Packers schedule 2017: Green Bay draws three NFC heavyweight fights early

Green Bay gets the AFC North and highly anticipated playoff rematches with the Falcons and Cowboys. Here's a breakdown of the Packers' schedule.

The Green Bay Packers are looking to defend their NFC North title and reach the playoffs for a league-best ninth consecutive season, and with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback they will always have a chance.

Green Bay, however, is coming off back-to-back 10-6 seasons and needed to run the table in order to make the NFL playoffs in 2016. The team's 2017 schedule features playoff rematches and five prime-time games along with tours of the NFC South and AFC North.

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Here's a month-by-month breakdown of the Packers' 2017 regular-season schedule, and how we see it playing out.

September

vs. Seattle, at Atlanta (SNF), vs. Cincinnati, vs. Chicago (TNF)

This is not an easy start for the Packers, who have lost just one September game the past two seasons. Back-to-back games against NFC heavyweights Seattle and Atlanta will test the defense and should set the tone for the rest of the regular season. The "Sunday Night Football" showdown against the Falcons won't be easy given Atlanta will be opening its new Mercedes-Benz Stadium. It's worth knowing Cincinnati is the only team Rodgers hasn't beaten as a starter. The Bengals and Packers have a tradition of bizarre finishes. A rivalry game against the Bears closes the month.

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October

at Dallas, at Minnesota, vs. New Orleans, BYE

The Cowboys will be out for revenge on Oct. 8 after the Packers won a 34-31 thriller in the NFC divisional playoffs last season, and it won't be easy for the Packers to go to Minnesota the following week. A shootout with Drew Brees seems obligatory on Oct. 22 before what will be a much-needed bye week.

November

vs. Detroit (MNF), at Chicago, vs. Baltimore, at Pittsburgh (SNF)

Green Bay lost three straight November games last season as part of a four-game slide before Rodgers ordered up "running the table." The divisional games against the Lions and Bears will be critical before a pair of bruising games against AFC North contenders Baltimore and Pittsburgh. The "Sunday Night Football" matchup against the Steelers and Ben Roethlisberger could shape up to be one of the most entertaining games of the year, like the 37-36 thriller the teams played at Heinz Field in 2009.

MORE: 'Sunday Night Football' schedule

December

vs. Tampa Bay, at Cleveland, at Carolina, vs. Minnesota (Saturday), at Detroit

The home game against the Buccaneers is a trap game wedged between the three AFC North matchups, and the season ends just like it did in 2016. The midpoint of the month features another showdown with Cam Newton; the Pack's last two games at Carolina were shootouts. Then it's déjà vu. Green Bay plays the Vikings at home before a road trip to Detroit, which could be flexed depending on the circumstances. That worked out fine last year.

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Packers schedule 2017, record prediction: 11-5

That threshold depends on those first two games. We're assuming at least a split, but there's that chance Green Bay could get off to a slow start given all those NFC playoff-caliber teams on the front end. November is critical, and the Packers can't have a four-game losing streak this time around. Rodgers is 53-14 at home as a starter, but five of those losses have come in the past two seasons. Green Bay needs to bank on that home dominance a little more in 2017, but the path to the NFC North title still runs through Green Bay.


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