The Packers have reached the halfway mark of their 2020 schedule and they have established themselves as the favorites in the NFC North and as contenders in the NFC.
Thus far, Green Bay is 2-1 against division foes and 5-2 against NFC opponents. These will be important factors in breaking ties and determining playoff seeding.
If the Packers want to be Super Bowl contenders this season, they will have to continue winning in the second half of the season. Here is a look at the Packers eight remaining games this season ranked from easiest to the most challenging:
8. Week 10 Jacksonville
The Jaguars are 1-7-0 entering their trip to Lambeau Field to take on the Packers this Sunday. Jake Luton has taken over as quarterback for Gardner Minshew and he played well in the Jaguars 27-25 loss to Houston.
The Jags struggle to run the football and their defense has trouble stopping the pass and the run. They do not get much pressure on opposing quarterbacks. That means Aaron Rodgers should have enough time to pick apart the struggling Jacksonville secondary.
This should be an easy win for the Packers, at least on paper.
7. Week 13 Philadelphia
The Eagles may be the best team in the horrible NFC East, but they are still below average. Two of their three wins have come against other division opponents. Against the rest of the league, they are 1-3-1.
Carson Wentz has struggled this season, throwing 12 interceptions. A big reason for Wentz’s struggles is the banged up Eagles offensive line. In eight games, they have allowed 32 sacks and countless pressures and quarterback hits.
The Philadelphia defense struggles to stop the run, so Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams should be able to run well and set up the Packers play action passing game.
6. Week 15 Carolina
The Panthers are 3-6 after playing the Chiefs close in a 33-31 loss last week. Teddy Bridgewater has done a good job as their quarterback although the team has clearly missed RB Christian McCaffrey who may be out again after briefly returning to action last week.
The Packers will also have to find a way to contain WR Robby Anderson who already has 60 catches through nine games.
Defensively, the Panthers are average and inconsistent. They have trouble pressuring the quarterback and have only nine sacks through nine games. If they can’t pressure Rodgers, he’ll have an easy time moving the football against the Panthers.
If McCaffrey returns and is healthy, move the Panthers up a spot on this list.
5. Week 14 at Detroit
The Lions are not a bad team so long as Matthew Stafford is healthy. They need Stafford to be great because their rushing game is struggling.
The Lions defense continues to have difficulty stopping the run. The Packers were able to pick apart the Detroit defense in Week 2 and put 42 points on the board against them.
Division road games are never easy, but again, the Packers are a better team than the 3-5 Lions and should find a way to earn what should be a critical road win.
4. Week 12 Chicago
The Bears defense remains formidable but they have struggled to move the football as neither Nick Foles nor Mitch Trubisky seem to be the answer at quarterback and the Bears really struggle to run the football.
Chicago is the Packers closest rival in the NFC North and are just a game and a half behind the Pack as of now.
The Packers have struggled against defenses with fast, physical linebackers and the Bears may present problems for them on that side of the football. This contest is ranked where it is because it’s at Lambeau, the re-match in the season finale in Chicago is a tougher game.
3. Week 11 at Indianapolis
The Colts offense is inconsistent but Indianapolis has the best defense statistically in the NFL right now and that should make this a challenging road game for the Packers.
Indianapolis will also be coming off a mini-bye as they play the Titans this Thursday and have a few extra days to rest up and prepare for the Packers.
The Packers struggles with physical defenses and the Colts certainly qualify. There will also be some fans in the stands at this game which will give Indy more of a home field advantage than some other road games the Pack has played this season.
2. Week 17 at Chicago
The key to this game is will it still matter to both teams. If the Bears continue to struggle, they may not have anything to play for. If Chicago is still in contention, this game will be a big challenge for the Packers. If the Packers are playing for a division title, a bye or seeding, the game could mean a lot for them.
Chicago’s offense isn’t clicking right now and if bad weather limits the passing game, the Bears may not be able to run the football very well.
Look for a low scoring game if this one matters to both teams. The Packers should still be a favorite in this game unless Chicago’s offense finds itself between now and the end of the season.
1. Week 16 vs Tennessee Titans
This game is the biggest challenge for the Packers. Green Bay’s run defense couldn’t stop Minnesota’s Dalvin Cook earlier this season and now will have to stop Derrick Henry. Henry is huge and physical and he’s averaging more than 105 yards per game on the ground. As of now, he’s on pace to gain nearly 1,700 yards and score 16 touchdowns.
Ryan Tannehill isn’t a mad bomber, but he’s very efficient and gets the job done well especially on third downs.
Rodgers should be able to pass the ball on the Titans which could make this a very tight close game. Turnovers could make a difference. The Packers will need to slow down Henry enough to give Rodgers a chance to move the football and put up points.
This should be one heck of a football game.
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