The Green Bay Packers will begin divisional play immediately in 2020 with a season-opening road game against the Minnesota Vikings before playing a third of their remaining games in primetime.
The Packers released their official 2020 schedule Thursday night with times and dates set for all but one of them, excluding their Week 15 home game against the Carolina Panthers — which will be played either Dec. 19 or 20 but will wait until later this year to lock into place.
The Packers will play in primetime in back-to-back weeks with a road trip in Week 3 to the New Orleans Saints for Sunday Night Football before heading back to Lambeau Field in Week 4 to host the Atlanta Falcons for Monday Night Football. The Packers will also once again travel to take on the San Francisco 49ers in primetime after losing both of their last two visits — blowout losses in Week 12 of last season and in the NFC Championship game during the playoffs.
The Packers will also take on the Chicago Bears in Week 12 — three days after Thanksgiving — and the Tennessee Titans in Week 16 for Sunday night games that will both be played at home.
Here is a closer look at the Packers’ 2020 regular-season and preseason schedules:
Packers Pencil in Date With Tom Brady, Buccanneers
Week 1: at Minnesota — Noon CT, Sept. 13
Week 2: vs. Detriot — Noon CT, Sept. 20
Week 3: at New Orleans — 7:20 p.m. CT, Sept. 27 (Sunday Night Football)
Week 4: vs. Atlanta — 7:15 p.m. CT, Oct. 5 (Monday Night Football)
Week 5: BYE WEEK
Week 6: at Tampa Bay — 3:25 p.m. CT, Oct. 18
Week 7: at Houston — Noon CT, Oct. 25
Week 8: vs. Minnesota — Noon CT, Nov. 1
Week 9: at San Francisco — 7:20 p.m. CT, Nov. 5 (Thursday Night Football)
Week 10: vs. Jacksonville — Noon CT, Nov. 15
Week 11: at Indianapolis — Noon CT, Nov. 22
Week 12: vs. Chicago — 7:20 p.m. CT, Nov. 29 (Sunday Night Football)
Week 13: vs. Philadelphia — 3:25 p.m. CT, Dec. 6
Week 14: at Detroit
Week 15: vs. Carolina — TBD (either Dec. 19 or 20)
Week 16: vs. Tennessee — 7:20 p.m. CT, Dec. 27 (Sunday Night Football)
Week 17: at Chicago — 12 p.m. CT, Jan. 3
Analysis: The Packers finished the 2019 regular season with a 13-3 record and managed to knock off the Seattle Seahawks in the divisional round of the postseason before bowing out, but to ensure another trip to the playoffs will mean facing some tough challenges. Six of the Packers’ 13 opponents for 2020 reached the playoffs last season, including the Vikings. They also must contend with the revitalized Tampa Bay Buccanneers, who perhaps underwent the greatest offseason transformation of any team when they signed Tom Brady to lead the way. Rob Gronkowski will be joining the fun, too.
The Packers fall right in the middle of the pack at 15th in terms of strength of schedule with their 16 opponents touting a 50.4 percent win rate during the 2019 season. That puts them behind all of their NFC North rivals with the Lions (T-5th) facing the toughest trudge. Of course, the strength of a schedule comes with plenty of assumptions (and speculation).
Packers Face Reigning Super Bowl Champs in Preseason
All NFL preseason games are currently TBD as the league continues to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic. The dates given are a range supplied by the league for the games.
Week 1: vs. Arizona — TBD (Aug. 13-17)
Week 2: vs. Cleveland — TBD (Aug. 20-24)
Week 3: at New York Giants — TBD (Aug. 27-30)
Week 4: at Kansas City — TBD (Sept. 3-4)
Analysis: Aaron Rodgers doesn’t like playing during the preseason, so it is entirely possible he doesn’t play a single snap until the regular season as he did in 2019. But if he does decide to get some reps in during the final week, it could see him go toe-to-toe with Patrick Mahomes for the first time ever — assuming the Chiefs also play their starting quarterback. Even if he doesn’t play, a road game against the reigning Super Bowl champions should square up any lingering issues heading into the regular season.
The matchup against the Browns is also of note, as the Packers are due to welcome Baker Mayfield, Odell Beckham Jr. and the rest of the bunch to town for joint training-camp practices ahead of their preseason showdown. Last year’s joint practices with Houston saw multiple skirmishes break out. Maybe Christian Kirksey — former Browns starter-turned-Packer — can smooth things over if anything gets out of hand?