Packers' road schedule looks tough with coast-to-coast trips

The Packers need a healthy Aaron Rodgers to navigate a challenging regular-season schedule. AP Photo/Roger Steinman

The NFL has released its 2018 regular-season schedule. Here's a look at what's in store for the Green Bay Packers:

Breakdown: The Green Bay Packers had better handle their business at home -- and early -- this season because the road and the middle part of the schedule looks awfully difficult. After three of the first four games at home, things get much tougher. Following the Week 7 bye, the Packers have back-to-back road games on different coasts -- going to the Rams one week and to the Patriots the next. That’s the start of a stretch that features four road games in five weeks, including a short-week trip to the Seahawks for a Thursday night game followed by perhaps their toughest NFC North game of the season at Minnesota. At least things get more manageable at the end, when they play three December home games in a five-week stretch.

Early NFC North tests: There’s a chance to set the tone in the division with a pair of home games against the Bears and Vikings to start the season. A 2-0 start would force the rest of the division to play catch-up. What’s more, three of the first four games are at home. It’s the second straight season that’s happened. Last year, the Packers won those three home games -- and lost at Atlanta -- on the way to a 3-1 start. Coach Mike McCarthy likes to divide the season into quarters, and this gives him a chance to win the first quarter of the season. The Packers will be done with the first go-around of division games after their Week 5 game at Detroit.

December weather: Last season, the Packers played just one home game in what would be considered winter weather -- a 10-degree night against the Vikings on Dec. 23. Their other December home game was 42 degrees against Tampa Bay. This season, they could play cold-weather games in the final five weeks with December home games against Arizona, Atlanta and Detroit plus road games in potential cold weather at Chicago and in New Jersey against the Jets.

Strength of schedule: 1st, .539

Packers' regular-season schedule (all times Eastern)

  • Week 1: Sunday, Sept. 9, Chicago, 8:20 p.m.

  • Week 2: Sunday, Sept. 16, Minnesota, 1 p.m.

  • Week 3: Sunday, Sept. 23, at Washington, 1 p.m.

  • Week 4: Sunday, Sep. 30, Buffalo, 1 p.m.

  • Week 5: Sunday, Oct. 7, at Detroit, 1 p.m.

  • Week 6: Monday, Oct. 15, San Francisco, 8:15 p.m.

  • Week 7: Bye

  • Week 8: Sunday, Oct. 28, at Los Angeles Rams, 4:25 p.m.

  • Week 9: Sunday, Nov. 4, at New England, 8:20 p.m.

  • Week 10: Sunday, Nov. 11, Miami, 1 p.m.

  • Week 11: Thursday, Nov. 15, at Seattle, 8:20 p.m.

  • Week 12: Sunday, Nov. 25, at Minnesota, 8:20 p.m.

  • Week 13: Sunday, Dec. 2, Arizona, 1 p.m.

  • Week 14: Sunday, Dec. 9, Atlanta, 1 p.m.

  • Week 15: Sunday, Dec. 16, at Chicago, 1 p.m.

  • Week 16: Sunday, Dec. 23, at NY Jets, 1 p.m.

  • Week 17: Sunday, Dec. 30, Detroit, 1 p.m.