The NFL revealed all 32 schedules for the 2023 season on Thursday night and it’s safe to say the Green Bay Packers noticed something right off the rip:
They are going to open the season, on the road, and against the Chicago Bears for the fifth straight season.
“That’s a heck of a question,” Packers head coach Matt LaFleur said after he was asked to give his thoughts on the subject. “That’s something I thought was going to change. There’s nothing like having an opening day game at your home stadium with your crowd behind you. But, the schedule-makers said that’s not the case and we’ll be prepared to play against a Chicago Bears team that, on paper, looks much improved. It’ll be a great challenge for us.”
The NFL needs to stop doing this to the Packers
Sure, it’s a rivalry game – arguably the NFL’s biggest rivalry. And, there’s zero doubt Soldier Field will be hyped like no other on September 10.
At the same time, however, it doesn’t make any sense to do this to the Packers for five years in a row. We’re talking about one of the NFL’s most historic franchises that has zero problems marketing its brand or selling out its stadium.
Lambeau Field is always one of the toughest places to play in the NFL due to the crowd that always shows up. Robbing the Lambeau faithful of another home opener for the fifth straight year is simply a major mistake on the NFL’s end.
“I think our players feed off the energy that’s produced by our fans,” said LaFleur. “There’s no better place to play. What a great atmosphere – we’ve got the best fans in the world. Hopefully they’ll show out for us and we can feed off their energy.”
The Packers have also won every single one of the past four openers at Soldier Field. The closest the Bears ever came to winning one of those games was the first one, back in 2019, when they lost, 10-3.
Since then, the Packers have won the last three openers by an average margin of 14.3 points and the closest game was decided by 10 points. All of them have been stinkers, to put it politely, so why keep pushing this in 2023?
In other words: It’s about time the NFL gave the Packers a chance to open the season at Lambeau. The last time they did was in 2018 and the end result was that crazy comeback that ended up giving the Packers the slightest of edges in a 24-23 win. Sure enough, it was against the Bears, too.
Go figure, right?
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