2009 Packers Schedule: How It Plays Out
Since we always know exactly what’s going to happen when it comes to the Green Bay Packers, we thought we’d look into our crystal ball and predict game-by-game results for the upcoming season, now that the schedule has been released. And off we go!
Sept. 13 – Chicago Bears, (7:20 p.m.)
The Jay Cutler debut on national television. There’s only one thing that can happen here – in Lambeau, the Packers intercept Cutler multiple times, and the Bears are exposed for the pretenders they are. Aaron Rodgers demonstrates why he is the best quarterback in the division. Cutler cries. No one cares. This game also serves the purpose of giving Packers’ fans hope for the season – a hope that will soon be dashed by Mike McCarthy’s complete incompetence as a coach. Packers 24-13 (1-0)
Sept. 20 – Cincinnati Bengals (Noon)
Seriously, is there a more inept franchise in the NFL (next to the Lions, of course) than the Bengals? Charles Woodson eats Ochocinco alive and Carson Palmer realizes he has no one to throw to. Palmer throws inopportune interceptions and the Bengals atrocious defense gets carved up by Rodgers and Ryan Grant. Fans in Cincinnati begin calling for Marvin Lewis’ head after the team starts 0-2. Drunken Packers fans begin Super Bowl chants slightly prematurely. Packers 27-17 (2-0)
Sept. 27 – @ St. Louis Rams (Noon)
Considering the Rams were nearly as bad as Detroit last season, this game should be a real cake walk. It isn’t. The Packers are brought down to earth by Marc Bulger and the Rams young, but talented receiving corp. Atari Bigby’s inability to pick up the 3-4 defense is exposed by Bulger and the Packers inability to stop the run surfaces again, as Steven Jackson runs through the Green Bay defensive line. Still, the Packers offense (or the Rams lack of defense) saves the day for Green Bay, but the blueprint for success against Green Bay is drawn. Mike McCarthy, of course, does nothing to adjust the game plan moving forward. Packers 24-21 (3-0)
Oct. 5 – @ Minnesota Vikings (7:30 p.m.)
Yes, the Vikings are the pond scum of the NFL, which makes it painful to look at this game. The Packers run defense has no answer for Adrian Peterson on national television. Sage Rosenfels makes timely first down throws when Peterson isn’t punching Packers defenders in the face. The Vikings defense shows they are the class of the division, shutting down Ryan Grant and forcing Aaron Rodgers to throw on nearly every down, which leads to A-Rod’s first multiple interception game of the season. This game is a disaster waiting to happen. It happens. Vikings 27-10 (3-1)
Oct. 11 – BYE
A good week for licking wounds and figuring out what’s next.
Oct. 18 – Detroit Lions (Noon)
Nothing like drawing a patsy the game after getting your ass handed to you and being totally embarrassed. But hey, they wouldn’t be the Detroit Lions if they weren’t terrible. The Packers get back on track, but not without a few hitches. While Rodgers and the recieving corp is making the Lions secondary look like the JV squad at Green Bay East, Calvin Johnson is making Daunte Culpepper look like he did in the late 90s. Or maybe it’s our safeties making him look like that? Either way, the Lions complete lack of defense wins out over the Packers half-assed defense in the end. Packers 31-24 (4-1)
Oct. 25 – @ Cleveland Browns (Noon)
The Browns are a team in transition, which is what they’ve been since they came back from the dead in 1999. This year is no different, with first-year coach Eric Mangina, a quarterback controversy that will never really settle itself, and no recievers to speak of after the offseason trades of Kellen Winslow Jr. and Braylon Edwards. To top it off, Cleveland’s defense is about as bad as it was last year. Next to the Lions, the Browns are the worst team the Packers play all season (settle down Cincinnati, you’re still terrible). All problems are forgotten for a week. The Packers in a rout. Packers 27-6 (5-1)
Nov. 1 – Minnesota Vikings (Noon)
You can mark this game down as the point where everything went south. Coming off the debacle in their previous matchup with the Vikings, the Packers will learn once and for all that they are not the class of the division. In fact, it’s the Vikings who hold that title (I just threw up in my mouth a little bit). The Vikings employ the same script they did in Minneapolis. Although Ryan Grant has more success against the Vikings this time, the Packers defense simply has no answer for Peterson and the Vikings offense. Not as bad as the first, but still a demoralizing defeat. Vikings 24-13 (5-2)
Nov. 8 – @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Noon)
Tampa Bay has scrapped the Tampa 2 defense. They have a first-year head coach. They have 17 quarterbacks and can’t figure out which one to use. Tampa is screwed, right? Not so fast. The Bucs have a competant offense with Antonio Bryant and Kellen Winslow Jr. (whom the Packers have no answer for), and a strong running game. Tampa will ride their running game and repeatedly find Winslow when it counts. Rodgers and company will never find their rhythm, while the defense continues to be a sieve. Buccaneers 17-6 (5-3)
Nov. 15 – Dallas Cowboys (3:15 p.m.)
