Thursday, August 1, 2013

Packers 2013 Strength of Schedule: 16-13

It's officially August.  Family night is just a few days away on Saturday night, and preseason starts Sunday night with the HOF game between the Dolphins and Cowboys.  It's so close that I can taste it!  Realizing that everything is coming up so soon, I wanted to take an in depth look at the Packers opponents for the 2013 regular season and rate them 16 (easiest) all the way to 1 (toughest) game of the year.  In researching this, I realized that our schedule is much tougher than most that I see out there since our divisional matchups are with the NFC East and AFC North.  Let's start with 16 and I'll get 4 teams done on this post today.

16.  Week 7-vs. Cleveland Browns (10/20)

This game might have been tougher if we were going to Cleveland, but it's tough to put them higher on this list.  The last time they were a playoff team was in 2002, with Derek Anderson as their quarterback.  Once again they are a team with a brand new coach, and are switching to a 3-4 defense this year after being in a 4-3 last year.  Plus, Brandon Weeden is not a top quarterback.  He never should have been drafted as a first round quarterback when he is 2 months older than Aaron Rodgers and not 100% ready to play in the NFL.  Their best players are Trent Richardson and Joe Haden.  And here are their 3 highest paid players courtesy of, which I will use for the rest of the contract information in the post.
  1. Joe Thomas OT (8 yr, 80.5M)
  2. Joe Haden CB (5 yr, 42.7M)
  3. D'Qwell Jackson LB (5 yr, 42.5M)
They are still a team under transition with new ownership in Jimmy Haslam.  They probably could be good in a few years, but I think it is too early for us to put them any higher than 16th on the list this season.

15.  Week 5-vs. Detroit Lions (10/6)

Lions 21, Packers 17. December 15, 1991 is the last time that the Detroit Lions won a game in the state of Wisconsin.  The Packers QB was Mike Tomczak.  Green Bay has won 22 straight in the state of Wisconsin, and seems poised to make it 23, especially since this game is right after Green Bay's early bye in week 4.  This will be the first game for Reggie Bush in the rivalry, but he probably isn't going to have a major impact, as I'm sure this could be a fun game to watch for all of the passing that is going on.  But seeing how Detroit has struggled here recently, it just makes sense that the Packers will keep winning in this series.  Just for fun, let's review the Lions highest paid players as well.
  1. Calvin Johnson WR (8 yr, 150.5M)
  2. Matthew Stafford QB (5 yr, 76.5M)
  3. Ndamukong Suh DT (5 yr, 65.3M)
Still trying to get some of those contracts from the last CBA off the books, I bet they really wish there would have been a rookie wage scale at the time, but then again the Johnson and Stafford contracts have been redone since then.

14.  Week 10-vs. Philadelphia Eagles (11/10)

Look, I'm not going to say that the Eagles are going to be a bad team this year. I'm just not certain that I know enough about how well they will play to put them higher on the list.  Chip Kelly did a great job in a few years at Oregon, but the NFL is different and we will have to see exactly what he has up his sleeves in order to get the Eagles to win some games.  Again, this game would be rated higher if the Eagles were at home, as Lincoln Financial Field is a boisterous stadium.  Their top 3 contracts are:
  1. Jason Peters OT (6 yr, 60.6M)
  2. Trent Cole LB (6 yr, 59.3M)
  3. DeSean Jackson WR (5 yr, 47M)
Michael Vick's contract is down to the 1 yr 7M variety, so at least he is not going to be the definite top option this season.  I would not be surprised if they start Nick Foles, as I have read a lot in that direction in the blurbs over at  If the Eagles are playing well, then this could be a difficult game, but if things are falling apart and they are more like 1-7 or 2-6 entering the game, then I think it should be pretty easy.

13.  Week 16-vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (12/22)

I'm very glad that this game is not at Heinz Field, as I know there would be many more terrible towels, and hopefully we don't see any in Lambeau field.  The Steelers are still dealing with the consequences of getting too much on their books during the uncapped season, and have had trouble keeping players that they want, and instead keep losing them to other teams, and losing Mike Wallace this past year was rough, and I definitely think they miss Bruce Arians as well.  Here are their top 3 contracts.
  1. Ben Roethlisberger QB (8 yr, 102M)
  2. LaMarr Woodley LB (6 yr, 61.5M)
  3. Troy Polamalu S (4yr, 36.5M)
Another reason that this game could be easier is because it is late in the season, and if they are hurting with injuries like most teams are late in the year, they won't have much money if anything to replace them with.  Pittsburgh just isn't as strong as they have been in the past, and we are getting them at the right time on our schedule.  I'll keep going 4 games at a time, so next time it will be 12-9.  Thanks for reading guys.  

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