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By CHRIS HAVEL
Las Vegas has over/under at 11
In all the excitement of the NFL Draft, Brett Favre’s Packers homecoming and the new PAT rule, Green Bay’s 2015 schedule was a bit overlooked in the shuffle.
Here are my fearless predictions for the Packers this season:
Sunday, Sept. 13 @ Chicago
This noon NFC North game at Soldier Field is the perfect season-opening opponent. The Bears have a first-year head coach in John Fox, who is a radical upgrade from Marc Trestman. That’s the good news. The bad news is Trestman left a mess that still begs the question: What to do about quarterback Jay Cutler?
Packers win this one going away.
Sunday, Sept. 20 Seattle @ Green Bay
This Sunday night rematch of the NFC Championship should be a dandy. The Seahawks are the Packers’ kryptonite, or so it seems. That should change with a new venue, an ascending defense and a new attitude on special teams.
Still, the Seahawks are NFC Champs until someone knocks them out. I think the Packers take care of business in a 27-17 victory that’s closer than the final score might suggest.
Monday, Sept. 28 Kansas City @ Green Bay
Chiefs’ head coach Andy Reid and GM John Dorsey are among the NFL’s best. It will be interesting to see how far they’ve come in their program. I think the Chiefs pull off the home upset and Green Bay goes to 2-1.
Sunday, Oct. 4 @ San Francisco
The 49ers aren’t what they used to be even a year ago. The Packers should exact a fair amount of revenge.
Sunday, Oct. 11 St. Louis @ Green Bay
The Rams are an ascending team in the NFC coming off a productive off-season. Still, the Packers’ high-powered offense should prevail against a pesky Rams team.
Sunday, Oct. 18 San Diego @ Green Bay
Will Philip Rivers be the Chargers’ quarterback? Yes. Will the Chargers be able to come to Green Bay and get a road victory? No.
Sunday, Nov. 1 @ Denver
The Mile High City on Sunday Night Football against John Elway’s team. It doesn’t get much better than that. This should atone for the Monday night loss at Kansas City in what could be a scoreboard explosion.
Sunday, Nov. 8 @ Carolina
The Panthers added Devin Funchess to catch passes opposite Kelvin Benjamin. Cam Newton should like his new weaponry, and he could give the Packers problems. Ultimately, though, the Packers have been good against the Panthers. The Packers should be 7-1 at the midpoint.
Sunday, Nov. 15 Detroit @ Green Bay
The Packers’ defense should be hitting its stride at this stage and the special teams, under head coach Mike McCarthy’s watchful eye, should be more help than hindrance.
Sunday, Nov. 22 @ Minnesota
Upset special right here! The Vikings’ defense is better than most fans think and QB Teddy Bridgewater is going to be a good one. If the Packers aren’t careful they could find themselves 8-2 by day’s end.
Thursday, Nov. 26 Chicago @ Green Bay
Happy Thanksgiving to Favre and the Packers. The celebration will include Favre’s No. 4 going up on the stadium’s façade, and it will end with a Packers’ rout.
Thursday, Dec. 3 @ Detroit
The back-to-back Thursday games are strange at this point of the season, and the Lions are always pesky there. The concern here is that the Lions will be playing for their playoff existence. I’m seeing an upset here. The Packers fall to 9-3.
Sunday, Dec. 13 Dallas @ Green Bay
The Cowboys might be offering a preview of the NFC Championship game with this matchup. Look for the Packers to defend home turf. The winner of this game probably ends up hosting the NFC title game.
Sunday, Dec. 20 @ Oakland
The Raiders are trying to refurbish under GM Reggie McKenzie but it’s been an uphill struggle. QB Derek Carr is someone to build around, but I don’t see the Packers stumbling in the Black Hole.
Sunday, Dec. 27 @ Arizona
The Cardinals will be a handful if QB Carson Palmer is still standing upright and playing. The Packers might have some matchup issues with Arizona and this could be a loss.
Sunday, Jan. 3 Minnesota @ Green Bay
There’s nothing like closing out a 13-3 season with a sweet revenge victory over the Vikings.
There you have it.
The Packers, at 13-3, will host the Cowboys in the NFC title game.
Really, the most difficult question is this: Who will represent the AFC in Super Bowl 50?
Chris Havel is a national best-selling author and his latest book is Lombardi: An Illustrated Life. Havel can be heard Monday through Friday from 4-6 p.m. CDT on WDUZ FM 107.5 The Fan, or on AM-1400, as well as Fan Internet Radio (www.thefan1075.com). Havel also hosts Event USA’ MVP Parties the evening before home games.