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2015 NFL Draft Preview


-Tracking the Packers Mock Drafts - Who do the experts have Green Bay picking?

-The Packers WILL select at 30

-Should the Packers select an offensive player if one is the best player available?

-Who will draft Melvin Gordon?

-Philip Rivers possibly to Tennessee for the Marcus Mariota Pick!? What are the Titans thinking!?

-Who is the best running back in Wisconsin history?

-NFL Draft Coverage: better over 2 Days or 3 Days?

-Ron Wolf vs. Ted Thompson: Who was better on draft day?


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The schedule is out and I’m so excited! This is one of my favorite days of the year despite absolutely nothing of note actually happening. But if you’re a football nut like me, the order that these games occur in will be burned into a part of your brain for the rest of your days. I can’t wait to see how it all unfolds.

While we wait for the season to start, here are some facts about each game that you can memorize and use as trivia at your Packer parties during the season. You’ll be sure to accrue plenty of sighs and many an eye roll from these nuggets of knowledge. Let’s get to it!


Week 1: Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears

Sunday, September 13, 2015; 12:00 PM on Fox

Last Meeting at this Venue: W 38-17 September 28, 2014

What You Don’t Need to Know About This Game:

  • This is the first time since 1977-1979 that the Packers have started the season on the road 3 years in a row.

  • After tying a franchise record in 2011 with their 5th consecutive opening day win, the Packers have dropped their last 3 season openers. The Packers have not lost 4 straight season openers since the 80s, when they lost 5 straight openers from 1985-1989

  • The Packers have not played at Noon in Week 1 since 2007.

  • For the first time since 2005, Green Bay will open the season against a team that had a losing record the year before.

  • This year, I wanted to point out just how insane Rodgers and McCarthy have been against the NFC North. For the home games, I will share McCarthy’s stats. For road games, I will share Rodgers stats.

  • Aaron Rodgers Career Stats vs. Bears: 293/425 (68.9%) for 3,448 yards, 31 TDs – 8 INTs, 109.8 Passer Rating, 11-3 record.

  • In two meetings last year, the Packers outscored the Bears 93-31. The +62 scoring differential was the 3rd highest in Packers/Bears history. Green Bay outscored Chicago 73-9 (+64) in 1994 and Lombardi’s mighty 1962 Packers abused the Bears 87-7 (+80) in their two meetings.

  • Last year I erroneously reported that the Packers were going for their 6th straight win at Soldier Field. They were not, but THIS year they are (trust me). THEN I erroneously reported yesterday that this would tie a franchise record. In reality, it's not even close. The Packers beat Chicago at Soldier Field 10 times in a row from 1994-2004 (and in 2002 they took the time to visit Champaign, IL and beat the Bears there too while Soldier Field was being renovated). I am just going to assume that's the franchise record (and quite possibly an NFL record). It's quite embarrassing that I didn't remember that since I was an active fan during that entire period. But I guess the rivalry has been so one sided you just take it for granted and it fades into the background.

  • Aaron Rodgers is the 3rd highest rated passer in Soldier Field history (99.0 passer rating – min 50 attempts). This despite having thrown nearly twice as many passes and having played in twice as many games as number 1 and 2 on the list (Tony Romo (1) and Peyton Manning (2)).


Week 2: Seattle Seahawks at Green Bay Packers

Sunday, September 20, 2015; 7:30 PM on NBC

Last meeting at this Venue: W 48-10 December 27, 2009

What You Don’t Need to Know About This Game:

  • There has been so much history between these two teams the last few years, but all at CenturyLink Field in Seattle. Seattle hasn’t played at Lambeau Field in 6 years, where they were buried 48-10. Seattle’s quarterback was Matt Hasselbeck and their head coach was Jim Mora Jr. I was in the stands for this game and I’m not sure it actually happened.

