The Green Bay Packers will open their 2014 regular season on the road against the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks on Thursday, Sept. 4.
The NFL announced the complete regular-season schedule on Wednesday evening, and the Packers face a stiff opening test against the Seahawks, who are nearly unbeatable at home with a 17-1 record over the past two years.
“It’s a tremendous opportunity for our football team," said Packers coach Mike McCarthy in a statement released by the team. "We have experience playing in the kickoff opener three years ago, and we will draw on that. Obviously, being the visiting team this time presents new challenges. It will help sharpen our focus even more during training camp and the preseason.”
Just five of the Packers’ 16 opponents qualified for the playoffs last season, with 2013 division winners Philadelphia, Carolina and New England coming to Lambeau Field, and the Packers traveling to play at Seattle and New Orleans.
The Packers have their bye near the middle of the season during Week 9, which falls on Nov. 2.
“Ideally, that’s how you draw it up," said McCarthy. "It will be a great time to re-evaluate and re-charge heading into November and December football.”
The Packers play a total of five night games. Besides the Thursday night opener, the Packers host Minnesota on Thursday, Oct. 2, and play a Monday night game against Atlanta on Dec. 8 at Lambeau. The Packers also play two Sunday night games, at New Orleans on Oct. 26 and home against Chicago on Nov. 9.
“It’s an honor," said McCarthy of playing so many prime-time games. "I know our fans around the world always appreciate the chance to watch us on national TV. Playing under the lights always adds to the atmosphere at Lambeau Field, and on the road.”
The Packers will play three of their first four games and five of their first eight on the road. They make up for that with a six-week stretch starting in November when they only play one game on the road.
“That’s a potential plus, but we have to be in position to take advantage of it," said McCarthy. "That will be the third quarter of our season and it will be important to make the most of playing at home during that stretch.”
The gold-package home games for Milwaukee ticket holders are against the Vikings on Thursday, Oct. 2, and the Eagles on Nov. 16.
The Packers have the 13th toughest schedule, with their opponents owning a .504 winning percentage based on 2013 records.
Here is the Packers' 2014 schedule:
Sat., Aug. 9: at Tennessee, 7 p.m.
Sat., Aug. 16: at St. Louis, 3 p.m.
Fri., Aug. 22: Oakland, 7 p.m.
Thu., Aug. 28: Kansas City, 6 p.m.
Thurs., Sept. 4: at Seattle, 7:30 p.m.
Sun., Sept. 14: New York Jets, 3:25 p.m.
Sun., Sept. 21: at Detroit, noon
Sun., Sept. 28: at Chicago, noon
Thurs, Oct. 2: Minnesota, 7:25 p.m.
Sun., Oct. 12: at Miami, noon
Sun., Oct. 19: Carolina, noon
Sun Oct. 26: at New Orleans, 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 2: Bye week
Sun., Nov. 9: Chicago, 7:30 p.m.
Sun., Nov. 16: Philadelphia, noon
Sun., Nov. 23: at Minnesota, noon
Sun, Nov. 30: New England, 3:25 p.m.
Mon., Dec. 8: Atlanta, 7:30 p.m.
Sun., Dec. 14: at Buffalo, noon
Sun., Dec. 21: at Tampa Bay, noon
Sun., Dec. 28: Detroit, noon