certainly, if they can get Jaire Alexander and Za’Darius Smith back, it would strengthen the defense. Rashan Gary also missed the Vikings game which hampered the Packers pass rush.

This game will likely be tougher if the Vikings are still in contention for a wild card spot.

Degree of Difficulty: 8 out of 10

Week 18: Green Bay at Detroit

We are in December and the Lions are still looking for their first win of the season. Could they be 0-15-1 heading into this game? Would that put more pressure on the Packers not to lose this game?

Green Bay is a deeper and more talented team than Detroit. We are still not sure if the Packers will need this game or if they will already be locked into a playoff slot going in. If the game is meaningless for the Packers, they may rest Rodgers and several other starters to keep them healthy for the playoffs.

Even on the road, this isn’t such a big challenge although the Lions have played the Packers tough in many recent games in the Motor City.

Degree of Difficulty: 3 out of 10

You can follow Gil Martin on Twitter @GilPackers

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7 points

Comments (13)

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splitpea1's picture

December 04, 2021 at 12:37 pm

The Ravens are by far and away the toughest opponent left. You have to make Lamar Jackson beat you from the pocket; keep a spy on him and throw in a few safety blitzes. The Dolphins stymied the Ravens' ground game and held them to 10 points, so I would expect to see a similar defensive game plan.

The Browns have looked like absolute crap at times this season, so you may be overrating the potential competitiveness of this game.

Lions: Ideally we would like to start Love, Amari, and every other backup that we can if there's nothing to be gained in the playoff seeding. If this scenario plays out, who cares if the Lions win? Better to see how of some our deep reserves look in action for the future--and we still might win.

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Leatherhead's picture

December 04, 2021 at 01:13 pm

Gil, you give these guys more respect than I do. I think we’re going going to pound the snot out of all our home opponents…….we’re the clear favorite at home against the Bears, Browns and Purples. I think we’ll be the final L in Detroit’s second winless season. Only Baltimore , IMO, represents a real threat to winning out.

AZ is one game ahead of us so if they win out, they’re the #1 seed. Very possible.
Tampa Bay and the Packers could each win out, making them 14-3. I don’t know how that tiebreaker is resolved. If AZ loses one, and all of us are at14-3, I don’t know how that gets resolved.

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Starrbrite's picture

December 04, 2021 at 05:07 pm

Agree

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Eric Zenk's picture

December 05, 2021 at 09:05 pm

Cardinals have to finish with a better record than the Packers b/c of the Packers head-to-head victory over the Cardinals. If the Cardinals, Packers and Buccaneers all finish with the same record then the tie breaker is best NFC conference record. The Packers and Cardinals have 2 NFC losses as of the bye whereas the Buccaneers have 3. The Buccaneers only play one more team with a winning record, the Bills at home. The Packers have the Ravens on the road, and Cardinals have the Rams and Colts at home, and Cowboys on the road. Might be the only time I’m pulling for Dallas. 🤨

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LeotisHarris's picture

December 04, 2021 at 04:22 pm

"The Bears invade Lambeau Field in the second meeting between..."

Nope, "invade" is not the verb we need here. That sad-azz excuse for a football team isn't capable of an invasion of anything. Saying they'll visit Lambeau gives the wrong impression even if they were invited. I'd go with soil, sully, or contaminate.

8 points
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Starrbrite's picture

December 04, 2021 at 05:13 pm

I have Directv and get a glimpse of all the games when I’m not watching the Packers. I’m not at all impressed with the Ravens. They remind me of the Seahawks with their sloppy, lucky, unlikely wins.
I also look forward to pounding the Vikings at home; they needed three awful officiating calls to win their first game against us.

6 points
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Lphill's picture

December 04, 2021 at 06:19 pm

All winnable

4 points
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Packerlifer's picture

December 04, 2021 at 06:37 pm

There's no such thing as "easy" or "sure thing" in the NFL. I'm inclined to think 4-1 the rest of the way, with the injury situation being of as much concern as the scheduling. Not only with who we're hoping to see come back to action but who we might lose down the home stretch.

Obviously if anything bad happens to Aaron Rodgers the season flips. It will also be essential that Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon, Davante Adams, Kenny Clark, DeVondre Campbell, Rashan Gary, Preston Smith, Eric Stokes and both safeties stay healthy and at strength.

The Packers have done a very good job handling the abscenses of starters on the o-line with the depth they have but it can't get thinned out any more.

We have seen what a difference having MVS, Cobb, St. Brown and Lazard in the lineup makes but they have also missed some time and could get dinged again with this many games remaining.

We should find out soon whether the waits on Jaire Alexander, ZaDarius Smith and David Bakhtiari are going to materialize. And when they come back, if they do, how effective they will be after long lay-offs.

Things can look good for three quarters of a football game and be lost in the fourth quarter and in the season that's where we are heading now.

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Johnblood27's picture

December 04, 2021 at 09:38 pm

thanks Taryn

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Spock's picture

December 05, 2021 at 05:39 am

"We should find out soon whether the waits on Jaire Alexander, ZaDarius Smith and David Bakhtiari are going to materialize. And when they come back, if they do, how effective they will be after long lay-offs." THAT is the question. How much rust will be on these guys (especially Bakh). Hopefully they come back soon and are in playoff form by the playoffs!

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EddieLeeIvory's picture

December 05, 2021 at 05:25 am

3 of them are "sure W's".
At Baltimore will be tricky because Lamar Jackson's running ability, but between DV Campbell & AD Amos, I think we can mostly contain the athletic QB.

In the past 5 games, only one QB has done good against this defense and that was Kaptain Kirk Cousins. Somehow that guy never misses a game. Never gets a finger, hammy, collar bone, Covid etc.

Arizona, somehow winning multiple games without Kyler Murray & DA Hopkins, will lose one more game. That means we have to worn-out to get the 1 seed. And Tampa Bay is right there too.
I don't want to have to play both of them to make it to the Super Bowl. Getting the 1 seed is very important to A) get the bye & B) play only at Lambeau

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wildbill's picture

December 05, 2021 at 10:53 am

There are no “ sure Ws” in the NFL, unless Rodgers can’t play then you can count us as one.

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Brockrice99's picture

December 06, 2021 at 09:32 am

I do not want to overlook the Bears. Division games can always be a battle doesn't matter the record (Lions vs Vikings for example or 49ers Seahawks another example). Especially after what Aaron said last time, albeit true and hilarious, I expect the Bears to come out pissed off and fired up, where the Packers have struggled out of the Bye recently. So, if we do not start fast and the Bears do like what happened last time in Chicago, it could be a very close game. I am just hoping for some epic Matt Nagy blunders!

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