  • This will be the Packers Lambeau Field opener. Surprisingly, Green Bay is just 27-28-2 in Lambeau Field openers. I can hear you saying, “Surely that’s caused by all the bad teams in the 70s and 80s”. Partly. Starting with the Ron Wolf era in 1992, the Pack is still only 14-9 in their Lambeau opener. But here’s the better news: Aaron Rodgers is 6-1 in home openers, losing only to the 49ers in 2012.   

  • Revenge is always a motivating factor for fans going into a season following a devastating playoff loss. They always wish to get a rematch the next year so the Packers can set things right. Well, be careful what you wish for: Green Bay is just 2-13 all-time against teams that beat them in the previous year’s playoffs.

  • Aaron Rodgers has a cumulative passer rating over 100.0 in head-to-head matches with all but three NFC Teams: Philadelphia (97.5), Seattle (92.6), and Tampa Bay (84.4).

  • While Russell Wilson is an amazing 26-2 at home, he’s a pedestrian 16-12 away from Seattle.

  • Aaron Rodgers has never thrown an interception on the 1-yard line; even when his coach calls a passing play when the entire world thought they should run instead.


Week 3: Kansas City Chiefs at Green Bay Packers

Monday, September 28, 2015; 7:30 PM on ESPN

Last Meeting at this Venue: L 34-40 OT October 12, 2003

What You Don’t Need to Know About This Game:

  • This will be the first time the Chiefs have played a regular season game at Lambeau Field in 12 years. Due to a scheduling quirk I don’t quite understand, the scheduling rotation sent the Packers to Kansas City in both 2007 and 2011 (when it should have had the Chiefs come to Green Bay).

  • In another bizarre scheduling occurrence, the Chiefs played at Lambeau Field in back-to-back seasons in 1989 and 1990. Back in the 28 team NFL, there were six divisions: 4 with 5 teams (AFC West & East and the NFC Central & East) and two with four teams (AFC Central & NFC West). The four teams that finished in 5th place each year would form their own mini league the following year. They would play each of the two 5th place teams from the other conference and play the other 5th place team from their own conference twice in a home and home series. The remainder of the schedule was eight division games and four games against the four team division within their own conference (in Green Bay’s case, the NFC West).  This allowed the Packers to play Kansas City, Miami, and the Dallas Cowboys twice in 1989. After the Packers finished second in the division in 1989, they were placed back into the more familiar rotation of playing eight division games: two games against conference foes in the other two divisions, and four games against the 1st thru 4th place teams from an AFC division. For the NFC central in 1990, that was the AFC West. So they played the Chiefs again. After ALL that….they lost both games by the respective scores of 21-3 and 17-3. So...yeah. Aren’t you glad you know all that?

  • The Chiefs are 3-0 all-time at Lambeau Field. They are the only team to have played more than once at Lambeau and be undefeated (The Texans are 1-0).

  • This is expected to be just the second career meeting between 2005 QB Draftees Aaron Rodgers and Alex Smith. Smith’s 49ers beat Rodgers’ Packers 30-22 in the 2012 season opener.  

  • Aaron Rodgers has excelled in most situations in his career, but he has struggled to find victory on Monday night. Despite a 95.1 passer rating in this time slot, Rodgers’ Packers are just 4-6 on Monday night.

  • The Chiefs are one of two teams that Aaron Rodgers has never beaten (the other being the Cincinnati Bengals). His only meeting with the Chiefs was a 19-14 loss that ended the Packers’ 19 game winning streak in 2011. You hear that, Aaron? Alex Smith, loss of an undefeated season, Monday Night jinx, you’ve never beaten them AND they are the only unbeaten team left at Lambeau? How’s that chip on your shoulder feel? Does it feel like it could throw eight TD passes?


Week 4: Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers

Sunday, October 4, 2015; 3:25 PM on Fox

Last Meeting at this Venue: First Time at Venue (L 28-34 September 8, 2013 at Candlestick Park)

What You Don’t Need to Know About This Game:

  • At one time the Packers completely dominated their rivalry with the 49ers, winning 13 of 14 games against them from 1995-2010. But since then, the tide has shifted drastically. San Francisco has won four straight against the Packers

  • In their last meeting in San Francisco, Colin Kaepernick threw for a career-high 412 yards. It is his only career 400-yard game and just one of four games in which he’s thrown for over 300 yards. (Also one of 12 400-yard passing games allowed by Green Bay since 1960 – half of which have been allowed by Dom Capers’ defenses).

