The NFL just released the Patriots' 2012 schedule. Here are some quick thoughts on the Patriots slate of games:
- Things kick off against the Tennessee Titans on the road in week one. It's a tough opening game. The Titans are an improving team who could present a challenge on the road. I'd say the game is similar in difficulty to the Patriots' last two season openers against the Dolphins and Bengals.
- Week 3's game against the Baltimore Ravens is certainly one to circle. The Patriots will be traveling to Baltimore to take on the team they beat in the 2012 AFC Championship. Emotions will certainly be high, and the game will be nationally televised on NBC's Football Night in America. Should be fun.
- The Patriots play their first divisional game on the road week four against the Bills. It will conclude a September that has the Patriots on the road three separate times.
- The Patriots' have their bye week nine, which is exactly half-way through the season. That's the best you could possibly ask for in terms of bye placement.
- The most difficult stretch in the Patriots' schedule could easily be weeks 12-15. They've have two tough division games against the Jets and Dolphins on the road, before home back-to-backs against two playoff teams: the Texans and the 49ers.
- Week 5's 4:15 game against the Denver Broncos should be a great match-up. Any time you've got a Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning face-off, you've got to circle it on your schedule. The fact that the Patriots knocked the Broncos out of the playoffs last season only increases the intrigue.
- The Patriots will play the Jets at home week seven, then play them again week 12 at 8:20 PM on Thanksgiving (November 22nd). The Patriots will be coming off a game against the Colts, with the Jets coming off a game against the Rams.
- Three of the first four, four of the first six, and five of the team's first eight games will be on the road. Following the bye, the Patriots will face a significantly more home-friendly schedule. After week 13's game against the Dolphins, the team's only road game will be a late December match-up against the Jacksonville Jaguars.