Each Wednesday, Weston Hodkiewicz provides an inside look at the Green Bay Packers in his Walkthrough blog.
The Green Bay Packers’ 2016 schedule is coming into focus.
Fourteen of the Packers’ 16 regular-season games for next season have been determined through the usual assortment of NFC North matchups, the three-year rotational series against the NFC East and the four-year rotational series against the AFC South.
Outside of their usual six division games, the Packers are scheduled to host Dallas, the New York Giants, Houston and Indianapolis and travel to face Philadelphia, Washington, Jacksonville and Tennessee.
The final two intraconference games – one home, one away – are competed against the same-conference divisions the Packers aren’t scheduled to play that season. Those opponents will be decided by the outcome of Sunday’s NFC title game with the Minnesota Vikings.
If the Packers win the division, they’ll host NFC West champion Arizona and travel to NFC South champion Carolina next year. If the Packers lose and finish second in the North, they’ll host West runner-up Seattle and travel to South runner-up Atlanta next season.
The NFL’s realignment in 2002 resulted in eight divisions with four teams and introduced a scheduling formula that guarantees that all teams play each other on a regular, rotating basis. It consists of a three-year rotation against divisions in your conference with four-year intervals against the other conference.
So far, it looks like a favorable slate with the 2016 opponents combining for a 91-119 record (47-58 home opponents, 44-61 away opponents), though those numbers could take a big swing if Carolina (14-1) and Arizona (13-2) wind up on the schedule.
A few more things…
-The Packers swept their NFC North opponents on the road this season, winning at Minnesota, Detroit and Chicago. According to Packers editor Stu Courtney’s research, it’s the ninth time they have beaten all three rivals on their home fields.
However, should the Packers lose Sunday to the Vikings at Lambeau Field, it would mark the first time in those nine seasons that they also failed to beat any of those three teams at home.
In the eight previous seasons the Packers swept those teams on the road -- 1961, ’64, ’66, ’67, ’72, 2004, 2006 and 2011 – never did they lose to all of them at home. The closest it came to happening was in 1967, when the Packers lost at home to the Vikings and were tied at home by the Lions.
Only three times have the Packers lost at home to all three teams: 1968, ’86 and ’91. In ’68, they responded by winning at Chicago and getting a tie at Detroit, but lost at Minnesota.
-The foot of snow that fell in Green Bay Monday night and Tuesday morning forced a new wave of Packers rookies to acclimate to the blustery conditions.
It spurred one comment on social media from sixth-round fullback Aaron Ripkowski, a native of Dayton, Texas, toward fifth-round quarterback Brett Hundley, who hails from Chandler, Ariz.
You don’t have to be a rookie to experience something new, however. Third-year defensive lineman/outside linebacker Datone Jones also had his own revelation.
-The Packers waived outside linebacker Jermauria Rasco off injured reserve Tuesday. The reason you may recognize that name is because the former LSU defensive end was one of 10 undrafted rookies to whom the organization gave $5,000 signing bonuses in May.
Rasco, who was making the conversion to outside linebacker, had seven tackles and a sack in four preseason games before injuring his shoulder in the finale against New Orleans on Sept. 3. Instead of reaching an injury settlement, he remained on the reserve list until Tuesday.
Rasco, 23, made a little less than $300,000 for his 16 weeks on injured reserve.
The reserve list now stands at six players: WR Jordy Nelson and Ty Montgomery, ILB Sam Barrington, DT Josh Boyd, LS Brett Goode and S Sean Richardson.
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