Friday, April 19, 2013

Seventeen takeaways from Patriots' 2013 schedule


1. The Patriots last lost their opening game in 2003, which was against the Buffalo Bills. Guess who they start with this year? Yep, at Ralph Wilson, no less.

2. Lots of national coverage for New England this year, which shouldn't be a shocker. The Pats have five prime-time games: one Thursday night'er, three Sunday night'ers and a Monday night'er. Those are weeks 2 ,4, 12 and 16, respectively.

3. The game everyone's waiting to see: the return of Welker. It'll be a little bit of a wait, as the team hosts the Broncos Week 12 after a short week of prep. (photo: Jose Luis Garza, Flickr)

4. No coming-off-a-bye-week foes this year for the defending division champs.

5. Speaking of byes, the Pats' comes in Week 10. Could be good or bad depending on when the injuries start to pile up, but let's lean toward good.

6. Last year, the Pats' schedule was ranked the easiest in the league, according to the previous year's records. This year, it's the middle of the road for New England (14th overall).

7. No chance for any early revenge against the Super Bowl champs: the Pats won't face the Ravens until Week 16.

8. New England starts off with back-to-back division games, with a short week to prepare for the Jets on Thursday night, Week 2.

9. Consider the team's consecutive streak playing against the Colts snapped — unless of course they meet in the playoffs. The Pats had met Indy for 10 years straight.

10. Air fare will be pretty cheap for Robert Kraft this season: New England travels out of the Eastern time zone only once, Week 13 against the Texans.

11. New England will get its fair share of the Tampa Bay Bucs early on, as the team will see Greg Schiano and the crew twice in a little more than a month (Week 2 of preseason, Week 3 of regular season).

12. The team will face five of the 11 playoff teams from last year (Bengals, Texans, Ravens, Falcons, Broncos).

13. New England pulls a surprising foe for its Monday night game in the Panthers. Carolina did beat the Pats the last time the two met though, in Foxborough.

14. Weeks 4 through 6 should be an interesting test for New England's improving secondary, as it will face the Falcons, Bengals and Saints, in that order.

15. The Pats have three tough road games toward the end of the season, all in December, which could easily make or break a playoff run: Houston (Week 13), Miami (Week 15) and Baltimore (Week 16).

16. The team's Week 4 matchup in Atlanta will be the first time New England has played in Georgia since 2005. Dating back to 1972, the team's are an even 6-6 against each other.

17. The Denver game will be the third year in a row that the Pats face the Broncos. Despite winning both games, Brady was sacked 6 total times and threw for only three total touchdowns.

Follow Dan @DanBegnoche
Follow AFC East Daily @AFCEastDaily