Is there a better home-field advantage in the NFL than Lambeau Field? Maybe Seattle has an argument. Green Bay was 8-0 at home last regular season, 6-1-1 against the spread and 7-1 "over/under." The Packers generally crushed teams there other than a Week 2 comeback against the Jets and a 26-21 Week 13 win over New England that should have been a Super Bowl preview if not for the Packers' collapse in the NFC title game. It's definitely somewhere I want to watch a game before I die -- and I believe the NFL should hold the draft there one year after the success of the outdoor event in Chicago this year.
The Packers' home slate this season is ranked as the ninth-toughest in the NFL and hardest in the NFC North with an opponents' 2014 winning percentage of .555.
Here's the schedule with very early (opponent) odds.
Sept. 20 -- Seahawks (+1): Clearly Green Bay will be really geared up for this Sunday night rematch of the NFC Championship Game. Of course, Seattle won that at home 28-22 in overtime but really had no right doing so. That game made Green Bay tight end and kickoff coverage guy Brandon Bostick a very unpopular player in Packer Nation after he bobbled a late onside kick to give Seattle life. The Packers blew a 16-0 lead. I doubt that Green Bay loses Week 1 in Chicago, but if so the team could be looking at a 0-2 start here. Key trend: Packers 2-3-1 ATS in regular-season home games vs. Seattle.
Sept. 28 -- Chiefs (+5.5): This feels like letdown game on Monday night following the Bears and Seahawks and then a trip to the West Coast in Week 4 against San Francisco. Kansas City hasn't visited Lambeau Field since 2003. Of course, the first-ever meeting between these teams was in Super Bowl I. Key trend: Packers 7-3 ATS in past 10 at home vs. AFC West.
Oct. 11 -- Rams (+5.5): I think St. Louis could be really good this season if Nick Foles is just decent and obviously stays healthy. Will Rams first-round pick Todd Gurley, the running back out of Georgia, by ready by this game off his knee surgery? Maybe. It's the first Rams visit to Lambeau since 2011. Key trend: Packers 9-1 in past 10 as favorite in series and have covered seven (any location).
Oct. 18 -- Chargers (+5.5): This is Green Bay's final game before the bye week and first time hosting the Bolts since 2007. The Packers are 9-1 all-time against this franchise, with the loss way back in 1984. One benefit here for the Pack is a short week for the Chargers, who host Pittsburgh on the previous Monday. Key trend: Packers 4-5-1 ATS in past 10 (anywhere) before a bye week.
Nov. 15 -- Lions (+5): This follows tough road games in Denver and Carolina for Green Bay. The Packers hosted the Lions in Week 17 last season for the NFC North title and won 30-20. Aaron Rodgers hurt his calf in that one and had to be carted to the locker room late in the second quarter but returned. Green Bay hasn't lost a home game to the Lions since 1991. Key trend: Packers 7-3 ATS in past 10 at home in series.
Nov. 26 -- Bears (+7.5): Can't beat the NFL's oldest rivalry on Thanksgiving night. The Packers have played on Thanksgiving six times since the 2001 season, including every other year since 2007, but they have all been in the traditional early game at the Detroit Lions. It will mark the first time the Packers have hosted a game on Thanksgiving since 1923. To add some intrigue, Brett Favre's name and retired No. 4 will be officially unveiled on the north facade at Lambeau Field. Favre's number will be retired July 18 at a Packers Hall of Fame induction banquet, but he will be honored here at halftime. Favre will join Reggie White (No. 92), Bart Starr (No. 15), Ray Nitschke (No. 66), Don Hutson (No. 14) and Tony Canadeo (No. 3) on the facade. Key trend: Packers have covered only three of past 10 at home as a favorite of at least 7.5 vs. Bears.
Dec. 13 -- Cowboys (+4.5): Packers get a few extra days to prepare for Dallas as they play on Thursday, Dec. 3, in Detroit. Of course, Green Bay beat visiting Dallas 26-21 in the divisional round of the playoffs on the controversial Dez Bryant non-TD catch. Rodgers threw for 316 yards and three touchdowns on that gimpy calf and extended his record string without a home interception to 442 attempts. Key trend: Packers are 5-5 ATS in past 10 at home vs. NFC East.
Jan. 3 -- Vikings (TBD): As I will note in all stories where Week 17 is involved, you won't see odds on these because too many intangibles could be at play on the final Sunday of the season. Green Bay had no trouble against visiting Minnesota last season in Week 5, a 42-10 rout. It was 28-0 at halftime on a Thursday night, and that was that. The Vikings didn't have Adrian Peterson then. Will they here? Key trend: "Over/under" has gone over in six of Packers' past seven at home in this series.
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Read more articles by Alan Matthews
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