The Lass Word: Strength of Schedule Rankings Are Always Wrong

Pack's "easy schedule" not that easy.

The 2022 Packers schedule is out, and so are the annual strength of schedule rankings.  I always have to chuckle at these.  I get that they make for interesting offseason conversation, but that’s all they are.  In practical terms, they are meaningless. 

Most of them are based on team records and winning percentages from the previous season.  By that method, the Packers are judged to have the 22nd toughest schedule for the upcoming season, or you could also say it is the eleventh easiest schedule.  Either way, that’s just a shot in the dark. 

The main reason Green Bay is that low in the ranking is because of the poor performance of the other NFC North teams in 2021.  The Packers play six games against the Vikings, Bears and Lions, who had a combined record of 17 wins and 33 losses last season.  The strength of schedule system anticipates that all three teams will be that poor again.   

Hard to believe that will be the case.  The Lions, for example, seem to love playing for new coach Dan Campbell, and have added a boatload of new talent in draft picks such as Aidan Hutchinson and Jameson Williams, as well as signing free agents like former Jaguars receiver DJ Chark and defensive back Mike Hughes.  The Lions figure to be improved, not to mention that it’s hard to un-see the way Detroit outplayed our starters in the first half of their week eighteen game last year. 

The Bears young signal caller Justin Fields comes back with a year of experience under his belt.  The Vikings return most of the key players from a team that beat the Packers last season, and now they’ve added some guy named Za’darius to their defense.  The North won’t be the best division in the NFL, but it will be significantly tougher than last year. 

Green Bay will have to play division champions Tampa Bay (week three) and Buffalo (week eight) on the road.  And then there are games that look like they should be marked in the win column, but have tricky circumstances.  Take, for instance, Christmas Day at Miami (week 16).  You would think the Packers will be a solid favorite going into that contest.  But the Dolphins have added explosive pieces like Tyreek Hill, and playing at home, on Christmas, to a national audience, and possibly in the playoff hunt?  They will be sky high.  It’s an ambush.  It’s the kind of circumstance that a strength of schedule ranking does not, and cannot, take into account. 

Playing in London on week five against a New York Giant team that is a total unknown wildcard right now.  Looks like an easy win, but who knows what havoc the long flight and change of schedule might cause to the team’s preparedness and psyche?  The eight other home games that will actually be played at home are no walk in the park, as they include division winners Dallas (week ten), the Super Bowl champion Rams (week 15) and the Titans (week 11). Because the Packers have such a widespread following, and because they have a mega star like Aaron Rodgers, they are on national telecasts in at least eleven of their seventeen games, five of those in prime time. The opposition is always more fired up when they play to the entire country. There are three road games in a row in weeks seven through nine against the Commanders, the Bills and the Lions. No full bye until week fourteen. 

Put it all together and it looks like a schedule that should be ranked quite a bit higher than 22nd in difficulty.  The point is, who knows?  Maybe it will prove to be even softer than it’s ranking.  Every year teams that are expected to be championship contenders turn out to be huge disappointments.  In 2021 Cleveland and Baltimore were expected to battle it out for the AFC North title.  Both finished with losing records.  By contrast, a few teams always come out of nowhere to make huge improvement.  Did you foresee the Bengals going to the Super Bowl?  The Patriots were supposed to wallow in mediocrity for another year.  Instead they found the best rookie quarterback in the league in Mac Jones and went 10-7, making the playoffs.   

The Packers were heavy favorites going into a season-opening game at New Orleans last season.  The Saints were reeling after personnel losses including their future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees.  Then we learned New Orleans would not even be able to play the game in its own stadium.  It was moved to Jacksonville.  Cake walk, we thought.  Saints will be bottom dwellers.  Except they weren’t.  Somehow New Orleans cobbled out a winning season that began with a shocking thumping of the Packers. 

It always adds excitement to the drone of the offseason when the schedule comes out.  Nothing wrong with that.  Just don’t buy into that strength of schedule nonsense.  It’s hard to win in this league.  The only way to see if your schedule was easy is to look back at it when the season is over. 

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Ken Lass is a former Green Bay television sports anchor and 43 year media veteran, a lifelong Packers fan, and a shareholder.

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7 points

Comments (49)

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croatpackfan's picture

May 13, 2022 at 10:35 am

You covered main issues regarding schedule and I want to add that Packers has habbit to lay eggs at least 2 times per season. As I already stated Packers record easily can be from 9-8 to 13-4 (even 14-3).

