The NFL released the 2009 schedule on Tuesday and the Green Bay Packers will make five national television appearances. In addition to the Sunday night opener on September 13th against the Bears and the Thanksgiving Day game at Detroit, the Packers will play at Minnesota on Monday, Oct. 5. They'll host Dallas in a 3:15 kickoff on Sunday, November 15 at Lambeau Field. Green Bay will host Baltimore on Monday, December 7 at Lambeau Field and close out the schedule at Arizona on Sunday, January 3 with a 3:15pm kickoff.
The Packers won't see a playoff team until they face the Vikings in week 4. The first three games could give the Packers a chance to start quickly with home games to start against Chicago and Cincinnati and a road game in week 3 at St. Louis.
The Packers get an early bye week this season. Green Bay gets its week off after 4-games (Sunday, Oct. 11) following the Monday night game at Minnesota. Despite the early week off though, the Packers will get another stretch of time off following the Thanksgiving Day game at Detroit. The Packers won't play following that game for another 11 days, and it's a home game against Baltimore on Monday night, Dec. 7.
The Packers play 4 of the last 5 games in cold weather, which is where the Packers have struggled the past couple of seasons. They also play 3 of their last four on the road, at Chicago, at Pittsburgh and at Arizona. The lone home game in that stretch is Sunday, Dec. 27 against Seattle at Lambeau Field.
The Sept. 13th home opener against the Bears will be the 178th meeting between the two long time rivals. Chicago owns a 90-80-6 advantage in the all-time series. It'll mark the 21st time that the two teams will kickoff an NFL season against one another.
Based on opponents' 2008 records, Green Bay has the third-easiest schedule (109-146-1, .427) in the NFL. The only two clubs whose schedule ranks easier than the Packers are Minnesota and Chicago.
The schedule also features a late season return for Mike McCarthy to the city where he grew up. the Packers will face the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Steel City on Sunday, December 20th (12:00 kickoff).
(Photo: Packers President & CEO Mark Murphy discusses 2009 Schedule)