The NFL is releasing its 2013 NFL Schedule at 8:00 PM ET tonight. While we already know the Patriots’ 2013 opponents, it’s always intriguing to see how the schedule shapes out week to week. Overhyped or not, the schedule release brings a new sense of reality to the upcoming season, and that’s always exciting.
Here are a few things we’ll be looking out for:
Bye Week Placement. This is one of the most intriguing elements to the schedule release. In 2012, the Patriots were fortunate in this area, landing their bye week smack in the middle of the season – week nine. A well- timed bye week can mean a lot for a team’s stretch run.
Week One Opponent. Knowing the week one opponent is always an exciting thing because it always happens to be the game we talk about most in the weeks and months leading up to the regular season. Sure, the Patriots won’t open in Baltimore anymore, but this is definitely an intriguing aspect of tonight’s release.
Prime Time Games. One of the first things I always look for when the schedule is released are the prime time games. Last year, the Patriots had two huge December prime time match-ups at home against the Texans and 49ers. Regardless whether you’re a fan, in the media, or a member of the organization, there’s always a sense of excitement playing under the “big lights.” And oh yeah, it should be pretty cool to see when that Patriots vs. Broncos, Brady vs. Manning match-up will be.
Travel. Another element to look for is in regards to distance traveled week to week. Will the Patriots have to travel a long distance on a short week? In 2013, the Patriots have are actually quite fortunate, as their farthest road opponent is the Houston Texans. Their only other 2013 AFC West opponent is Denver, whom they will host at Gillette Stadium.
As a reminder, the Patriots’ 2013 opponents are as follows:
New Orleans Saints
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
New York Jets
New York Jets