It is not easy schedule...

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Spock's picture

May 13, 2022 at 06:12 am

"...The annual strength of schedule rankings. I always have to chuckle at these." Ditto. Injuries, mesh with teammates, etc. all can change the "easy" or "difficult" opponent to just the opposite. The old saying about "when you play them" is very true. Just look at the covid year where the empty stadiums made the "home field advantage" pretty much meaningless. Sometimes a key player for either team can change the whole dynamic (example: Packers w/o Bahk for post season games). Well put, Ken.

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Turophile's picture

May 13, 2022 at 07:03 am

I do remember a season (many years in the past now) where the Packers had, before the season started, one of the (supposedly) toughest schedules of any team.

At the end of that season, the re-calculation of the schedule strength showed they had had the easiest schedule.

The absurd difference between the expected difficulty and the actual difficulty, meant that I never again paid the slightest attention to the preseason schedule rating.

As Spock (see comment above) said, WHEN you play a team can make all the difference. Catch an opponent when they have serious injury problems or are in a real slump, and you might get an easy win, even against a normally good team.

Equally, if yours is the team in a slump or you are the team suffering real problems with key injuries or a cluster of them in a single position group, then a team you might have thought of as not very good can thump yours (see that week 1 game against the Saints last year).

Other things that screw up 'expected' wins are playing a team when they are coming off a bye week, or playing a team on a short week after your team has had a really punishing game just a few days before.

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NickPerry's picture

May 13, 2022 at 06:43 am

In 2020 we started out against the Vikings and went 13-3. We THUMPED their ass, and even without Adams, I'd expect the same. Sorry, I HATE the Vikings...UGH!

I'm just not a fan of the London game. It's a money grab by the NFL and to take a home game away from the Packers and the local economy is just bullshit IMO. To go to London and play the Giants, return home for the Jets, and then go on the road 3 games in a row is tough. At least the Packers aren't traveling west THIS TIME. IF they come out of that stretch 7-2, hell even 8-1 (Not just being a homer) it sets them for the back half of the schedule.

We get the Rams IN December and those two DOME teams at Lambeau in January for once...

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Turophile's picture

May 13, 2022 at 07:04 am

It all about where you come from. I live in England and have waited decades for the Packers to come to England (and I'm sure you already know they are the last team to do so).

So from my perspective, it's great to get a chance to see them, and from what I'm hearing, a great many fans from other European countries, will flock to see the Packers at the Tottenham stadium. The Packers have a lot of support in Europe.

Finally, Nick Perry, the Packers still get 8 home games (meaning the local economy will be affected very little), so let some of the more distant Packer fans finally have their chance to see the team they support.

In fact, in future years the Packers will sometimes get NINE home games which actually boosts the revenue that you seem so worried about. So the NFL bullshit, as you call it, is maybe not what you think.

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Rarescope's picture

May 13, 2022 at 07:47 am

Thanks for sharing your perspective Turophile, happy to lend Europeans our team for a game. It’s happening whether locals like it or not, might as well enjoy the ride.

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croatpackfan's picture

May 13, 2022 at 10:43 am

I was hoping Packers to come to Munich, because it would be much easier for me to go to Munich to attend game. Now I decided not to go to watch Bucs and Seahawks as I do not see that game as interesting one...

For London I still have to check if I can go...

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greengold's picture

May 13, 2022 at 04:07 pm

Turo, I consider you a kindred spirit. From everything I’ve read that you’ve posted, for years, you’re obviously a knowledgeable & passionate fan of our Packers.

It’s not easy being, “displaced,” for lack of a better term.

I moved West from the motherland in 1992. The interwebs started then, and, with that insane 14.4 dial up modem, I met COUNTLESS friends over a span of decades, I have zero doubts we met back then, along with a number of posters here at CHTV… JSO Packers Forum was ROCK SOLID, and the very first Packers Forum available back then for Packer fans wanting to share in thoughts/discussions about our favorite team. Many friendships were started across the globe from that one site.

Let me tell you:

1. I have IMMENSE RESPECT for Jersey Al, Corey Beinke, and Aaron Nagler (plus all CHTV contributors).., and can’t help but feel we’ve been pounding ideas on OUR Packers, back & forth on various Packers web sites for decades. CHTV IS FIRST RATE.

