Packers '12: Home vs. Saints, 49ers

We take a look ahead to next year's schedule as well as an early glimpse at the first-round draft order.

Outside of the Week 1 game against New Orleans, the Packers' 2011 home schedule wasn't exactly filled with marquee matchups.

That, on paper, anyway, will change, with the NFC's two other regular-season juggernauts coming to Green Bay.

Along with a home-and-home series against NFC North rivals Detroit (10-6), Chicago (8-8) and Minnesota (3-13), Green Bay will host San Francisco (13-3), New Orleans (13-3), Tennessee (9-7) Arizona (8-8) and Jacksonville (5-11). That's a cumulative record of 69-59, good for a winning percentage of .539.

On the road, the Packers will visit Houston (10-6), the New York Giants (9-7), Seattle (7-9), St. Louis (2-14) and Indianapolis (2-14). Including the Lions, Bears and Vikings, their eight road foes turned in a record of 51-77, a .398 winning percentage.

In all, the combined record of the Packers' 16 opponents will be 120-136, a .477 winning percentage. The Packers' 2011 foes combined for 117-139, .457 winning percentage.

In terms of playoff teams, the Packers will face the Lions (twice), 49ers, Saints, Texans and Giants. That's a total of six games, including four division champions. The 2011 team played six games against playoff teams and three against division champions, with the Lions (twice), Saints, Broncos, Falcons and Giants.

Under the collective bargaining agreement, the league continued its schedule rotation. After facing the surprisingly bad NFC East and the subpar AFC West in 2011, the Packers are facing the top-heavy NFC West and mediocre AFC South. The NFC West teams went a combined 30-34 (with San Francisco being the only winning team at 13-3) while the AFC South had a league-worst mark of 26-38.

The NFC North, by the way, went 36-28, one game behind the AFC North's league-best 37-27. The AFC North sent Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati to the playoffs.

The NFL will release dates and times for the games in March or April.

Draft dodging

The Packers' best draft positiion would be 28th, though that would require a loss in the divisional round of the playoffs.

The following is the draft order for the 20 nonplayoff teams. The rest of the sequence will be determined during the playoffs. Spots 21 through 24 will be the four teams that lose on wild-card weekened, with No. 21 going to the team with the worst record, No. 22 to the team with the next-worst record, and so on. Teams 25 through 28 will be the teams that lose in the divisional round. Thus, the best draft pick the Packers could obtain would be No. 28. They'd draft 30th if they were to lose in the conference championship game, 31st as the Super Bowl loser and 32nd as Super Bowl champion.

1. Indianapolis Colts, 2-14

2. St. Louis Rams, 2-14

3. Minnesota Vikings, 3-13

4. Cleveland Browns, 4-12

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 4-12

6. Washington Redskins, 5-11

7. Jacksonville Jaguars, 5-11

8. Carolina Panthers, 6-10

9. Miami Dolphins, 6-10

10. Buffalo Bills, 6-10

11. Seattle Seahawks, 7-9*

12. Kansas City Chiefs, 7-9*

13. Arizona Cardinals, 8-8

14. Dallas Cowboys, 8-8

15. Philadelphia Eagles, 8-8

16. New York Jets, 8-8

17. Cincinnati Bengals (from Oakland Raiders, 8-8)

18. San Diego Chargers, 8-8

19. Chicago Bears, 8-8

20. Tennessee Titans, 9-7

*Will be determined by coin flip


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.

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