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Top Lists Show Which Opponent Matters for Packers

Following the NFL Draft, many national media outlets compiled their “Power Rankings” of the 32 NFL teams. There is a fair amount of disagreement at the top of these lists and then not much past the top 10.

We looked at the rankings — all published in May — by CBS Sports, ESPN, NFL.com, Sports Illustrated and USA Today.

Of the five, ESPN rates the Green Bay Packers highest, at No. 3. NFL.com and CBS have the Packers at No. 4. USA Today has them at No. 7 and SI at No. 8.

SI and USA Today rank the Arizona Cardinals at the top, while NFL.com and CBS have them at No. 2.

New England is ranked at the top by CBS and ESPN, though the Patriots are ranked as low as No. 6 by NFL.com.

Carolina is picked No. 1 by NFL.com and No. 2 by ESPN and SI, but as low as No. 6 by CBS.

You might have heard that the Packers appear to have the easiest schedule in the league this year. These rankings bear that out.

The Packers’ opponent appearing most often in these top 10 is Seattle, ranked No. 4 by ESPN, No. 5 by CBS, No. 7 by NFL.com, and No. 10 by SI and USA Today.

Minnesota is the perceived to be the next toughest opponent, rated No. 6 by SI, No. 8 by USA Today and No. 9 by ESPN and NFL.com.

No other 2016 Packers’ opponent is ranked in the top 10 on any of the five lists.

The only opponents picked higher than the Packers by anyone are Minnesota, picked two spots higher by SI; and Seattle, picked a spot higher by USA Today.

Based on all this forecasting, it’s very possible that the only regular season game in which the Packers will not be favored could be the September 18 away game against the Vikings.

That Vikings game looms large — on so many levels.

Rob Born

I’m with Matt: “You gotta make those chunk plays!”



  1. Icebowl July 30, 2016

    Nice research Rob.
    The whole ranking thing gets a bit confusing….
    I don’t pay much heed to them because no one can predict injuries….
    Though i do like to use them to harass my Bears “friends” before season starts….

  2. PF4L July 30, 2016

    Citing the fact that the Lions, Bears, and Vikings all won at Lambeau field last year. which, makes me physically ill to my stomach. I think NFC North games matter most.

    But with that said….Before every kickoff, whether it’s week 1, or week 17. EVERY game matters the same to me.

  3. Empacador July 30, 2016

    Yes, payback for all 3 teams beating the Packers at home last season. Mostly I’d like to have the Packers take the lead in the overall series against the Bears next season. To do so they need to sweep this year to tie, unless they both face each other in the playoffs.

  4. Packers fan July 30, 2016

    The Seahawks, Vikings, and Texans matter to the Packers this year. They have good defenses but at least Seattle and Houston comes to Lambeau Field.

    1. PF4L July 31, 2016

      Coming to Lambeau doesn’t mean what it use to, unfortunately.

      After reconsideration the bottom line is…the opponent that matters most to the Packers, is whatever opponent they are facing in the playoffs. If we lost to Seattle, Vikings or whoever during the regular season but still make the playoffs, it doesn’t matter much at that point. What matters is beating the team they are playing in the playoffs, citing the fact, that if they lose, they are done. Thus making that the most important opponent. When i look back the last 5 years, the most important opponent is the one we lost to in the playoffs.

      1. Howard July 31, 2016

        Perfect comment.

      2. Phatgzus August 1, 2016

        Agreed with the second point, as for the first, it meant something in ’10, ’11, ’12, and a whole lot in ’14.