Packers open 2015 season with Bears, Seahawks
The Green Bay Packers will have no shortage of intriguing matchups when they open the 2015 season.
The Packers open with a road trip to Soldier Field to face their NFC North rival Chicago Bears. It will be the second straight year the Packers make a September trip to Chicago, and the fourth time since 2010. They only played four September games in Chicago from 1924 to 2009.
It will also be the first game for new Bears coach John Fox, presenting a challenge for Packers coach Mike McCarthy.
"Going to Chicago is always a big game," McCarthy said in a statement released through the Packers. "Doing it Week 1 with a new (Bears) coaching staff brings some extra challenges, but we're looking forward to starting off with the oldest rivalry in the National Football League."
You can view the Packers' entire 2015 schedule here:
The Packers' home opener will be a rematch of the NFC title game against the Seattle Seahawks. From the Fail Mary to the collapse last January, Seattle has been a heartbreaking location for Green Bay.
Finally, the Packers will get the Seahawks inside Lambeau Field for the first time since 2009.
Perhaps the Packers' most grueling stretch of the season will start in late November. Green Bay will play three games in 12 days, starting Nov. 22 at Minnesota, then hosting the Bears on Thanksgiving night (Nov. 26) and traveling to the Detroit Lions on Dec. 3.
Most of the Packers' divisional schedule will be played on consecutive weeks. They will play divisional opponents four straight games, starting with Nov. 15 with a home game against Detroit. It's similar to last season when the Packers played three divisional games in 12 days from Weeks 3 to 5.
"November-December football is so important, and it's so critical to your success," McCarthy said. "Division games are clearly the most important games of the year and the toughest games to play in. Four straight will definitely be a challenging part of our schedule."
Four of the Packers' first six games will be played at Lambeau Field. Their lone road trips through the season's first six weeks will come in the opener and Oct. 4 at the San Francisco 49ers.
The bye week will follow in Week 7.
The Packers will close the season with three of their final five games on the road, including trips to Oakland on Dec. 20 and Arizona on Dec. 27. There's likely to be only two cold-weather games this season: Dec. 13 against Dallas and January 3 against Minnesota. Both are at Lambeau Field.
The marquee game on the schedule will come Thanksgiving night against the Bears. It will be the Packers' first Thanksgiving home game since 1923, when they beat the Hammond Pros 19-0. They're expected to have a special guest that evening.
Three sources told Press-Gazette Media the Packers are planning to unveil Brett Favre's No. 4 on the façade at Lambeau Field in a ceremony on Thanksgiving night. The Packers did not confirm Favre's appearance.
"I think it's great," McCarthy said of the Thanksgiving game, "and it will be great for our fans, the first time we've had a Thanksgiving night game here at Lambeau Field. I think it will definitely be a special night."
The Packers will play five primetime games, starting Sept. 20 with the Sunday night matchup against the Seahawks. Green Bay will also travel to the Denver Broncos in an elite quarterback matchup between Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning on Nov. 1, which will be a Sunday night game.
Green Bay will play consecutive Thursday night games, with a trip to Detroit coming the week after Thanksgiving.
"That's a tough stretch going into a short week and coming back on a seven-day week," McCarthy said, "and they're both division games, too."
The Packers' lone Monday night appearance will come Sept. 28 against the Kansas City Chiefs in what will be one of two gold package games. The second gold package game will be Nov. 15 against the Lions.
"With the type of football team we had last year, we expected to come out of the gate and play in a number of feature games," McCarthy said of the early primetime games at Lambeau Field. "That's a great start."