I guess, my BIGGEST POINT in all of this, is how wonderful it was, for me personally, to be able to connect, meet, and become friends with other Packer fans from around the world.

It felt like a connection to home - all of my memories of what was home. GRATITUDE.

2. I feel forever indebted to all here, and on other Packers fan sites over the years for the insanely great knowledge shared. I’ve learned SO much from all of you here, and on other sites spanning decades. Packers fans, IMO, are some of the most knowledgeable fans in the NFL.

I also hold Dolphin, um, … Commander, Steeler, 49ers & Raider fans in the highest regard. You get to know them, when you’re far, far away, meeting up at a “Packers Bar” over months, years… just to watch your team. Miami Dolphins fans, IMO, are straight on par with Packers fans, in terms of true passion for their team, & knowledge of the game.

LOVED meeting up with some regular travelers!!!

There was something for me, personally, about bashing ideas on our favorite team, back & forth, for decades, that I found to be incredibly special. It felt, ALWAYS, like it connected me, in my heart, to home.

Met many fellow Packer Forum fans over decades in get togethers, and have maintained friendships over those decades to this day.

My point here, Turophile, is I hope the Packers open up a complete CAN-O-WHOOP-ASS, against the Giants, for you and for all of us, when you attend that game in London..

You & your takes/contributions here are always greatly appreciated.

ROCK ON, BRO! And, “bring home a WINNER!” (A quote from my deceased Father in law, best man I ever met, who passed onto our family Green & Gold season tickets. He’d say that, as we walked out the door. Endearing AF).

*If by some chance I make it across the pond for this game, it would be insanely cool to hook up. Massive doubts on that, but, who knows?

I understand how special this will be for you, bro. Will be happy for you to bring home that Winner!

Cheers, Turophile & and to all my friends able to attend, or not. ! think that one game, especially a W, could galvanize this Packers team into something epic for this 2022 season.

3. Celebrate this. I think we’ve got a very special season ahead of us, but, celebrate this opportunity to share what we’ve seen, loved, and envisioned into this unknown. I can’t recall a Packers team more stacked to win it all since 1996.

4. Know that your takes, thoughts, arguments and info shared her are immensely appreciated, regardless of opinions on them. More brain info is always welcome & better than the opposite, lesser.

We’re all on the same team, despite us all being different…. I think this 2022 season is going to be very, very special for our Packers, and for all of us. Hoping so, anyway. G is for GREATNESS. I think we will realize that again, this season, putting all the previous, extraneous garbage aside. Amazing the difference a year makes…

BRING HOME A WINNER, TUROPHILE!

AGNFB

GPG

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Turophile's picture

May 13, 2022 at 06:59 pm

Many thanks for that post greengold. I am anticipating it being very difficult to get tickets for this match and expect the ticket sites to be heavily over-subscribed.

I've already signed up to the NFL.com "keep me informed" site and will be on the phone the instant the tickets go on sale, but I'm guessing it's still only 50/50 I get a ticket and its likely to be way up in the gods tier, but what the heck. I'll have to wear my lucky cheesehead and point it at the phone on ticket sales day, to generate a little luck.

I'm only going to call out 'Bring Home a Winner" once though, because I'm hoarding all that mystic power for a Superbowl win this season.

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Bure9620's picture

May 13, 2022 at 08:23 am

Yes these are always wrong, we see bottom dwellers make huge jumps, good teams get destroyed by inujuries, QB movement in the offseason. I will say this, I think these teams will all be better next year

3 of the 4 teams in the NFC East, Cowboy about the same
The Patriots
The Jets
The Vikings

The Rams, Bucs and Bills are all still contenders

This schedule I think will be tougher than many think

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Packers0808's picture

May 13, 2022 at 06:59 am

Schedule is like the draft, no one really knows what you have!

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BirdDogUni's picture

May 13, 2022 at 04:44 pm

You are absolutely right. We don't know which teams we will play who got much better because of a new coaching staff or great draft or excellent health. We hope we had a great draft, excellent health, and better coaching too.

Health and timing will be huge, for sure.

Personally, I expect the worst, hope for the best, and pray we make it to the post season for at least a shot at a title.

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murf7777's picture

May 13, 2022 at 07:25 am

Only have one comment; Love to see three out of the last 4 games in Lambeau Field. They might be very important games and our odds of getting a win are better at home, especially in dec-Jan.

