By Brian Foley Special to OnMilwaukee Published Apr 17, 2019 at 8:16 PM

The Wisconsin sports slate is loaded right now. The Bucks are kicking off what could be a lengthy postseason run, the Brewers are bopping homers right and left, the Hauser brothers could completely flip the local college hoops scene if they ultimately hop from Marquette to Wisconsin, and now the Packers 2019 schedule has been released ahead of the NFL draft in late April.

Take a look at Green Bay’s schedule below:

Some initial, over-arching reactions:

  • Despite missing the playoffs in consecutive seasons, the Packers still landed five primetime games, just one short of the six-game maximum for each team.

  • Toughest stretch: weeks 8-10, with back-to-back road games against the Chiefs and Chargers, followed up by a home contest with the Panthers. The Packers will at least be able to lick their wounds with a bye over Week 11.

  • Easiest stretch: weeks 13-14, with a pair of games against the NFC East bottom-feeding Giants and Redskins. The NFL can be a fickle beast from year to year, but it’s hard to imagine either squad cracking .500 in 2019.

Here is a detailed reaction to each game.

Week 1 at Chicago Bears

  • Thursday, Sept. 5 at 7:20 p.m. (Soldier Field)

Though the Bears put together their best season in over a decade, they still managed to bookend 2018 with gut-wrenching failures, notably surrendering a 20-3 week 1 lead at Lambeau Field to a hobbled Aaron Rodgers. The season-opening location has shifted 200 miles south to Chicago in 2019, as the Bears and Packers line up for their 197th meeting to celebrate the NFL’s 100th anniversary. Green Bay leads the all-time series 96-94-6.

Week 2 vs. Minnesota Vikings

  • Sunday, Sept. 15 at 12 p.m. (Lambeau Field)

Who are the Vikings in 2019? After being crowned a Super Bowl contender prior to the 2018 campaign, Kirk Cousins and company sputtered to an 8-7-1 record. Minnesota’s week 2 trip to Green Bay will also be just one day short of the one-year anniversary of last year’s wild overtime slap fight at Lambeau, when the two teams combined for crazy touchdowns, blown calls and a bevy of missed opportunities en route to a 29-29 tie.

Week 3 vs. Denver Broncos

  • Sunday, Sept. 22 at 12 p.m. (Lambeau Field)

Joe Flacco is in Denver now. The Packers are 5-0-1 all-time against Denver at home. The Broncos probably won’t be good this year. The Packers might be good. That’s pretty much all I have for one of the most non-descript games on the Packers’ 2019 slate.

Week 4 vs. Philadelphia Eagles

  • Thursday, Sept. 26 at 7:20 p.m. (Lambeau Field)

The now Nick Foles-less Eagles come to town in late September, though Carson Wentz should be primed for a big season another year removed from knee surgery. Roughly 11 of the 16 NFC teams have a reasonable chance to grab one of the six playoff spots, with Green Bay and Philly among them. A Packers win here on a short week will not only set the tone for a crucial road matchup with Dallas in Week 5, but could also be the differentiator in a tiebreaking situation at the end of the season.

Week 5 at Dallas Cowboys

  • Sunday, Oct. 6 at 3:25 p.m. (AT&T Stadium)

Essentially everything written about the Eagles game above applies to Dallas here as the Packers and ‘Boys could be fighting for the same Wild Card spot in December. The Packers’ last two trips to Jerry World have also been instant thrillers, with Rodgers’ late-game masterpieces leading to nail-biting wins for Green Bay.

Week 6 vs. Detroit Lions

  • Monday, Oct. 14 at 7:15 p.m. (Lambeau Field)

After 24 straight home victories against the Lions from 1992-2014, Detroit has now left Lambeau with a victory in hand three times in its past four trips. And after last season’s 31-0 drubbing to close out the year, the Lions have now won four straight against the Packers for the first time since the early 1980s. Detroit has been the NFC North’s little brother for decades, but it’s high-time the Packers re-establish the upper-hand in the rivalry.

Week 7 vs. Oakland Raiders

  • Sunday, Oct. 20 at 12 p.m. (Lambeau Field)

What could have been. Week 8 would have been the Jordy Nelson parade throughout Titletown had he not retired this past offseason following one season with the silver and black. Still, even though this game has lost a bit of its zip, the seemingly combustible Antonio Brown-Jon Gruden pairing should be coming to a head around this point in the season. The potential for sideline fireworks is reason enough to tune in for this one.

