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New England Patriots Links 4/18/12 - Breaking Down Pats' 2012 NFL Schedule

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<em>Sorry Bill gotta run... turkey's getting cold</em>.
Sorry Bill gotta run... turkey's getting cold.

Manish Mehta (NY Daily News) Gang Green will take on New England Patriots on Thanksgiving Day.

"That one’s going to be a beauty, there’s no doubt," said Rex Ryan — whose team was swept by hated New England last season — after the league released the schedule on Tuesday night. "Our fans will be ready to roll. . . . It’s going to be a great challenge for us. Last time we played on Thanksgiving, we had success. . . . Hopefully history will repeat itself. And I hope my wife has the green bean casserole ready for after the game."

Christopher Price shares some initial thoughts on the release of the Patriots' regular-season schedule.

The Patriots start their season with three road games in their first four contests, including a rematch of the AFC championship game on Sunday, Sept. 23 against the Ravens in Baltimore and road games at Tennessee (to open the year on Sept. 9) and at Buffalo (to open the divisional schedule on Sept. 30). Including the preseason (where New England closes with a pair of road games), that’ll make five out of six games away from Gillette Stadium, with the most difficult game coming against Baltimore. The flip side to that is that the Patriots will finish the regular-season with three of their final four games at home, including a pair of what shape up to be toughies: against Houston and against San Francisco. (There’s also a road game against Jacksonville and a home game to close out the season against Miami.)

The toughest overall stretch might be the four-game series that start on Oct. 7 with a home date against Peyton Manning and the Broncos. The Patriots will follow that up with am Oct. 14 game at Seattle (never an easy road trip, regardless of what sort of talent the Seahawks might have), home the next week against the Jets, and then to London to meet the Rams. On paper, it doesn’t look that daunting, but that’s a lot of miles to cover in 21 days. The second-toughest test for the Patriots is likely the back-to-back games they have against Houston (Monday, Dec. 10) and San Francisco (Dec. 16). Playing a pair of quality opponents on back-to-back on a short week is tough, even if you have to do it at home.