  • This will be the first game between these two teams at Levi’s Stadium, which opened last season. Following this game, the Packers will have played in every NFL stadium currently in use. They are 17-13 in their first game in each of the current NFL stadiums.

  • The Packers’ final record at Candlestick Park was 6-5 (2-2 in postseason).


Week 5: St. Louis Rams at Green Bay Packers

Sunday, October 11, 2015; 12:00 PM on CBS

Last Meeting at this Venue: W 24-3 October 16, 2011

What You Don’t Need to Know About This Game:

  • The Rams are the only NFC team that Aaron Rodgers has never lost to (3-0). He has absolutely pummeled them in his career, posting a cumulative 127.9 passer rating with eight TDs to 1 INT.

  • In a 2011 matchup against the Rams, Jordy Nelson hauled in a 93-yard touchdown catch. It’s the second longest touchdown pass in franchise history (Robert Brooks had a 99 yard TD catch against Chicago in 1995).

  • Since moving to St. Louis, the Rams are 2-3 against the Packers at Lambeau Field.

  • If the Rams are able to beat the Packers, they will tie the head-to-head series (Currently the Packers have a 45-44-2 edge in their all-time matchup).

  • Note that this game is on CBS. This is the first time since last year when the NFL decided to no longer care about the TV contract making sense that the Packers have played an NFC opponent on Sunday afternoon on CBS. The last time the Packers played the Rams on CBS they won 36-6 in Jerome Bettis’ first game in 1993.


Week 6: San Diego Chargers at Green Bay Packers

Sunday, October 18, 2015; 3:25 PM on CBS

Last Meeting at this Venue: W 31-24 September 23, 2007

What You Don’t Need to Know About This Game:

  • The Packers are currently on a six game winning streak against the Chargers dating back to 1993. In fact, the Chargers have not defeated Green Bay since 1984. That is one of the longest current streaks in the league. The Redskins have not defeated the Chiefs since 1983 (0-6), and the New York Jets have several strange streaks:  They haven’t lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers since 1984 (8-0) or the Cardinals since 1975 (7-0), but they have NEVER beaten the Eagles (0-9; first meeting in 1973).

  • Only 6 players currently on the Chargers roster were alive when San Diego last beat Green Bay.

  • Despite the lopsided affair of this matchup, the last three games have been quite high scoring and competitive, with the average final score being Packers 38 Chargers 27.

  • Philip Rivers is 0-2 against the Packers despite a cumulative 99.7 passer rating in those games.

  • Randall Cobb has caught a pass against every NFL team he’s played against, except the Chargers. He has yet to play the Browns or Steelers.


Week 7: Bye

Week of Sunday, October 25, 2015

What You Don’t Need to Know About This Week:

  • McCarthy’s Packers have won six straight times in their first game after the bye week. This is the longest streak in team history. Green Bay is 16-10 all-time after a bye week.  

  • I didn’t prepare much else about the bye…um….Week 7 is decent for a bye I guess.


Week 8: Green Bay Packers at Denver Broncos

Sunday, November 1, 2015; 7:30 PM on NBC

Last Meeting at this Venue: W 19-13 OT October 29, 2007

What You Don’t Need to Know About This Game:

  • This will be the Packers 1st trip to Denver since 2007 when the Packers beat Jay Cutler’s Broncos on an 82-yard touchdown pass from Brett Favre to Greg Jennings on the first play of overtime. Boy, does that sentence make that game feel like it was 25 years ago.

