2018 Green Bay Packers Road Schedule Odds with Expert Picks and Predictions
This is a bit like comparing apples and oranges, but while Tom Brady might be the best quarterback in NFL history, I'm not sure he has been the most important player to his team in the NFL for the past decade or so. That is Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers.
Now, I grant you that my logic might be flawed here, but let me explain. The only season in which Brady missed significant time was 2008 when he suffered a season-ending Week 1 injury against Kansas City. While the Patriots did miss the playoffs, that was a fluke because they still won 11 games - It's almost unheard of for a club to win that many and not make it.
The Packers have been the Patriots of the NFC since 2009. Green Bay made the playoffs every year since except in 2017. Why not last year? Because Rodgers broke his collarbone in a Week 6 loss at Minnesota. He returned in Week 15 but wasn't quite the same in a loss at Carolina and then the Pack shut him down because their playoff hopes vanished with that loss. The team's 7-9 record was its worse since Rodgers' first full season as Brett Favre's replacement in 2008.
It was also the team's worst mark since 2013 when it was 8-7-1. What happened that year? Rodgers broke his collarbone in a Week 9 loss to the Bears. He was able to return for a Week 17 NFC North winner-take-all game in Chicago and led the Packers to a come-from-behind victory.
So, Green Bay has won a total of 15 games the two seasons that Rodgers missed a chunk of. The Patriots won 11 the one Brady did. Obviously, there are a lot of factors here. My point in saying Rodgers is more important than Brady is that Brady has had a better overall team pretty much every year the past decade - not to mention perhaps the greatest coach in NFL history. Rodgers has generally done just as much as Brady, in the regular season anyway, with less. Sadly, we've never seen a Rodgers-Brady Super Bowl and probably never will if it doesn't happen this season. In fact, this regular season probably is their last meeting.
The Packers were 3-5 on the road last year, 4-4 against the spread and 7-1 "over/under." Green Bay travels to three playoff teams from 2017: LA Rams, New England and Minnesota - part of perhaps the toughest four-game road stretch in the NFL. The away schedule appears to dwarf the home one in terms of toughness. I project a 4-4 road mark. Odds listed for the home team.
Sept. 23 at Redskins (+3): Guessing the Pack will be 2-0 after opening home vs. Chicago and Minnesota (that's no sure win). Including playoffs, it's the third game between the two in the last four seasons, with all three in Washington. Pack lost there in Week 11 of 2016, 42-24. Key trend: Packers 6-4 ATS in past 10 at NFC East teams.
Oct. 7 at Lions (+1): The Packers are 8-4 at Detroit under Mike McCarthy, including wins in two of the last three games. They closed the season there the past two years and lost a meaningless one in 2017, 35-11, with Brett Hundley under center. He's now battling DeShone Kizer to be Rodgers' backup. Key trend: Packers have won and covered four straight as road favorite in series.
Oct. 28 at Rams (-3): Green Bay out of its bye week for a potential NFC title game preview. The Packers have outscored the Rams 147-64 in winning the past five meetings. Those were all against the St. Louis Rams. It's the first time Green Bay plays at the L.A. Rams since 1991 in Anaheim. Key trend: Packers 6-2-2 ATS in past 10 out of bye (any location).
Nov. 4 at Patriots (-6): Sunday night. Yikes! That high-powered Rams offense and then Brady? Per usual, Rodgers and Brady are the NFL MVP favorites entering the season. These teams have split the past two regular-season meetings, the home side winning close in each. Key trend: Packers 4-5-1 ATS in past 10 as road dog anywhere of at least 6 points.
Nov. 15 at Seahawks (+1): Thursday night. Seattle might be down a bit, but Rams, Patriots, Seahawks and Vikings on the road consecutively? That's murderous. Plus, that 12 th Man crowd in Seattle is even louder at night. Green Bay has won three straight over the Seahawks, including 17-9 in Week 1 last season. Rodgers threw for 311 yards and a score. Key trend: Packers 3-2-1 ATS in Seattle during regular season.
Nov. 25 at Vikings (-3): Sunday night. The schedule gets much, much easier after this. If Green Bay is no worse than 6-5 following this game it should be playoff bound barring injury to Rodgers. The Packers have yet to win in Minneapolis since U.S. Bank Stadium opened in 2016. The Pack have won their past three November trips to Minnesota, though (last in 2015). Key trend: Packers 7-3 ATS in past 10 as road dog in series (only once this decade).
Dec. 16 at Bears (+3): Green Bay has scored at least 30 points at Chicago in four of the last five meetings. Just not last year as the Pack won 23-16 on Nov. 12. That was their first win of the season without Rodgers. Hundley had a solid game, throwing for 212 yards and a TD with no picks. Key trend: Packers 7-3 ATS in past 10 as road favorite in series.
Dec. 23 at Jets (+6): Little doubt in my mind that Jets rookie QB Sam Darnold will be starting by this point. The Packers have won two straight over the Jets, including their last road game, a 9-0 victory in 2010. Key trend: Packers 5-5 ATS in past 10 as road favorite of at least 6 points.
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