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mrtundra's picture

May 13, 2022 at 08:12 am

Playing in Lambeau, or having "Home Field Advantage" doesn't mean diddly squat, anymore. We need a new mindset, or a renewed mindset, when it comes to playing football at Lambeau Field. This is our home, our turf and opponents are going to get clobbered here! The last coach who had that kind of mind set for the team was Holmgren. MLF needs to learn it from Holmgren and instill that pride, into our team. GO PACK, GO!!!

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CJ Bauckham's picture

May 13, 2022 at 09:33 am

Lafleur is 24-3 at Lambeau. Seems like he learned it...

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RCPackerFan's picture

May 13, 2022 at 07:28 am

"Strength of Schedule Rankings Are Always Wrong"

I never look at the 'strength of schedule'. To me its nothing more then offseason projections, that are never right. They are about as useful as draft grades the day after the draft.

What I look at is when the bye is. Then I look at how many road games in a row we have. When we have home games (more in September or December)
Then i look for holiday games.

I haven't looked to hard into the schedule but my first thoughts.
-They have a very late bye week. Which can be good, or bad. But better later then earlier.
-They have no bye after traveling to London.
-They travel to London, then home against the Jets then have 3 road games. That will be a tough stretch.
-2nd season of 9 road games and only 8 home.
-First 2 games against division opponents with brand new coaching staffs. Always can be interesting against new coaching staffs.
-Finish the season with 3 of 4 home games.
-They have currently 3 Sunday night games, 1 Monday night and 1 Thursday night. Also they play the Dolphins on Christmas.

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Coldworld's picture

May 13, 2022 at 07:35 am

The whole schedule drama leaves me cold. As others have stated, teams change dramatically from year to year and during the season oftentimes. We get what we get. Focus on how good we can be and whether we realize that.

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greengold's picture

May 13, 2022 at 07:55 am

Did you foresee the Packers adding arguably the Top ILB, the Top IDL - AND - one of the most dynamic, NFL ready WRs in this latest draft? ALL THREE from Championship Winning Programs in their Conferences? Yeah, me either.

Add in the MAULER OT/OG Sean Rhyan at #93, and EDGE steal Kingsley Enagbare at… #179? What’s that? We also tapped the #2 Deep Target WR in the draft at #132 in Romeo Doubs? The Top graded Pass Protector OT/C in the draft at #140 in Zach Tom??? AND, Samori Toure, at 19.1 YPC? He broke Randy Moss’ FCB Record for Receiving Yards in a Playoff Game with… 303 yds???

NO FEAR. This 2022 Packers team is LOADED. HUNGRY. LET. THEM. EAT.

AGNFB

GPG

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Johnblood27's picture

May 13, 2022 at 08:02 am

you are justifiably excited by this draft class.

I believe that there will be an unprecedented impact upon the 2022 season by this GBP draft class, they are all JUST THAT GOOD.

The fits are eerie, 3 OL, just where we lost some average guys (Patrick, Turner, Kelly) that should be replaced seamlessly by the talented newcomers. 3 dynamic WR who have complementary skill sets and do not provide redundant characteristics to the WR room just when we need to replace some talented veteran losses.

Bolstering positional depth with solid, talented players at DL and ILB coinciding with the growth of the team under a new DC.

What a concept... drafting the best players available at positions of NEED! Maybe thought processes like this might make drafts yield more than 1 or 2 players per year... just sayin...

I hope I'm not disappointed...

4 points
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Turophile's picture

May 13, 2022 at 07:54 pm

Top ILB instead of the 7th best receiver.................then the top DT in my book (I don't think Davis is really a 3 down DT).

Why is it so many sites counted this as a huge failure for not getting a WR on day 1. Did they just forget that the early run on WRs (6 taken between picks 8-18) made it foolish to reach for one.

I am convinced (though I cannot prove it) that the Packers original plan was to take Watson at #28. However, when that Georgia DT unexpectedly fell to 28, they couldn't resist taking him, Wyatt's value was too high to ignore.

Then, because Watson was originally slated to be the pick there, they just readjusted their strategy to get him as early as possible on day two (they would have actually taken him with the last pick in round one if the Vikings would have agreed to that - they didn't, but took the deal for pick 34 instead.