  • Peyton Manning is 1-2 in his career against the Packers, including a 34-14 loss to Aaron Rodgers and Company in 2008. The most memorable play of that game was a 99-yard touchdown return of a Peyton Manning interception by S Aaron Rouse. It’s the longest interception return against Peyton Manning in his career and the longest regular season defensive touchdown in Packers history.

  • Aaron Rodgers is clearly one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time and has plenty of great years ahead of him, but at 226 career touchdown passes, he is currently 304 touchdown passes behind Peyton Manning! He has only accumulated less than 43% of Manning’s career total! Can he get the other 57%? It will be tough, but it’s possible.

  • Green Bay is 1-5 all time in Denver and has never scored 20 or more points in the Mile High City.  

  • Last time the Packers played the Broncos in Denver, it was also in prime time, also in Week 8, and also right after a bye! That’s kinda weird. I’m predicting a TD pass from Rodgers to Cobb on the first play of overtime to win this game.  

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Week 9: Green Bay Packers at Carolina Panthers

Sunday, November 8, 2015; 12:00 PM on Fox

Last Meeting at this Venue: W 30-23 September 18, 2011

What You Don’t Need to Know About This Game:

  • It’s strange that it feels weird to see the Panthers on the schedule. This will just be the 3rd meeting with Carolina in the last seven seasons. In Carolina’s first 11 seasons, they played Green Bay nine times.

  • This will be Cam Newton’s 3rd career start against the Packers. He’s 0-2 with 2 TDs to 4 INTs.

  • Jordy Nelson has played the Carolina Panthers just twice. In each game he’s scored a long touchdown. In 2008, he hauled in an 84-yard TD grab and last season he caught a 59-yard scoring strike.

  • In 10 of 13 meetings with Panthers, the Packers have scored at least 28 points.

  • After 13 seasons of NFC South play, the Panthers finally became the first team to win back-to-back division titles. Of course, being the NFC South, they also became just the second team to win a division with a losing record (7-8-1). As a side note, division winners with losing records now have an all-time Wildcard record of 2-0. Go figure.  


Week 10: Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers

Sunday, November 15, 2015; 12:00 PM on Fox

Last Meeting at this Venue: W 30-20 December 28, 2014

What You Don’t Need to Know About This Game:

  • Mike McCarthy is 15-3 against the Lions. Average score: 27-19.

  • Matthew Stafford is 1-7 against Aaron Rodgers.

  • Detroit had a historically good rushing defense last year. They gave up the 6th fewest yards ever in a 16-game season. Only one running back was able to gain 100 yards rushing in a game against them – that being Eddie Lacy in Green Bay’s 30-20 Week 17 win.

  • Last season, the Packers held Calvin Johnson to just 39 and 82 yards respectively in their two matchups with Detroit. In the previous four matchups against Megatron, he had 606 receiving yards and four 100-yard games.

  • This is the fun part where we remind everyone that the Lions have lost their last 24 games against the Packers in Wisconsin dating back to 1992.

  • Since Detroit last won in Wisconsin, four expansion teams have been formed, four others have moved, 22 teams have changed their uniforms (some multiple times), 25 have built new stadiums, and poor Lions K Jason Hanson played a complete 21-year career without ever winning in the state of Wisconsin.

  • And while we’re reopening some wounds, let’s pour a little salt: with Detroit’s loss to Dallas in the Wildcard Playoffs last season, they tied Kansas City for the most consecutive playoff losses in NFL history (8).  


Week 11: Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings

Sunday, November 22, 2015; 12:00 PM on Fox

Last Meeting at this Venue: W 24-21 November 23, 2014

What You Don’t Need to Know About This Game:

  • The Packers played at Minnesota in Minneapolis this weekend last year as well.

  • Aaron Rodgers Career Stats vs. Vikings: 287/403 (71.2%) for 3,490 yards, 31 TDs – 4 INTs, 119.0 Passer Rating, 10-4 record.

  • As if Rodgers needed any help, Eddie Lacy has terrorized the Vikings in his short career. Three of his seven 100-yard games have come against Minnesota and 19% of his 2,317 career regular season rushing yards have been gained against the men in purple (434).