Week 8 at Kansas City Chiefs

  • Sunday, Oct. 27 at 7:20 p.m. (Arrowhead Stadium)

Probably one of the five must-watch games of the season for any NFL fan. Patrick Mahomes, the 50-touchdown, 5,000-yard machine who draws weekly comparisons to Rodgers, going up against no. 12 himself at Arrowhead, one of the few stadiums that can even hold a candle to Lambeau’s atmosphere. The two premier gunslingers attacking historically weak defenses? Yes, please.

Week 9 at Los Angeles Chargers

  • Sunday, Nov. 3 at 3:25 p.m. (Dignity Health Sports Park)

The schedule says this is a road game, but Dignity Health Sports Park will undoubtedly be speckled with West Coast green and gold fans. The Packers are 10-1 all-time against the Bolts.

Week 10 vs. Carolina Panthers

  • Sunday, Nov. 3 at 12 p.m. (Lambeau Field)

Two teams with high-priced quarterbacks looking to return to the playoffs. The Panthers and Packers are two of the highest variable teams in the league; it wouldn’t be altogether surprising to see Carolina and Green Bay in the NFC Championship game or simultaneously slipping into irrelevance for the second straight season.

Week 11: Bye

Week 12 at San Francisco 49ers

  • Sunday, Nov. 24 at 3:25 p.m. (Levi’s Stadium)

The Niners are not the usual run-of-the-mill four-win team, as they will be boosted by the return of handsomely paid (and handsomely handsome) quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and running back Jerick McKinnon, as well as a top-two draft pick and a host of intriguing free agent additions. The San Fran hype train has slowed after last season’s disappointing campaign, but Kyle Shanahan’s squad is a dark horse candidate to crash the playoff party in 2019.

Week 13 at New York Giants

  • Sunday, Dec. 1 at 12 p.m. (MetLife Stadium)

Who knows what the Giants will look like by December. Will Eli Manning still be under center? Will general manager Dave Gettleman ship off anymore high-level players in order to emphasize his outdated strategy? How many more touches can Saquon Barkley get before he turns into dust? This – along with games against Washington, Oakland and Denver – is an absolute must-win for the Packers

Week 14 vs. Washington Redskins

  • Sunday, Dec. 8 at 12 p.m. (Lambeau Field)

After meeting every three years in the traditional inter-divisional matchup for the majority of the 21st century, the Packers and Redskins will now play each other for the fourth time in four years. Green Bay took the first of those matchups with a 2016 playoff win in Washington, but the ‘Skins have captured the past two by a combined 32 points.

The Redskins are one of the league’s biggest mysteries right now, as Alex Smith’s gruesome leg injury has launched them into quarterback hell; Jay Gruden’s squad already traded for Denver’s Case Keenum, has been linked to Arizona’s Josh Rosen and could still trade up in the draft for one of several rookie signal-callers. The Packers haven’t lost three straight games against Washington since the 1970s; it would be an unmitigated disaster if Green Bay came up short against the ‘Skins again.

Week 15 vs. Chicago Bears

  • Sunday, Dec. 15 at 12 p.m. (Lambeau Field)

The Bears return trip to Green Bay marks the Packers final home game of the regular season, and though it means the green and gold may have to battle for playoff position in enemy territory to close out the year, it also means Lambeau’s finest will avoid the brutal Wisconsin temperatures that typically accompany the end of the season.

Week 16 at Minnesota Vikings

  • Monday, Dec. 23 at 7:15 p.m. (U.S. Bank Stadium)

I am an absolute sucker for the Vikings’ slick purple uniforms against the background of a Skol chant during a night game at U.S. Bank Stadium, so sign me up for this one that could also play a big part in deciding the NFC North race.

Week 17 at Detroit Lions

  • Sunday, Dec. 29 at 12 p.m. (Ford Field)

The Packers close the season with three straight intra-division contests, though a Matt LaFleur-led offense should theoretically spark some new looks that Green Bay’s NFC North rivals have yet to see repeatedly. It remains to be seen if this game will even have any meaning; last year’s Detroit-Green Bay finale was an absolute beatdown, made even worse as Rodgers was forced to leave the game early with a concussion. The Packers have not missed the postseason in three straight seasons since doing so from 1983-92.

Brian Foley Special to OnMilwaukee
Brian Foley is a Maryland native, but has quickly established roots in Milwaukee after graduating from Marquette University in May 2017 with a bachelor's degree in digital media. He has interned for several media organizations in the area, including TMJ4-TV, WTMJ Newsradio and ESPN Milwaukee, and continues to contribute to FanSided's national network of sites.

When Brian's not writing about sports, he is probably prattling on about Marquette hoops, digging through statistics, or re-binging his favorite television series. Any conversation that begins with a quote from "The Office" or "West Wing" is a surefire way to grab his attention.