I guess it’s that time of year when I am obliged to offer my thoughts on the schedule of the 2010 New England Patriots so here goes.
1) While it’s impossible to accurately predict what teams are going to look like four months from now, my initial feeling is the schedule looks pretty tough, particularly that midseason stretch that includes Baltimore, San Diego, Minny, Cleveland, Pitt and Indy. I would sign up for 4-2 over those six games.
2) The bye, coming in week five, is a bit early for my liking but perhaps it comes at a point where it gives a rehabbing Wes Welker a final opportunity to get ready without missing another game. Just a hunch but I’ll say Welker comes off the bye and plays October 17th versus the Ravens.
3) On the suspension front, the Pats will miss Santonio Holmes in week two but Ben Roelitsberger will be on the field when they go to Pittsburgh on November 14th.
4) There are only eleven Sunday afternoon games on the schedule, which is something I hate but have gotten used to this over the past decade. But who knows …..maybe Aaron Rogers goes down for the Packers early on and that late season Sunday nighter with the Pack gets changed to one o’clock.
5) I like the fact that the Pats will have eleven days off to prepare for that Jets rematch in early December. That could be a big game and those extra days could come in handy.
6) There is only one trip past the Mississippi River this season and that puts the Pats in San Diego. Coming off Baltimore, that would be my nominee for the surest loss on the schedule.
7) I am not crazy about being the Turkey Game in Detroit but I guess it’s our turn. That game shouldn’t be a big problem although coming off Indy, you never know.
8) I would have liked getting Minnesota at home a bit later in the season so that Brett Favre might be made to suffer a bit more in the cold and wind, but Halloween will have to do. Drawing the NFC North is no bargain but at least we get both heavyweights – Minnesota and Green Bay – at home.
9) The way I see it,. the Pats will get to play four of their five toughest non-Divisional games at home. Meaning the schedule is tough but it could have been tougher.
10) And finally, getting Miami at home, in January, is a nice feature. If that game means something for the Pats, I don’t suspect the fish will put up much resistance in the cold.