  • With their 24-21 win over the Vikings at TCF Bank Stadium last season, the Packers are 12-9 all-time in Minnesota outdoors.

  • When Teddy Bridgewater started for the Vikings last November, he became the 17th Vikings quarterback to start against Green Bay since 1992. The Packers have played just four QBs against Minnesota in that time period – Rodgers, Favre, Don Majkowski, and Scott Tolzien.

  • Packers DL Mike Daniels has 14.0 career sacks – 5.5 of them are against the Vikings.


Week 12: Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers

Thursday, November 26, 2015; 7:30 PM on NBC

Last Meeting at this Venue: W 55-14 November 9, 2014

What You Don’t Need to Know About This Game:

  • Mike McCarthy is 13-6 against the Bears. Average Score: 24-17.

  • With a season sweep of the Bears, the Packers will pull into an all-time series tie with Chicago (93-93-6) for the first time since 1933 (when the series was 11-11-4).

  • The Packers 55-14 win over Chicago last year was the second largest margin of victory in Lambeau Field history, trailing only the 49-0 spanking of the Bears in 1962.

  • To contrast Aaron Rodgers’ greatness at Soldier Field, Jay Cutler is 0-4 all time at Lambeau Field and his 41.1 passer rating is the 6th worst in Lambeau Field history (and the five QBs worse than him have not played a down at Lambeau since 1981).

  • This will be the 36th time the Packers have played on Thanksgiving, but only the 2nd time they’ve hosted a game (they defeated the legendary Hammond Pros 19-0 at Bellevue Park in 1923). They are 14-20-1 all time on Thanksgiving Day.

  • Brett Favre will have his number retired during this game. It is fitting, as his 60 TD passes against Chicago is the most he threw against any individual team.

  • Randall Cobb is 7-0 against the Bears.

  • The Packers have not lost a game to Chicago that was televised on any network other than ESPN since Week 1 of the 2006 season.


Week 13: Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions

Thursday, December 3, 2015; 7:25 PM on CBS/NFL Network

Last Meeting at this Venue: L 7-19 September 21, 2014

What You Don’t Need to Know About This Game:

  • Aaron Rodgers Career Stats vs. Lions: 229/336 (68.2%) for 2,947 yards, 22 TDs – 5 INTs, 111.0 Passer Rating, 10-2 record.

  • I get the sense that the NFL really wanted Detroit hosting Green Bay on Thanksgiving again this year, but the Packers reportedly requested the Bears at Lambeau on Thanksgiving night to make the Favre ceremony extra special. Weird scheduling. This is the first time since 2007 that the Packers played back-to-back weeks on a Thursday (they beat Detroit on Thanksgiving, then fell to Dallas in Dallas the following week in the Aaron Rodgers sub game).

  • When Detroit defeated the Packers at Ford Field last season, it marked the first time in Mike McCarthy’s tenure that he lost to the Lions in back-to-back seasons. Overall, McCarthy has a 15-3 record against DEE-troit (his pronunciation).

  • In Detroit’s 19-7 win over Green Bay last season, they held the Packers to just 223 offensive yards. It is was the lowest output for an Aaron Rodgers-led team since his inaugural starting season in 2008.

  • Matthew Stafford has thrown at least one interception in every game he’s ever played against the Packers at Ford Field.

  • The only other time the Packers and Lions have played on a non-Thanksgiving Thursday was in 1998 when the Lions beat Green Bay 27-20 in the Silverdome.


Week 14: Dallas Cowboys at Green Bay Packers

Sunday, December 13, 2015; 3:25 PM on Fox

Last Meeting at this Venue: W 26-21 January 11, 2015

What You Don’t Need to Know About This Game:

  • Green Bay is 8-1 all-time against Dallas at Lambeau Field. The only loss came in 2008 when Tony Romo led the Cowboys past Aaron Rodgers and the Packers in Rodgers’ third career start. For reference, that game was in Week 3. Game time temperature: 64.

