Breaking down the Patriots 2014 schedule
The Patriots got no breaks from the schedule-maker this season. New England opens in the human basting dish that is South Florida then play two of their next three on the road as well (at Minnesota and Kansas City). So that’s three out of four on the road to start the year. Overlapping that, they have three out of four games in prime-time and the final one of those – at the Jets on October 16 – comes on a short week. The team does catch a break with three straight home games and then their bye week. The other pain in the posterior will be at Green Bay after Thanksgiving followed by a trip to the West Coast for the December 7 game against the Chargers.
First things first with the schedule…when do the Patriots not play? The bye week can be a real boon when it falls at an opportune time and for the Patriots it hits nice. Their bye week comes in Week 10 after three straight games at Gillette (Jets, Bears, Broncos). The Patriots will come out of their bye and play a prime-time game at the Colts.
When Peyton Manning was with the Colts, the schedule maker was always sure to get the Patriots and Colts matched up in the first week of November. Sweeps week. And the same holds for Brady-Manning this season as the Patriots and Broncos will play at Gillette on November 2 at 4:25 p.m. on CBS. The rematch of the AFC Championship game and the on-field demonstration of the arms race will fall about where Manning-Brady usually does.
The Patriots had five prime-time games scheduled last season. They only played four after NBC said no thanks to the Patriots against the struggling Ravens late in the season and flexed out of that game. This year, the team has five scheduled. Three are on NBC’s Sunday Night Football (October 5 vs. Bengals, November 16 at Colts, December 7 at San Diego). The Patriots have a short-week game at the Jets on Thursday October 16 and at the Chiefs on September 29, a Monday night on ESPN.
So the Patriots have the best cornerback in football, Darrelle Revis. And while that title isn’t undisputed, there will be many opportunities for Revis to put the belt over his mantle. The schedule is loaded with high-profile receivers. Revis will see A.J. Green in prime time on October 5. Later, there’s a stretch of four games against the Bears (Brandon Marshall), Broncos (Demaryius Thomas), Colts (TY Hilton) and Lions (Calvin Johnson) where the Island will be hopping.
The Patriots will see a string of good to outstanding quarterbacks over a six-game span in the middle of the year. Jay Cutler, Peyton Manning, Andrew Luck, Matt Stafford, Aaron Rodgers and Phillip Rivers will be the opposing quarterbacks in Weeks 8 through 14.