The Green Bay Packers will get another shot at one of their biggest barriers to the Super Bowl when they open the 2013 season at the San Francisco 49ers.
“Opening day is always exciting. Playing the San Francisco 49ers is obviously a challenge that we look forward to,” coach Mike McCarthy said in quotes distributed by the team.
The NFL announced the upcoming schedule on Thursday night. For Green Bay, it’s highlighted by a Week 4 bye, four primetime games and a Thanksgiving matchup at Detroit.
Here’s the schedule, with some notes below:
PACKERS 2013 SCHEDULE
Sun., Sept. 8
at San Francisco 49ers
Sun., Sept. 15
Sun., Sept. 22
at Cincinnati Bengals
Sun., Sept. 29
Sun., Oct. 6
DETROIT LIONS (Gold Pkg.)
Sun., Oct. 13
at Baltimore Ravens
Sun., Oct. 20
Sun., Oct. 27
at Minnesota Vikings
Mon., Nov. 4
Sun., Nov. 10
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (Gold Pkg.)
Sun., Nov. 17
at New York Giants
Sun., Nov. 24
Thu., Nov. 28
at Detroit Lions
Sun., Dec. 8
Sun., Dec. 15
at Dallas Cowboys
Sun., Dec. 22
Sun., Dec. 29
at Chicago Bears
— The Packers have seven games against playoff teams: Atlanta, Minnesota and Washington will visit Lambeau Field and Green Bay will travel to Baltimore, Cincinnati, Minnesota and San Francisco. And that doesn’t include a home game against Pittsburgh and a road game against the New York Giants. The Ravens (2012), Giants (2011), Steelers (2008), Giants (2007) and Steelers (2005) have combined to win five of the last eight Super Bowls.
— The eight teams visiting Lambeau combined for a 64-64 record, a .500 winning percentage. The road opponents combined for 72-55-1, or .566.
— The Packers have back-to-back primetime games and three in four weeks: at Minnesota in Week 8, home against Chicago in Week 9 and at New York Giants in Week 11. After a noon game at home against Minnesota in Week 12, the Packers play at Detroit on Thanksgiving in Week 13 and another primetime game at home against Atlanta in Week 14.
— The Packers play the Lions on Thanksgiving for the fourth time in seven seasons. They are 3-0 under McCarthy.
“It’s an incredible tradition, playing on Thanksgiving Day,” McCarthy said. “It’s a blessing for everyone involved. We’re fortunate enough to still be home in time to share in the importance of the day.”
Playing on Thanksgiving gives the Packers a mini-bye entering their final four games of the season, which should be an asset considering their early bye.
— For the first time since entering the NFL in 1921, the Packers do not have back-to-back road games all season.
“I like it. It gives you a chance to get into a routine of playing at home and then on the road, to get into a flow,” McCarthy said. “Winning on the road is so important.”
—After playing four of their five December games against NFC North foes last season, they play just one of their four December games this season against a division rival: Week 17 at Chicago.
— The Packers’ preseason schedule: home vs. Arizona on Friday, Aug. 9, at St. Louis on Saturday, Aug. 17, home vs. Seattle on Friday, Aug. 23, and at Kansas City on Thursday, Aug. 29. All games start at 7 p.m.; the game vs. Seattle will air on CBS with the others on the Packers’ preseason network.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.