The New England Patriots currently sit at the top of the league rankings because of their victory on opening night. They will soon be joined by other winning squads this afternoon. Below is the full schedule and breakdown of each match-up and the implications for the Patriots.
1 PM Games
Packers @ Bears: One of the oldest rivalries in sports, the Packers have held a considerable advantage when it's been Aaron Rodgers on one side, and Jay Cutler on the other. Very little implications for the Patriots.
Chiefs @ Texans: Patriots fans will have a soft spot for the Texans this season due to their signing of Vince Wilfork, so it's pretty easy to root for Houston. The Texans will need as many wins as possible if they are to have a shot of dethroning the Colts.
Dolphins @ Washington: Rooting for Washington makes sense. The Dolphins schedule is set up with an easy first half and a breakneck second half of the season, so any losses on the front end make it even less likely that the Fish will make the playoffs.
Panthers @ Jaguars: While there are no implications for the Patriots in this game, a good Jaguars team could make some noise as a spoiler. The Patriots play Jacksonville in Week 3, so the coaching staff will be paying attention.
Key Game: Colts @ Bills: This will be a fun early game. Can the Bills defense suffocate the Indianapolis passing attack? Will Rex Ryan borrow from Bill Belichick's play book and run for 500 yards against this soft Colts defensive line? No matter how this game winds up, the Patriots will getting a good look at their Week 2 opponent (Buffalo) and their Week 6 opponent (Indianapolis).
4 PM Games
4:25 PM Games
Titans @ Buccaneers: In the battle of the 1st and 2nd overall picks, the Patriots don't really care. New England has dipped into both teams' rosters for assistance during their Super Bowl run (Akeem Ayers from the Titans, LeGarrette Blount, Jonathan Casillas, Tim Wright from the Buccaneers). So watch this game to see if there are any players that interest the Patriots.
Key Game: Ravens @ Broncos: It will be interesting to see how Peyton Manning's arm strength looks in a regular season game. Similar to the Colts/Bills game, this match-up has some serious conference implications. Worst case scenario, would you rather the Patriots have to travel to Denver or to Baltimore? Denver is the easy choice.