Categorizing opposing quarterbacks on Packers 2023 regular season schedule

Which quarterbacks are on the Green Bay Packers’ 2023 schedule?

It’s increasingly important to know given the team’s own transition at quarterback (Aaron Rodgers to Jordan Love) and the roster’s continued addition of first-round draft capital on defense (13th overall pick Lukas Van Ness).

The quality of any NFL defense is in its ability to combat the game’s best quarterbacks. Getting to the Super Bowl requires beating the top passers. The Packers hope the defense can help Love and Matt LaFleur navigate what could be an up and down season on offense.

The regular season will provide tests for Joe Barry’s group. Here’s a look a the quarterbacks on the Packers’ schedule in 2023, categorized by three different tiers: likely MVP candidates, experienced veterans and young guns.

Likely MVP candidates (2 games)

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Week 11: Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers
Week 13: Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs

These are the biggest games on the schedule because beating elite quarterbacks is arguably the most difficult thing to do in the sport. Going to Los Angeles in November means facing Herbert, an up-and-coming superstar who leads a talented Chargers team. It will be the first-ever matchup between Herbert and the Packers. Mahomes is a two-time NFL MVP and two-time Super Bowl MVP, but the Packers will welcome him to Green Bay. Joe Barry’s defense played Mahomes well in Kansas City in 2021. A young offense probably can’t keep up with Herbert or Mahomes in a shootout so the Packers defense must play at an elite level. Both games in this tier are against AFC foes, a benefit for the Packers in a potential playoff tiebreaker scenario.

Experienced veterans (10 games)

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Week 3: Derek Carr, New Orleans Saints
Week 4, 12: Jared Goff, Detroit Lions
Week 6: Jimmy Garopollo, Las Vegas Raiders
Week 8: Russell Wilson, Denver Broncos
Week 9, 17: Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings
Week 10: Matthew Stafford, Los Angeles Rams
Week 14: Daniel Jones, New York Giants
Week 15: Baker Mayfield, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

As is the case most years, the bulk of the Packers’ schedule comes against the experienced tier. In the seven games against the experienced veterans last season, the Packers went 1-6. Green Bay will face Cousins and Goff again twice, but the other six matchups are nothing if not reasonable. The Packers will play five games at home and five on the road against expected starters in this tier. Going 5-5 or better in the 10 games would give the Packers a realisitc shot at making the postseason.

Young guns (5 games)

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Week 1, 18: Justin Fields, Chicago Bears
Week 2: Desmond Ridder, Atlanta Falcons
Week 10: Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh Steelers
Week 16: Bryce Young, Carolina Panthers

Fields has played in 27 career games but still qualifies as a young gun based on the fact that he’s only thrown 588 career passes. The Bears starter is still very much a work in progress. Ridder and Pickett were both draft picks in 2022 who should start in 2023, and Young was the No. 1 pick in the 2023 draft. After going undefeated against quarterbacks deemed young guns between 2019 and 2021, the Packers lost to both Zach Wilson and Jalen Hurts last season. It’s possible one of the quarterbacks above will emerge as a breakout star. Still, finding a pathway to a winning season in 2023 will require an excellent record in the five matchups against young guns.

QBs to beat Packers in Matt LaFleur era

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2019: Carson Wentz, Philip Rivers, Jimmy Garoppolo
2020: Tom Brady, Kirk Cousins, Philip Rivers
2021: Jameis Winston, Patrick Mahomes, Kirk Cousins, Jared Goff
2022: Kirk Cousins, Daniel Jones, Zach Wilson, Taylor Heinicke, Josh Allen, Jared Goff, Ryan Tannehill, Jalen Hurts

After losing only 10 regular-season games and losing to only eight different quarterbacks between 2019 and 2021, the Packers lost nine games and lost to eight different quarterbacks total in 2022. Green Bay has dropped at least one game to Cousins in three straight seasons, lost to Goff in back-to-back seasons and been defeated by a top MVP candidate in three straight seasons. The list of quarterbacks on the 2023 schedule is far from daunting, but last season proved that the opposing quarterback isn’t all that matters. It’s worth pointing out that the Packers traded a “likely MVP candidate” quarterback for a first-year starter in the “young gun” tier, so it’s even more important for Joe Barry’s defense to play well against the quarterbacks on the schedule in 2023.

Story originally appeared on Packers Wire