Watson was probably the best fit with the Packers of all the available receivers. He has the height, the weight and the speed, he is a natural hands catcher, has crazy sudden stop/start ability and already is a practiced blocker. He'll need technique and route work, having come from a less heralded program in college and had fewer catches being on a heavy run-first team, but he has all the tools and natural gifts you could wish for. He should become good, and might be great. Unless he is dumb (and his 38 Wonderlic test score says he certainly isn't) I'm hoping for great things.

I was unimpressed overall by last years draft. I was on the fence about the first two picks in 2021, Stokes and Myers - I didn't hate those picks, though I never loved them either. I did appreciate Stokes super-speed and Myers smarts though. Most of the other picks I didn't like that much, Newman, Slaton, Van Lanen, never thought much of them (though as always I'd love to be wrong on them). The single pick from that year I really liked was RB Kylin Hill (round 7).

Fast forward to this year and I am much happier with the draftees. I like the picks and there isn't anything really to dislike anywhere. Maybe I didn't love the John Ford pick, but we are talking one round 7 pick here. I liked Rhyan, Doubs, Wyatt, Watson, Tom, Rasheed Walker, Toure. I warmed up to Quay Walker and Carpenter too, once I'd read up a bit on them. We now have a Georgia guy on each of the 3 defensive levels, DB (Stokes), ILB (Walker), and DL (Wyatt), its an omen.

The Packers offense may, or may not stutter early on, but the current defense looks like it can bridge any early offensive shortfall better now, than it could at any time in the last decade.

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BirdDogUni's picture

May 13, 2022 at 08:12 pm

I too love our draft this year. Think our defense will be stellar. Very excited about our new WRs and OL too... Call me crazy, but I'm confident Watson will be drawing double coverage in week two after he destroys the viks in week one.

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Johnblood27's picture

May 15, 2022 at 12:42 pm

I still cannot believe that Gutey took Myers when Humphrey was still on the board.

Myers had a tough luck injury while Creed had an outstanding rookie season. Myers certainly looked serviceable at C and the comparison with Humphrey will be interesting as their careers advance.

Time will tell...

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stockholder's picture

May 15, 2022 at 12:53 pm

If Myers gets hurt again. He will be replaced.

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HarryHodag's picture

May 13, 2022 at 07:45 am

There's an axiom in sports, but is especially true in football: next year is not likely to be like last year. So much changes in the NFL each year. It is impossible to accurately picture what will happen in 2022.

But the Packers schedule has some really tough teams and two that could surprise: Detroit and the Jets.
The Cowpokes could also be a surprise. At first glance I saw 8 potential losses. Most fans won't agree, I know, but this schedule is tougher than it looks. The Jets will come to Green Bay just a few days after the jet lag London game.

One thing that could happen that no one is talking about: the return of COVID. There's rumblings of a new surge this fall which could lead to teams with many positive players/change of schedule.

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dobber's picture

May 13, 2022 at 08:20 am

I agree: this schedule is harder than #22 overall. The AFCE is ascending, the NFCE isn't great, but there are credible teams there. The Lions will be better. Add to that the Titans, Bucs, and Rams on a first-place schedule and this is harder than it looks. Can't ignore the uncertainties on the Packers' OL and in their pass-catchers, too, but hopefully the defense helps smooth out those growing pains. 11-12 wins...could be as low as 8 or as high as 13.

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Johnblood27's picture

May 13, 2022 at 08:00 am

I looked over the schedule...

I see a lot of winnable games. I see some challenges including the 5 game stretch beginning with the farcical London thing.

Overall I see another NFC North title and a playoff run.

oh yeah, and this just in...

Duh bares STILL SUCK!!!!!!! GPG!!!

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Pantz_Burp's picture

May 13, 2022 at 12:40 pm

Da Bears have sucked for so long, I almost feel sorry for them...almost...

2 points
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Leatherhead's picture

May 13, 2022 at 08:45 am

Every season is the same. Win your home games, beat your division opponents on the road. I like that we can start 2-0 in the division.

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Pantz_Burp's picture

May 13, 2022 at 09:04 am

Take care of your business during training camp, take care of your business during the regular season, take care of your business in the playoffs and dang sure straight take care of your business during the Super Bowl...

I will then take care of my business by shutting down my pie-hole. Go Pack Go and Go Bucks Go!

