Saturday, September 07, 2013

Packers 2013 Season Preview

On the eve of the Green Bay Packers first regular season game of the 2013 NFL season against the team many believe will not only be the NFC representative in the Super Bowl but its winner, the San Francisco 49ers, we take a look ahead to the entire season.

Now, unlike some bloggers and pundits who will analyze every game and give you their win-lose score for each of the upcoming 16 games, yours truly takes a different approach. One which has served well over the past seasons. We break the season down by quarters and see how things could go. Each season has an ebb and flow to it based upon more than just the opponent. There's also the overall schedule to consider, the order in which a particular team will appear as the opponent, who the Packers play away and who the team plays at home. That sort of thing.

Now, do I take a look at all sorts of stats to arrive at my prediction? Nope. Don't have time to do that. Nor the inclination. This prediction is far less science than art...and that's using the term "art" quite loosely. "Guess" might be more accurate. Which, if you really think about it, dear reader, makes what you are about to read just about as good as anyone else's prediction.

So, without further ado, here we go.

2013 First Quarter: Sept. 8 - Oct. 6
This actually covers the first five weeks of the regular season, as the Packers -- quite atypically compared to recent years -- have their bye week in Week 4...not great.

Anyway, the sequence of teams for this quarter of the season is:
  • Sept. 8 - 49ers - Away
  • Sept. 15 - Redskins - Home
  • Sept. 22 - Bengals - Away
  • Week 4 - Bye Week
  • Oct. 6 - Lions - Home
Looking at this portion of the schedule, the Packers will go 3-1. The most likely loss will be the first game of the season against the 49ers. The Packers, at this writing, are 4.5-point underdogs. Everyone is figuring that the Niners have the stronger roster across the board and that QB Colin Kaepernick will do the same thing to the Pack he did last season in the playoff game. The Packers are tired of hearing about that, as much as they may claim that that was all last season and this is a new season blah blah blah. The Packers defense has had all off season and training camp to prepare for Kaepernick. If they can generally make him work more out of the pocket than scamper they will be in the game...if the Pack's reconfigured offensive line can open a few holes for Eddie Lacy and also protect Aaron Rodgers, that is. In some ways, while there are many unknowns on both sides of the ball at this stage of things, this might be the best opportunity for the Packers to beat the Niners. If. Lots of ifs in this first game. More on this in our game preview which we will post tomorrow. So check back for that Sunday before the game.

As to the other games, especially if the Packers lose the opener, I'd expect three wins, with two of the three games played at Lambeau Field.

That's how we get to 3-1 for this portion of the schedule.

Second Quarter: Oct. 13 - Nov. 4
  • Oct. 13 - Ravens - Away
  • Oct. 20 - Browns - Home
  • Oct. 27 - Vikings - Away
  • Nov. 4 - Bears - Home
In this portion of the schedule, it seems more than likely that the Packers will go either 3-1 or the latter scenario, which two games will be wins and which will be losses is almost a toss up, with the exception of the Browns game which will go in the win column.

Third Quarter: Nov. 10 - Nov. 28
  • Nov. 10 - Eagles - Home
  • Nov. 17 - Giants - Away
  • Nov. 24 - Vikings - Home
  • Nov. 28 - Lions - Away
Note that with the exception of Da Bearz, the Packers will have played both the Vikings and Lions twice at this point of the season. That part of the division competition will be complete, with only the final game of the season against Da Bearz in Chicago remaining.

We're figuring that Packers will go 3-1 in this third quarter of the season, with the Giants as the more probable loss.

Fourth Quarter: Dec. 8 - Dec. 29
  • Dec.8 - Falcons - Home
  • Dec. 15 - Cowboys - Away
  • Dec. 22 - Steelers - Home
  • Dec. 29 - Bears - Away
The league saved some of the best -- and most difficult -- of the games for the final quarter of the schedule. At this point of the season, without a bye since Week 4 of the season, the Packers will either be healthy and pretty much a lock for the playoffs or a tired and beat-up patchwork bunch trying to squeak in. But many teams, including perhaps all of the opponents in these four games, will be in the same boat.

The expectation here is that the Pack will go 2-2 in this final stretch of the season although, again, which games will be wins and which losses...too hard to say at this point. Check back for each game preview as the season goes on.

Bottom line: Packers 11-5 or 10-6
I know, that's a bit of a fudge factor there, but at least it's reasonable...or at least honest. And you can judge for yourself how the Packers will fare through each quarter of the season.

At 11-5, the Packers win the NFC North division and are into the playoffs as a division winner not as a wildcard. If they go 10-6, the Pack will still win the division but will not have as favorable a route through the playoffs.

Still, I'm projecting the Packers and Seahawks meet in the NFC Championship.

However the Pack gets there, though, that brings us to...

The Super Bowl Prediction

In reading and listening to all the various prognostications and at how the oddsmakers are setting things up at this moment, it seems as if the favorites in the NFC are the 49ers, followed by the Seahawks, followed by the Packers.

Well, it may be a bit of a homer thing, but the prediction here for the Super Bowl teams are: the Packers and the Denver Broncos. Winner? What are you, goofy? The Green Bay Packers!!!

Football season and the road to the Super Bowl starts for the Packers in less than 24 hours. Go Pack Go!!!