The NFL schedule was released on April 19th and Patriots fans have a few games to anticipate as Tom Brady and the new look New England offense looks to make another run at the Super Bowl.
New England kicks off the 2013 season against the Buffalo Bills. The Bills made the great decision to not re-sign Ryan Fitzpatick but will most likely have either a yet-to-be-drafted rookie quarterback under center for the opener. Their other options include having one of two career second stringers, Tavaris Jackson or Kevin Kolb, handing the ball of to C.J. Spiller.
The Pats will open up at Gillette in week two against the New York Jets. Following a 6-10 record last season the Jets most likely won’t be much better this season, but it’s always entertaining when these rivals meet. Rex Ryan and Mark Sanchez have been the less successful, more vocal version of Brady and Billichick and you can feel the tension when the New York-Boston rivals play.
Week nine will see the Pittsburgh Steelers travel to Foxborough after the Steelers and Patriots didn’t meet last season. Unlike the Jets-Pats rivalry of past seasons, this rivalry has remained fueled over the years due to the success of both teams despite the Steelers failing to make the playoffs.
Flames were fanned when the Patriots offered a deal to Roethlisberger-favorite and restricted free agent Emmanuel Sanders this off-season. The move angered the Steelers QB and forced Pittsburgh’s hand to match the offer in lieu of taking New England’s third-round pick.
In week 12 Tom Brady will face off against arch-nemesis Peyton Manning. Manning shocked the football world with his success coming off of multiple neck surgeries that caused him to miss the entirety of the 2011 season.
Last season’s match up saw Tom Brady once again besting the elder Manning with a 31-21 win at Gillette. The Patriots will look to replicate that outcome once again as the Broncos travel to Gillette.
New England’s final marquis game will be in week 16 as they travel to Baltimore to take on the defending Super Bowl champion Ravens. The Ravens had to get past New England in the AFC Championship last season, a game that saw the Patriots fail to score in the second half.
There’s no way the Patriots have forgotten the game that ended their season yet and Baltimore’s defense has a lot more holes after the loss of Ray Lewis to retirement, safety Bernard Pollard, Ed Reed to Houston, and Lewis’ heir apparent Dannell Ellerbe to Miami.
The Patriots will be playing on nationally televised, prime-time games four times this season including the NBC Sunday Night Football game three times; Atlanta at the Georgia Dome in week four, Denver at home in week 12, and the Baltimore game in Baltimore in week 16.