  • The Packers current four-game winning streak over Big D is their longest since the 1960s, when Green Bay won the first six ever meetings between the two clubs.

  • Despite the Cowboys’ total domination of Green Bay in the 90s, the Packers have a 13-12 head-to-head record against Dallas.

  • In recent years, much of the preseason focus for Packers fans has been on avenging a prior seasons’ postseason loss. This year, they have to face one of the teams who is looking for revenge on them for those reasons. Luckily, the Packers are 21-6-1 all-time against teams they defeated the prior year in the playoffs.

  • Jason Garrett is much better as a coach than he was as a player, but he’s had more trouble with Green Bay since retiring to the sidelines. He was 2-0 as a starter against the Packers as a quarterback, but 0-2 as head coach.


Week 15: Green Bay Packers at Oakland Raiders

Sunday, December 20, 2015; 3:05 PM on Fox

Last Meeting at this Venue: W 41-7 December 22, 2003

What You Don’t Need to Know About This Game:

  • Much like their AFC West counterpart San Diego, the Raiders have struggled greatly against the Packers in recent decades. After defeating the Packers in Week 1 of the 1987 season, they have lost their last six meetings with Green Bay.

  • This will be the Packers first trip to the Black Hole since the “Brett Favre Dad Game” in 2003, when Favre famously threw for 399 yards and four TDs to lead the Packers to a 41-7 victory just one day after his father’s death.

  • Just like the Kansas City game, this game has not occurred in this venue in 12 years. Again, I am not sure why the Raiders came to Green Bay in 2011 instead of hosting the Packers in 2011 and travelling to Green Bay this year. Here is something I DO know about scheduling: imagine its 27 years ago and your favorite team just finished in 5th place…


Week 16: Green Bay Packers at Arizona Cardinals

Sunday, December 27, 2015; 3:25 PM on Fox

Last Meeting at this Venue: L 45-51 OT January 10, 2010

What You Don’t Need to Know About This Game:

  • It’s hard to believe it’s already been five years since the famed playoff loss to the Arizona Cardinals. While that’s the last time the Packers have played there in any capacity, the last regular season game in Arizona was a 33-7 Packers rout of the Cards just seven days before that fateful playoff game.

  • Mike McCarthy’s Packers have played the Cardinals four times. Never once have they scored fewer than 31 points.

  • The Cardinals’ defense was quite an anomaly last season. Despite allowing the 9th most yards, they held opponents to the 5th fewest points.


Week 17: Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers

Sunday, January 3, 2016; 12:00 PM on Fox

Last Meeting at this Venue: W 42-10 October 2, 2014

What You Don’t Need to Know About This Game:

  • Mike McCarthy is 14-4-1 against the Vikings. Average score: 29-19.

  • The Packers trounced the Vikings 42-10 at Lambeau Field in 2014. It was the 4th highest margin of victory in the series’ history. It was surpassed by Packers wins in 2011 (45-7, +38) and 2007 (34-0) and a Vikings 42-7 win (+35) in 1986.

  • While the Packers/Bears all-time series record gets tighter, the Packers/Vikings series continues to get out of hand. When Mike McCarthy became the Packers’ head coach following the 2005 season, the Packers all-time record against Minnesota was 44-45-1. Now, it’s 58-49-2.

  • The Vikings have not won at Lambeau Field in their last six games there (0-5-1 record). That’s their longest Lambeau Field losing streak in franchise history

  • Mike McCarthy’s Packers are 8-1 in regular season finales. His only loss was in 2012 at the hands of these Vikings in the Metrodome (37-34). The Packers have been an impressive 37-15-2 in regular season finales since 1960.


Fun fact: if all of the ‘Last Meeting at this Venue’ games repeat themselves, the Packers will go 12-4, which seems like a pretty solid prediction for this team. Well I’m spent, but I hope you found some of this at least slightly interesting. Next week, Green and Gold Forever will be back with a podcast to review the schedule and preview the draft.


Thanks for reading.

-Eric

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