Dallas has underachieved the past couple season, and as long as Wade Phillips is at the helm, that’s a good possibility every season. However, even without the desposed of trash that is Terrell Owens, the Cowboys still have a superior offense to Green Bay. Tight ends will continue to burn the Packers – this time the culprit is Jason Witten. Good running backs will do the same, with both Marion Barber and Felix Jones running through holes the size of a barn door. On the other side of the ball, Dallas sports a far superior defense to Green Bay. The Cowboys handle the Packers in Lambeau. The tailspin continues. Cowboys 24-13 (5-4)
Nov. 22 – San Francisco 49ers (Noon)
The 49ers haven’t had much football success since, oh… the mid-90s. This version of the 49ers is on the upswing though, and shouldn’t be taken lightly. With head coach Mike Singletary, San Francisco is a tougher team than back when we all thought Steve Mariucci could coach. The 49ers don’t have a quarterback, but under Singletary, they don’t need one. This is smashmouth football – run the ball, play defense, be tougher than your opponent. Unfortunately, the Packers are a finesse team, and as we found out last year, have zero toughness under Mike McCarthy. The 49ers prove the point in spades. Packers fans remember why they hate Mike Singletary. I start the fire Mike McCarthy chant. 49ers 17-13 (5-5)
Nov. 26 – @ Detroit Lions (11:30 a.m.)
Ah, Thanksgiving at the Lions. Thanks for surving up this turkey just when we needed to right the ship, NFL. Ryan Grant and Aaron Rodgers get back on track. The defense is serviceable. The Lions are just that bad… still. Packers 23-17 (6-5)
Dec. 7 – Baltimore Ravens (7:30 p.m.)
The Packers try to avoid a repeat of the 49ers game against a tough defensive team. They fail. The Ravens defense dominates the Packers offensive line and shuts down the Green Bay running game. In the frigid cold of Lambeau the team that runs the ball well and has the quarterback that makes timely throws wins. On this day, that team is Baltimore, as Joe Flacco continues to come into his own and the Packers again fail to control the clock. Ravens 17-10 (6-6)
Dec. 13 – @ Chicago Bears (Noon)
In a repeat of last season, after handling the scumbag Bears in their first matchup, the Packers, in the midst of a late-season swoon, manage to beat themselves just well enough to let the Bears win. Matt Forte will carry the load, but Jay Cutler, who is now completely comfortable in his offense and with his teammates will be the difference, rallying Chicago to a victory in blustery Soldier Field. Bears 23-17 (6-7)
Dec. 20 – @ Pittsburgh Steelers (Noon)
Even if the Packers were the hottest team in the NFL at this point in the season, they can’t beat the defending Super Bowl champs on their own field. Pittsburgh is making a push for the top seed in the AFC, while the Packers are a demoralized also ran coming into the game. The talent and continuity, especially on defense, favors Pittsburgh tremendously. The Steelers cruise. Steelers 31-10 (6-8)
Dec. 27 – Seattle Seahawks (Noon)
There’s no doubt Seattle is better than last season, when they were devastated by injuries at several key positions, but they aren’t close to what they once were. Seattle’s defense is weak and their offense is mediocre. After two tough defeats on the road, the Packers are happy to be home. The offense is up to the task in this one, with both the running and passing game hitting on all cylinders. The defense doesn’t lose the game. Packers 21-14 (7-8)
Jan. 3 – @ Arizona Cardinals (3:15 p.m.)
The team that lost the Super Bowl is typically nowhere to be found the following season, and this season is no different. The Cardinals are mired in mediocrity in their Super Bowl hangover season. However, playing in a weak division they are in playoff contention. The defense that got torched by Santonio Holmes in the Super Bowl is present, as Aaron Rodgers and Greg Jennings light up the Cardinals secondary. Not be outdone, Kurt Warner and Larry Fitzgerald put on an aerial display. The game is excitement from start to finish, but on this day the Packers pull it together and go out on a high note. Packers 34-31 (8-8)
If you haven’t picked up on it yet, the Packers are looking almost like a carbon copy of last year’s Denver Broncos – world-class offense, terrible defense. While our secondary is much better than Denver’s was, our defensive line is weak and our linebackers are questionable. Throw in position changes and a new scheme, and you have a recipie for disaster. Another parallel can be drawn between the two teams’ schedules. The Broncos started fast last year, while their division was down and schedule was weak. When the schedule got tougher and teams figured out how to attack them, the Broncos went into self destruct mode. The Packers schedule shapes up in a very similar fashion this year. Three of the last four games are away. Two of those away games are against last year’s Super Bowl teams. A fast start is certainly possible for the Packers, but the potential for a late season swoon is looming on the horizon.
The Packers miss the playoffs for the second consecutive year, and the only good thing that can come out of all of this heartache happens – Mike McCarthy is fired. If anyone has Bill Cowher’s number, let’s be sure to get him on speed dial around week 7.
Monty McMahon is one of the founders of Total Packers. He is probably the most famous graduate of UW-Oshkosh next to Jim Gantner.