Saturday, September 09, 2023

With the 2023 Packers season upon us ... Our season prediction. Crikey!

Hello, again, Packers fans ... and all who wish they were...

Well, we've had a looooong hiatus, haven't we? Since April, as a matter of fact. Before OTAs, summer training camp, roster cuts, you name it. Now, it's game time (almost). Too much to cover here and you know it all already anyway. So we'll get on with what we see in store for this season. A very different season than the past 18. Ol' #12 is now in New York City (New York City!). We hope he plays at least 65% of the snaps AND that the J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets have a dismal record so the Packers get a higher draft pick as part of the trade deal.

But let's just get to the important matters of the moment: the season prediction. We'll do the prediction for Sunday's opener against Da Bearz (in Chicago) in a separate post. We invite you to please check back for that.

2023 first game scrum between the Packers and Da Bearz.
(Photo via Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

A Quick Season Overview

In the big picture of things, as every fan of the Packers knows, and likely most NFL fans, as well, given all the news and kerfuffle about the youth of the team, the new starting quarterback, etc., etc., expectations for the Pack this season are...basically unknown, but skewing shall we say...meh.

Most teams would be hard pressed, given the circumstances, to be about .500 for the season. That may well be the case when all is said and done here. But, while young at certain skills positiions, i.e., receiver, the Packers are a talented team. In addition to one of the best running back tandems in the league with Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon, an experienced and good offensive line, first-time starter QB Jordan Love — with 3 years sitting behind ol' #12 — is not the same as a rookie would be. Assuming his young receivers step up, Love will have opportunities to put points on the board. He is as much of an unknown at the start of the season to defensive schemers than those schemes are to him. I give the advantage to Love. Defensively, the Packers have 8 1st-round draft picks on board; it's well-past time they showed up as the 1st-rounders they are.

A big unknown in this whole overview is the kicking game. There's a new long snapper, a new rookie punter and a new rookie kicker. What could go wrong? Lots. Strong legs count for a lot. But so does accuracy and experience. We would anticipate probably losing at least 2 games because of kicking issues which would indeed change our final win-loss tally. Not great. Part of the growing pains that we have to accept will likely be part of things this season.

The Season Prediction

Since the start of this blog in 2005 (18 years ago ... 18!), we have looked at the season preview not game by game (those are done individually at the relevant time) but more quarter by season quarter, so to speak. With a 17th regular season game in place for the third consecutive year, we'll have quarters plus one extra game...and the bye week, too, resulting in 18 weeks to examine...not exactly a straight quarterly set-up but you'll figure it out. Home games are in green. Be aware, of course, that the NFL may flex various game times, especially later in the season, so the days/times shown here are as they are now indicated.

1st Quarter of the Season (+1)

Week 1: @ Da Bearz - Sun 9/10 · 3:25 PM CDT

Week 2: @ Falcons - Sun 9/17 · 12 PM CDT

Week 3: Saints - Sun 9/24 · 12 PM CDT

Week 4: Lions - Thurs 9/28 · 7:15 PM CDT

Week 5: @ Raiders - Mon 10/9 - 7:15 CDT

Note, to begin with, that we have added the extra game into this first "quarter" of the season. Seemed to make sense as the following week is the bye.

Da Bearz are favored by not even the usual home field advantage point spread of 3; instead, they are 1 to 1-1/2 point favorites at the time of this writing. Because the fact is, Chicago is also an unknown under a new coaching regime. Yes, QB Justin Fields is a talented athlete, more so as a running threat than as a passer so far. But Chicago did acquire some receiving help for him. So who knows how that will play out on game day? For the Packers, WR deep threat Christian Watson is likely out because of a late arriving hamstring problem. Not helpful. WR Romeo Doubs was also limited late in the week with a hamstring issue. (What is it with the Packers and hamstring issues seemingly year after year???) So, it would seem the oddsmakers likely have this game figured out as well as anyone...which is...a toss-up.

All in all, without getting into a breakdown of each game at this point, we see the Packers going 2-3 in this stretch leading up to the bye. A lucky bounce here and there (including, perhaps, off a goal post) and the Pack could be 3-2 at the bye.

2nd Quarter of the Season

Week 6: BYE - Sun 10/15

Week 7: @ Broncos - Sun 10/22 · 3:25 PM CDT

Week 8: Vikings - Sun 10/29 · 12:00 PM CDT

Week 9: Rams - Sun 11/5 - 12:00 PM CDT

This stretch of 3 games after the bye should be quite telling as the schedule hits the mid-way mark. Depending upon injuries, of course, and how well the offense and special teams, especially, have gelled, we could have 2 scenarios possible: a team beginning to rise toward a second half push towards playoff eligibility, or a team stuck in neutral. We see the Packers going 2-1 here.

3rd Quarter of the Season

Week 10: @ Steelers - Sun 11/12 - 12 PM CST

Week 11: Chargers - Sun 11/19 · 12 PM CST

Week 12: @ Lions - Thanksgiving Thursday - Thurs 11/23 · 11:30 AM CST

Week 13: Chiefs - Sun 12/3 · Sunday Night Game - 7:20 PM CST

A gauntlet, at least from this far down the road. We would be happy to see the Pack go 2-2 in this stretch. Anything more than that is gravy.

4th Quarter of the Season (+1)

Week 14: @ Giants - Mon 12/11 - 7:15 PM CST

Week 15: Buccaneers - Sun 12/17  - 12:00 PM CST 

Week 16: @ Panthers - Christmas Eve Game - Thurs 12/24 - 12 PM CST 

Week 17: @ Vikings - New Year's Eve Game - Sun 12/31 - 7:20 PM CST

Week 18: Da Bearz  - TBD

With only 2 home games in the last 5 of the regular season, including 2 away games on Christmas Even and New Year's Eve, and with the last 2 against NFC North Division opponents, this is the series of games that, if the Packers have been holding their own as a young team, can seal their fate one way or the other. We see the Packers going 3-2 in this final stretch.


Looking back at our predictions, we have the Packers going no better (or worse) than 10-7, which would surprise many. As fans know, many projections have the Pack going 6-11 or, at best, 9-8. Lots of unknowns this season.

But it seems as if the love for Love among many sports pundits has been trending upward recently. And, if #10 stays healthy — along with his O-line, running backs and receivers — we see this team putting up points, if not initially, as the season goes on. And if the defense can remain consistent — good consistent, that is — we think this team could surprise some folks. While last season's team underperformed on many levels, we think the opposite may be true this season. Let us pray...

As always, GO PACK GO!!!