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Ferrari-Driver's picture

May 13, 2022 at 09:42 am

It's by design that the weaker teams (the ones with the poorest winning records) each year will improve. That is why they get first choice at what is perceived to be the most talented players who enter the NFL draft. Nevertheless, the single most critical position in today's game is at quarterback and the Packers are fortunate beyond belief to have the reigning MVP behind center again this year.

Thus, while teams like the Detroit Lions will be improved as a team, they will still have Jared Goff behind center and the Packers will open with Aaron Rodgers...advantage Packers.

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Swisch's picture

May 13, 2022 at 10:32 pm

Kind of . . . but how many Super Bowls has that gotten the Packers in the past dozen seasons?
Meanwhile, wasn't it a very recent Lions quarterback, appearing to be down and out as far as his career, who led the Rams to the Super Bowl last season?
Finally, who wants to put up with the awful theatrics of an arrogant and domineering diva week after week after week after week? For me at least, the smug superiority has become agonizing to the point of being intolerable.

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Swisch's picture

May 13, 2022 at 11:39 am

The downvoters are enablers of the diva, like the sycophantic Waylon Smithers groveling before the egomaniacal whims of Mr. Burns.
Aaron Rodgers has held out on us the past two seasons in a brazen demonstration of not caring about the fans -- some of whom still sell out their dignity and fawn all over him in return for him owning the Bears, winning the NFC North, and then failing miserably in the playoffs.
And we pay this guy $50 million per season to toy with us to the point of torment?
Why do some insist on riding on the nauseating rollercoaster of his moodiness? (e.g. I don't need the preseason to get ready for real games, even after a layoff of several months; but I need to play in a meaningless game at the end of the season to get ready for the playoffs, even though my toe is so fragile I could be sidelined by the slightest tweak.)
As tiresome as my comments about Rodgers may be, I don't understand how others can bear with his exhausting antics.
Where is the self-respect?

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dobber's picture

May 13, 2022 at 11:56 am

"As tiresome as my comments about Rodgers may be, I don't understand how others can bear with his exhausting antics."

There's little of actual substance or insight that ever comes from him on the record, and little that he doesn't eventually backtrack on. I've quit listening to him. So in that sense, he's just the guy on the field wearing #12 and throwing the football mostly at a high level, and that's where my relationship ends.

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GregC's picture

May 13, 2022 at 12:10 pm

That's about where I am on Rodgers too, although maybe it took me longer to get there than it did for you. I watched last season under protest because I was so sick of Rodgers. But I think I'm past that now. He's still one of the best QBs in the league, and I hope he can help us win lots of games--especially in the playoffs. I don't blame him too much for the playoff loss last season. That was mostly on the O-line (which was missing its two best players), with a big assist from the special teams.

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Swisch's picture

May 13, 2022 at 03:01 pm

We all have our flaws and faults, but the difficulty with Rodgers is that his transgressions go to the heart of the Packers being able to function in a healthy and happy way.
He disrespects his bosses, disobeys his coaches, is indifferent to his teammates -- and dismisses the fans all the while. It's all about him.
With that attitude, the Packers can't win.
***
Bart Starr, with a fraction of the talent of an Aaron Rodgers or a Brett Favre, won five championships to their combined two.
He was humble enough to defer to his bosses and to let others get a fair share of the attention; he was motivated enough to improve his skills until he won MVP for the NFL in 1966.
Rodgers and Favre won their only championships when they were younger and still coachable, but they both became insufferably egotistical afterward -- not only to their detriment but to ours as fans.
Starr found ways for the Packers to win, while the other two became divas who found ways for the Packers to lose, and in the most exasperating and miserable of ways.
***
So, it's hard to just ignore what Rodgers is doing because it's causing dysfunction to the entire team and the whole organization.
Rodgers is the fault line of the Packers: When there's pressure, the team cracks around him and crumbles into ruins.
How many times do Packers fans have to be devastated until they demand to build on the foundation of a quarterback who is solid and stable?

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GregC's picture

May 13, 2022 at 03:28 pm

I like Bart Starr a lot better than either Favre or Rodgers, but I'm not buying that his teams had only a fraction of the talent that they had. There were fewer teams back them, and a lot of them were poorly managed. Comparatively, the Packers were loaded with talent. And there was no fee agency and no salary cap, which made it a lot easier to keep a talented team together. Starr was a class act and a great leader, though. Favre and Rodgers, not so much.

