Patriots 2011 Schedule Analysis

Last night, despite the current lockout situation in the NFL, the Patriots’ schedule was announced. New England’s fans are hungry to start the NFL up again especially after the way the season ended last year, a 28-21 loss in the AFC Divisional Playoffs to the archrival New York Jets. But, assuming we start the season on time, here are some tidbits about New England’s schedule as well as the top 5 games I am looking forward to this season:

First, here is the full schedule, found on NFL.com (all times are eastern)

Week 1 – Monday September 12th – Patriots at Dolphins – 7:00 ESPN

Weel 2 – Sunday September 18th – Chargers at Patriots – 4:15 CBS

Week 3 – Sunday September 25th – Patriots at Bills – 1:00 CBS

Week 4 – Sunday October 2nd – Patriots at Raiders – 4:15 CBS

Week 5 – Sunday October 9th – Jets at Patriots – 4:15 CBS

Week 6 – Sunday October 16th – Cowboys at Patriots – 4:15 FOX

Week 7 – Bye Week

Week 8 – Sunday October 30th – Patriots at Steelers – 4:15 CBS

Week 9 – Sunday November 6th – Giants at Patriots – 4:15 FOX

Week 10 – Sunday November 13th – Patriots at Jets – 8:20 NBC

Week 11 – Monday November 21st – Chiefs at Patriots – 8:30 ESPN

Week 12 – Sunday November 27th – Patriots at Eagles – 4:15 CBS

Week 13 – Sunday December 4th – Colts at Patriots – 8:20 NBC

Week 14 – Sunday December 11th – Patriots at Redskins – 1:00 CBS

Week 15 – Sunday December 18th – Patriots at Broncos – 4:15 CBS

Week 16 – Sunday December 24th – Dolphins at Patriots – 1:00 CBS

Week 17 – Sunday January 1st – Bills at Patriots – 1:00 CBS

  • New England begins the year with two road games in warm weather climates (September 12th at Miami on Monday Night Football and October 2nd at Oakland.) Historically, the Patriots do not play well when they travel to warm climates in the early part of the year. With the potential for high amounts of humidity and temperatures, the fitness of this team will be tested.
  • The Patriots will play 4 primetime games this year: 2 on Monday Night Football (at Miami, vs. KC) and 2 on Sunday Night Football (at NYJ, vs. IND).
  • Also, they will play 8 of their 16 games at 4:15 eastern, so they will be in the national spotlight a lot this year and rightfully so.
  • Take a look at the stretch of games after the bye: The first six opponents (at Steelers, vs. Giants, at Jets, vs. Chiefs, at Eagles, vs. Colts) were a combined 63-33 last season. The opponents
  • New England will play in their last four games were a combined 21-63 last year (at Washington, at Denver, vs. Miami, vs. Buffalo). If the Pats do struggle early, they can build some momentum towards a playoff run with the weak December schedule.

Here are my top 5 games to look forward to, starting at number five:

5 . Monday November 21st – Chiefs at Patriots – 8:30 ESPN – This is where a beloved New England Patriot of old returns home. Kansas City quarterback Matt Cassel makes his return to Gillette Stadium for the first time since 2009.He should get a nice ovation before the game for nearly taking the Pats to the playoffs the year Brady went down with the torn ACL. However, this is a good matchup with a team that won the AFC West a year ago.

4 . Monday September 12th – Patriots at Dolphins – 7:00 ESPN – For the second time in three years, the Patriots kick of their schedule on Monday Night Football against a division rival. This year, they take their talents to South Beach to face a Miami team who might have a new quarterback and maybe a new running back on the field. Nevertheless, Miami still has a very good pass rush and will give New England’s offensive line an early test.

3 . Sunday November 27th – Patriots at Eagles – 4:15 CBS – This year, New England will get their first look at the newly reformed Michael Vick. With the Pats’ defense struggling to cover opposing receivers last year; they will have their hands full with DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin downfield. Vick is a mobile threat who will test New England’s ability to get after the quarterback. Plus, an old teammate returns in Asante Samuel. Maybe, he will let a Brady INT go through his hands like in the Super Bowl a few years ago.

2 . Sunday December 4th – Colts at Patriots – 8:20 NBC – Yes, the two old rivals are back at it again and don’t expect nothing less than a classic. The last four games between these teams have been decided by three points a less. The Colts might not be Indy of old, but as long as they have Peyton Manning, they have a chance to win. The Patriots saw that last year as they nearly blew a 31-14 lead in the 4th quarter. This matchup you can guarantee will have AFC playoff implications.

1 . Sunday October 9th – Jets at Patriots – 4:15 CBS – It is the game you have all been waiting for, or at least what I am waiting for. After last year’s playoff debacle, all fans especially New Yorkers like me want a shot to prove Bart Scott wrong about our defense and to show Rex Ryan who is still the team to beat. Both teams have the schedule to be 4-0 heading into this monster game that will have Gillette Stadium rocking. But, how will the Jets look once the lockout is over? That is still a mystery yet to be solved.

Honorable Mention: Sunday October 16th – Cowboys at Patriots – 4:15 FOX – Jason Garrett takes Dallas to Foxboro with new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan who always seems to have Tom Brady’s number in terms of blitz schemes whether it be with the Ravens or the Browns last season. With Romo back in the fold, this can be a shootout as well.

But, let’s hope we actually have a season! If we do, Foxboro Blog will have all these games covered for you at great length.

Derek Hanson

About Derek Hanson

Doctor by day, blogger by night, Derek Hanson is the founder of the Bloguin Network and has been a Patriots fan for more than 20 years.

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