Patriots Schedule Breakdown: Games 13-16

With the 2011 regular season fast-approaching, it’s time to do a breakdown of the upcoming schedule for the Patriots.  So far, in the first twelve games, I have the Patriots at 11-1.  Here is my breakdown of the final four games of the regular season.

 

Week 14 – Away vs. Washington

At this point in the season, I would expect the Redskins to be mathematically eliminated from the playoffs.  However, that’s no reason to take the Skins lightly.  Taking down the Patriots would be a big statement for Washington, so you know they’ll be bringing their A-game.  Mike Shanahan is also on the short list of coaches who have been able to go head to head with Belichick and come out on top on more than a few occassions.  Still, I think the Patriots are simply the better team.  I’m racking up another W for the Pats.

Predicted Record: 12-1

 

Week 15 – Away vs. Denver

If there is one place that gives the Patriots fits more than Miami, it’s Denver.  Still, the 2011 Broncos are not the same team that ousted New England from the playoffs in 2006.  This could potentially be the easiest game on the Pats’ schedule. I recognize that it would be easy for the team to slip up in this set of back-to-back road games against inferior competition.  However, this late in the year, Belichick should be priming his squad for the playoffs and the Patriots’ focus should be at an all-time high. I think they take care of business on both occassions.

Predicted Record: 13-1

 

Week 16 – Home vs. Miami

The Dolphins in Foxboro in December?  There’s no guarantees in the NFL, but I’d be a moron to not predict a win here.

Predicted Record: 14-1

 

 

Week 17 – Home vs. Buffalo

Slightly tough call here.  If the Pats have their playoff spot locked up, will Brady or some of the other starters play?  History says yes, but Welker’s injury in 2009 may have changed Belichick’s mind a bit.  Also, assuming the Patriots win the Week 3 matchup, you know Buffalo will be fighting hard to end their 18,436.5 game losing streak to New England.  Still, I think the Patriots will aim to start off 2012 the right way and take care of business at home.

Predicted Record: 15-1


So that’s my prediction. 15-1.  It’s the second-best record in franchise history and a tall order to live up to.  However, I really believe in this team and believe that they will be better than last year’s squad.  The schedule is remarkably easier than the road the team traveled last year as well.  So going from 14-2 to 15-1 is extremely possible.  I think it will all truly come down to the Patriots’ level of focus.  Can they avoid stumbling like they did against Cleveland last season?  Will they rise to the occassion and take both games from New York and win in Pittsburgh? It won’t be easy, but it’s certainly possible.  Now it all starts tomorrow night in Miami…

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.

Patriots Schedule Breakdown: Games 13-16

As we inch closer to the start of the 2010 season, I thought it would be a good idea to make some quick analysis of the schdule and make some predictions about how the Patriots will fare in each of their 16 constests.  We took a look at Weeks 1-4, Weeks 6-9, and Weeks 10-13 last week.  This time around, I’ll be doing a brief preview on the Patriots games from Week 10-13.

As a quick recap, here’s how I called each of the first twelve games.

Week 1: Home vs. Cincinatti – W
Week 2: Away vs. New York Jets – W
Week 3: Home vs. Buffalo – W
Week 4: Away vs. Miami – L
Week 5: BYE
Week 6: Home vs. Baltimore – W
Week 7: Away vs. San Diego – L
Week 8: Home vs. Minnesota – W
Week 9: Away vs. Cleveland – L
Week 10: Away vs. Pittsburgh – W
Week 11: Home vs. Indianapolis – L
Week 12: Away vs. Detroit – W
Week 13: Home vs. New York Jets – W

 

Week 14 – Away vs. Chicago

Finally, the schedule lightens up a bit for the Patriots.  The final four weeks still won’t be a cake walk by any means, but compared to the other groupings of games we’ve covered, this final batch is the easiest.  The Patriots begin their final march to the post-season with a stop at Soldier Field.  I mentioned earlier that with the Patriots difficult schedule, their five “easy” games were must-wins.  They simply can’t afford to shoot themselves in the foot by blowing games against inferior competition.  I’m putting Chicago in this “inferior” category, and predicting a W for New England.

Predicted Record: 9-4

 

Week 15 – Home vs. Green Bay

Green Bay is getting some Super Bowl hype.  While I’m not quite sure if it’s warranted at this point, what I do know is that the Pack will have no trouble dealing with the New England winter.  They’re probably the only team in the league for which a game in Foxboro can be considered a warm weather affer.  While I believe the Pats can handle the Packers, and Bill Belichick’s teams tend to rally down the stretch vs. fall apart, I’m going to call for a loss here.  At 9-5, it’s going to be playoff intesnsity for the Patriots from here on out.  They absolutely need to take care of their AFC East rivals the next two weeks or they could find themselves sitting at home in Week 18.

Predicted Record: 9-5

 

Week 16 – Away vs. Buffalo

It doesn’t get much more must-win than this for the Patriots.  In attempt to cut down on the “tanking” we saw from teams like Indianapolis and Cincinatti last season, the NFL has tweaked the schedule so that each team has a slew of divisional games down the stretch.  The Pats, Jets, Bills, and Phins all play one another once in the last five weeks.  I’m expecting it to be a tight race between New England, New York, and Miami.  It will likely be the head to head games against each other that determine the division winner amongst those three.  But rest assured, whichever team drops their late-season game against Buffalo will have a tough time making the playoffs.

Predicted Record: 10-5

 

Week 17 – Home vs. Miami

Late-season games against the Dolphins are almost never dull affairs.  Looking back through the history books, it’s basically a flip of a coin as to which team will come out as the victor.  The one key factor, though, is that this final game is in Foxboro and most of those late-season losses have come in Miami.  With the Jets getting Buffalo at home the last week, their status in the AFC East will have already likely been decided.  If the Patriots do hold the edge heading into the final week, it will be up to them to make sure that they keep it by downing the Phins.

Predicted Record: 11-5

 

11-5 has been good enough to make the playoffs in every season except 2008 (don’t get me started…).  I believe the Patriots’ explosive offense will be more than good enough to make up for some of their defensive question marks.  I don’t know if the Super Bowl is in the cards, but I do think an AFC East title is certainly within reach.  After a good hard look at their 16 games, the key to claiming that title will be beating up on their five easier opponents (Buffalo x2, Cleveland, Chicago, and Detroit), and taking three of four from Miami and New York.  If they can accomplish that, I would have to think they’d be in the driver’s seat to claiming the division.

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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