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Swisch's picture

May 13, 2022 at 04:50 pm

Hi, Greg, I was saying that Starr had a fraction of the talent personally than Rodgers or Favre, yet did much more with his talent than either of them.
***
I would say just about any championship team is loaded with talent.
I would add that the Packers of the Lombardi/Starr Era were so disciplined and determined and successful that we tend to underestimate their achievements as almost inevitable.
It seems to me the Colts under Johnny Unitas had a lot of talent, but didn't win a championship at all in the 1960s.
The Giants, Lions, Bears, Browns, and Cowboys fielded formidable teams in those days with lots of talent.
The Packers somehow sustained excellence in a way unmatched by any other team before or since -- with five championships in seven seasons, and three in a row.
That takes more than talent.
***
As a postscript, I'll go to the famous drive in the Ice Bowl on the literally frozen tundra with Starr's quarterback sneak for a touchdown and a legendary victory.
Before that final drive, the Packers offense was battered to the point of literally being stopped cold by the Cowboys defense -- with perhaps minus-9 yards total and no points since halftime.
Then Starr led the team 68 yards in the most adverse conditions for the winning score -- and exactly half of those yards were gained by the utilization of a mid-season walk-on at running back (more of a longshot than Rasul Douglas was last season) named Chuck Mercein.
Whenever it was possible, Starr found a way to lead the Packers to triumph -- with a 9-1 record in the playoffs over his career, and stellar statistics personally.
***
Starr was a winner. A winner doesn't always win, but always perseveres to the end, and always tries every possible honest tactic toward coming out on top.
Giannis and the Bucks are winners, even if they may fall short at some point.
Last season, Tom Brady was a winner even in his playoff loss to the Rams; it didn't seem the same with Rodgers in his loss to the 49ers.
***
Maybe I'm being too harsh, but it seems Rodgers puffs himself up during the regular season, but then shrinks in the playoffs.
In general, he doesn't stand up well to a fierce pass rush, and that kind of stiff challenge tends to happen at least once at some point in the playoffs.
If Rodgers was more humble and coachable, he might find a way to outsmart fierce pass rushes; but as it is, he stubbornly crumbles -- and then goes on seemingly as arrogant and unaccountable and demanding as ever.
Again, why do fans put up with him?

4 points
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Pantz_Burp's picture

May 13, 2022 at 04:57 pm

Thanks for your thoughts Swisch. On a side note (you may already know this), but I didn't until reading a book about the Ice Bowl. Prior to the book or documentary?, I thought the RB, Chuck Mercein was raising his hands to signal a TD by Starr on the QB sneak. I found out he raised both hands so he wouldn't be penalized for pushing Starr into the end zone.

I hope I got the facts straight since going off memory. What a heads up play on his part.

1 points
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Swisch's picture

May 13, 2022 at 06:12 pm

Good stuff, PB.
Chuck Mercein went to Yale, so he has some smarts, and used them on the pivotal play you mention in the way you mention.
There's a great series that is sometimes shown on the NFL Channel called "America's Game," which is a series of documentaries about all the Super Bowl winners and their seasons.
The episode about Super Bowl II chronicles the 1967 season for the champion Packers, with narration by Tom Selleck and commentary by Dave Robinson, Jerry Kramer, and Chuck Mercein -- and Mercein tells the story much as you did above.
Also excellent is the previous episode about Super Bown I, with the insights of Bart Starr, Willie Davis, and Bill Curry. Curry, who grew up in the South, has some wonderful words about the enlightened racial integration on the Packers during the Lombardi Era that is truly inspiring.
These shows may help to sustain Packers fans during the long offseason, plus offer relevant lessons that the team of today would do well to heed in pursuit of another title for Green Bay.
***
One more thing important to point out, PB: As I think we've shared in the recent past, we're both rooting for Aaron Rodgers to get it -- as far as being more coachable and agreeable.
I want the best for the guy, which to me means not enabling his bad behavior.
Rodgers doesn't have to be perfect, but then again superficial changes aren't going to cut it, either (such as spending a little more time with the wide receivers).
I'd love to see him grown substantially as a player and person to get another Super Bowl with the Packers and go out in glory. (One good indication would be him playing some significant snaps in the preseason, perhaps a quarter per game.)
Sadly, there's not much sign of that, but I truly hope and pray.

