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Packers Have Played Brutal Schedule

The Green Bay Packers have played one of the toughest schedules in the NFL. Here's the tale of the tape.
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GREEN BAY, Wis. – The Green Bay Packers aren’t playing well, and a surprisingly challenging schedule of opponents has made them pay.

The Packers kicked off the season by losing at the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings are 8-2 after going 8-9 last season.

After knocking off the Bears, Buccaneers and Patriots in succession, the Packers’ season went south – or was it east? – when they traveled to London and lost to the New York Giants. The Giants are 7-3. Last year, they were 4-13 for their fifth consecutive season with double-digits losses.

The Packers returned home and lost to the New York Jets. The Jets are 6-4. Last year, they went 4-13 for their sixth consecutive season with a losing record.

Next, the Packers kicked off a three-game road trip by losing to the Washington Commanders. The Commanders are 6-5. Last year, they went 7-10 for their fifth consecutive season with a losing record. The Green Bay game was the second victory in a stretch of five wins in six weeks.

Then, the Packers lost at the Detroit Lions. The Lions are 4-6. Detroit is on track for a fifth consecutive season with a losing record but the victory over Green Bay kicked off a three-game winning streak.

That was supposed to be the soft part of the schedule. Next came the challenging games, with Green Bay losing at the Buffalo Bills (7-3), beating the Dallas Cowboys (7-3) and losing at home to the Tennessee Titans (7-3).

Sense a trend?

Including this week’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles, who are an NFC-best 9-1, the Packers’ first 12 games will be against:

Four of the eight division leaders (Vikings, Buccaneers, Titans, Eagles).

Nine teams with winning records (Vikings, Patriots, Giants, Jets, Commanders, Bills, Cowboys, Titans, Eagles).

Six of the nine teams with seven wins (Vikings, Giants, Bills, Cowboys, Titans, Eagles).

With Week 11 of the NFL season almost complete, the Packers have faced an incredibly difficult schedule – and certainly more difficult than expected given the rise of the Jets, Giants and Commanders, three teams who went 15-36 last year but are 19-12 this year. Green Bay’s 11 opponents have a combined .589 winning percentage. That is a combined record of 66-46.

Only the Lions (.612) have faced a more demanding slate of games.

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The difference is Detroit lost at home to Philadelphia and Miami. Those are road opponents on Green Bay’s final stretch of six games.

Speaking of Miami, the Dolphins are 7-3 and lead the AFC East. If that stands, the Packers will have played five of the eight division winners and seven of the nine teams who currently have seven wins.

With Green Bay having plunged to 12th in the NFC playoff race, its playoff hopes are on life support. At least for public consumption, Aaron Rodgers thought the Packers were capable of winning those final six games, which includes games against the Eagles (9-1), Dolphins (7-3) and Vikings (8-2), along with the Super Bowl champion Rams (3-7) and the division-rival Bears (3-8) and Lions (4-6).

“I don’t see why not,” Rodgers said.

“I think last week showed us a lot, the possibilities,” he continued, referencing the victory over Dallas. “This week we just didn’t play as complementary in all three phases. You’ve got to be excited about the way Christian (Watson)’s played the last two weeks. Cobby (Randall Cobb) coming back today I think led us in receiving yards. That was a big jolt for us.

“As you guys know, I’ve talked about we need to run the ball effectively to win and didn’t do that today. We’ve got to find a way schematically or otherwise to run effectively and, when we’ve got opportunities 1-on-1, if they win 1-on-1s, I’ve got to throw the ball better than I did tonight. Not a lot of margin for error for us.”

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