As Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur said in a press conference on Monday, “You look too far ahead in this league, you get your ass whipped.”
Luckily, I’m not part of the organization, so I am going to look ahead.
After the big 14-12 win last Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Packers now set their sights on the upcoming stretch of games in October. In these next four games, they will most likely be favored by at least a touchdown, if not more.
The Packers return home for a week 4 matchup with the New England Patriots who are most likely without starting quarterback Mac Jones, who is dealing with a high ankle sprain. With backup Brian Hoyer the probable starter, many will expect a Packers win in that matchup.
The next three opponents are arguably three of the worst rosters currently in the NFL. Green Bay heads across the pond to London to face the New York Giants, albeit they are 2-1 to start the year. The Packers then return home in week 6 to face the New York Jets.
After those two games that many will see as layups, the Packers travel to Landover, MD for a week 7 contest against the Washington Commanders. With the injuries the Commanders are dealing with along with Carson Wentz being their quarterback, the Packers will once again be a convincing betting favorite.
Doing the math, taking care of business against a team with a backup quarterback and three mediocre-at-best opponents would put the Packers at 6-1 heading into a possible game-of-the-year candidate against the Buffalo Bills. With how competitive the NFC is and with only one bye, picking up wins early in the year is ever so important.
Like LaFleur said, this will require the Packers taking it one game at a time while staying healthy in the process. Getting superstar left tackle David Bakhtiari back is a major plus for the Pack, but cornerback Jaire Alexander left the game on the first drive with a groin injury.
Green Bay will also hope to get some of its receivers back to 100% as well. Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb played through illnesses while Christian Watson missed the game outright with a hamstring injury.
While the Packers will be picked by most pundits each week to win, no game in the NFL is a given. We’ve seen many upsets already this year, including the Jets beating the Browns, the Bears beating the 49ers, and many more. Green Bay simply can’t show up and receive a win, they’ll have to earn it each week.
If everything goes well and they are 6-1 going into their trip to Buffalo, they will set themselves up to be in contention for the top seed in the NFC. Having the head-to-head tiebreaker over TB will also go a long way at season’s end. But for now, they can only focus on who’s in front of them. For now, that’s Axel Brian Hoyer and the Patriots. A win on Sunday combined with wins the next three weeks put the Packers right where they want to be.