1 points
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Pantz_Burp's picture

May 13, 2022 at 06:40 pm

Thanks for confirming Swisch...yeah, I think me being a simple person gravitates towards the era of Lombardi (which was before my time). But, put an older Packer documentary or book in front of me and it's like a third grader seeing fireflies or fireworks for the first time, I am mesmerized.

Hope you have an enjoyable evening Swisch, peace.

1 points
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GregC's picture

May 13, 2022 at 05:58 pm

Oh, sorry Swisch, I totally misinterpreted your comment about Starr having a fraction of the talent. Yes, that is certainly true about Starr, what was he, a 17th round draft pick?

3 points
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Ferrari-Driver's picture

May 14, 2022 at 11:54 am

EXCELLENT Swisch . If I could give you two thumbs up, I would.

1 points
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Pantz_Burp's picture

May 13, 2022 at 03:49 pm

I hear ya Swisch...it is when the you-know-what hits the fan that true character is revealed. All is good now. Not sure how #12 reacts if/when it ain't going so well.

I do give him props for being the most tenured Packer player in history and wanting to keep plugging away at the prize but like dobber said (at least I think it was dobber?, my bad if I'm incorrect), I cheer for him as the current Packer QB. Personally, I am not afraid when the organization has to turn the page. Even with his amazing 4x MVP, turning the page to the next chapter may be messy at first but I can't wait to get a SNIFF of those new clothes hanging on the line drying, with that peppery, sweet smell of a summer breeze still in the linen.

Grabbing my shades cuz the future is going to be THAT Brite.

3 points
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Ferrari-Driver's picture

May 13, 2022 at 09:18 pm

I prefer not to use down votes.

We are all Packer fans and our knowledge levels are not always the same, but the comments made are based upon what the Packer fans thinks. None of us have the expertise nor insight of team General Managers, but we all have fun giving it our best shot to make the Packers a better team...in our view.

If I disagree enough with a post of one of our Packer fans, I will often a reply with a different point of view. I don't feel the need to give him/her a down vote and imply that he or his comments are egregious.

I enjoy giving the up votes just like when I play golf with friends every week, I like to give out compliments. It tends to make people feel better about themselves and it and enjoy doing it. That's just my take and I certainly don't want to imply what others do is distasteful or wrong.

3 points
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splitpea1's picture

May 13, 2022 at 12:26 pm

I never thought of it as that easy of a schedule. A challenging schedule is a good thing in my mind. One thing working in our favor is a lot of games against new head coaches who will be implementing various new systems. The bye week is too late. As for the NFC North, I can't see it being "significantly tougher"; maybe a little bit, though.

No matter who our opponents are, though, we still have our work cut out for us as far as integrating new receivers into the offense and executing properly on special teams.

1 points
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PatrickGB's picture

May 13, 2022 at 12:32 pm

“Strength of Schedule” forecasts are an educated guess based on incomplete information.

2 points
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Philarod's picture

May 13, 2022 at 02:50 pm

Points are all well-taken, but I can't resist a projection.
I didn't pick each game, but I foresee a 4-2 divisional record (hard to keep sweeping division opponents) and either 7-4 or 8-3 outside the division. Some tough games on paper, and "on paper" never tells the final story - in either direction.

Either 11-6 or 12-5, which should take the North again. Much as I like the idea of the #1 seed, well, we may have to win a road playoff game or two.

GP, G!

3 points
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PatrickGB's picture

May 13, 2022 at 03:11 pm

I agree. I see a step back from last year. The record won’t be as good but we still make the playoffs. The loss of Adams and MVS will hurt offensively. Yet the improvement from ST’s and the Defense will help offset it. Last year, even in our wins, it was too close because of the above.

2 points
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barutanseijin's picture

May 13, 2022 at 06:33 pm

It’s impossible to say anything about the strength of the schedule until the season gets started. We don’t know enough about any of the teams involved — including the Packers. Will Bakhtiari and Jenkins play at the same level when they’re back? Can Nijman play right tackle? Will Newman get better? Will Myers pick up where he left off?
Will any of the rookie contribute? Will the safety group stay on the same level? Etc. Etc.

Every other team has a similar set of questions, even the champs. As for the teams in the division, they have bigger questions: is Fields any better than what he showed last year? Can Kirk show up for big games? Is high school spirit enough to compensate for Goff at QB?

1 points
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