The Three Points That Will Make or Break Packers in 2024

The Green Bay Packers’ 2024 schedule has plenty of quirks that they will have to adjust to if they are going to make a return trip to the NFL playoffs.
Packers coach Matt LaFleur after last year's playoff loss at the 49ers.
Packers coach Matt LaFleur after last year's playoff loss at the 49ers. / Dan Powers/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin /
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With the Green Bay Packers’ 2024 schedule finally out, there’s plenty of time to circle dates and make predictions. Green Bay has the fourth-toughest schedule based on their opponents’ records from 2023, but things can change quickly in the NFL. 

Between playing the league’s first opening-week international game and a stretch of four straight primetime games, there are plenty of challenges on Green Bay’s schedule, regardless of opponents. Here are the three important moments on the Packers’ schedule that could define their 2024 season.

Staying Stable After Brazil

The Packers will face off against the Philadelphia Eagles on Friday, Sept. 6, at Corinthians Arena. The logistics of playing in a foreign country are always going to be complicated. But the Packers have dealt with it before and will have the chance to turn a loss in England in 2022 into a lesson that pays dividends in 2024.

The 2022 Packers showed some chinks in their armor in the first four weeks of the season, but it all came falling down once they made a trip to London in Week 5. A frustrating loss to the New York Giants in Tottenham Hotspur Stadium sent the team spiraling, losing six out of the next seven.

The Packers opted out of having their bye following the trip to London, a decision coach Matt LaFleur likely came to regret. LaFleur was vocal throughout the process in 2022 of his frustrations with the time difference, long travel and other complications. This time, LaFleur plans to take a more positive approach to the obstacles.

“We will embrace this, absolutely,” LaFleur said during his postdraft press conference. “It is a long flight, it is a long trip, but it's the same for both teams, and the advantage of playing a neutral site, I think there’s a lot of advantages to that.”

On the bright side for LaFleur, while the flight is significantly longer and the team might have to jump through hoops in finding a nonstop flight, Brazil is only two hours ahead of Central time instead of six like London. 

Regardless, how the Packers respond to the challenge in Brazil likely will define the first half of the season. A loss could easily carry over for multiple games, as it did in 2022, if they are unable to adjust after the trip.

Week 9 vs. the Lions

The Packers’ matchup against the Detroit Lions in Week 9 at Lambeau Field should play a significant role in the race for the NFC North. 

The Lions have been a tough out for Green Bay in recent years, even at Lambeau Field. Detroit has won four of the last five in the series, including the last two in Green Bay. 

While the Week 14 game in Detroit also will play a key part in the chase for the division, the Week 9 game comes before a crucial stretch for Green Bay. The Packers will have a bye following their first game against Detroit before entering what could be the toughest stretch of the season.

The Lions game will kick off a stretch in which four of five opponents reached the 2023 playoffs, including the Lions again in Week 14. The first game against Detroit, only the second divisional matchup on the schedule for Green Bay, could go a long way in determining how much confidence Green Bay carries into the second half of the season.

San Francisco, With Miami on the Horizon

LaFleur will face two of his close friends within five days, hosting Kyle Shannahan and the San Francisco 49ers on the Sunday of Week 12 and then Mike McDaniel and the Miami Dolphins just four days later on Thanksgiving night. 

The game against San Francisco will be the first of three showdowns in just 12 days for Green Bay. The 49ers could also very well be competing with the Packers for playoff seeding down the stretch.

Playing on a short week is always challenging but especially when facing a physical 49ers team before turning around to face a speedy Dolphins team. Additionally, as LaFleur is well aware, Shannahan and McDaniel are two of the toughest offensive minds to prepare for in the NFL.

The bright side of the tough situation for the Packers is that both games will be in Green Bay in November, with both teams coming from warmer states. These two late-season games likely will be crucial for playoff seeding and determine how much momentum the Packers will bring into the final month of the season.

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Joey Van Zummeren

JOEY VAN ZUMMEREN

Joey Van Zummeren, who has created online Packers content since 2020, is an intern of Packer Central, a Sports Illustrated channel. E-mail: vanzummerenjoseph@gmail.com Twitter: https://twitter.com/JoeyVZ_ Background: Van Zummeren is a student at the University of Missouri-Columbia studying journalism. In Columbia, he covers Mizzou football and basketball.