The 2013 NFL schedule was released at 8:00 PM ET today, and it’s full of exciting games. For the Patriots, the schedule will present an array of challenges to the defense and the offense alike. Their schedule is displayed below.
The Patriots will open with an away game against the Buffalo Bills and their new quarterback Kevin Kolb. This should be a fairly easy game because of the Bill’s defensive weaknesses. But, with Kolb under center, who knows how much better the offense can be, since the Patriots’ defense was not the best against mediocre quarterbacks last season. We’ll see how much the defense improves after the draft and training camp.
The Patriots will have 3 primetime games, each presenting a distinctive challenge. These games are against the Atlanta Falcons, the Denver Broncos, and the Baltimore Ravens. These primetime games are the most interesting games on the Patriots’ schedule, and they will test how well the semi-rebuilt team will hold (specifically the offense). Other games to look out for include the two games against the Dolphins and their newly improved offense, and the game against the Saints. The Patriots have their bye week during Week 10, when they’ll need a break to improve to face the teams to come. The games to look out for in the 2013 season are as follows:
Week 4 @Atlanta
The game against Atlanta will be an away game in the Georgia Dome. This will be a battle of the offenses, as the Patriots have a complete, effective offense, and the Falcons have an explosive offense led by their passing game. Matt Ryan, with weapons such as Julio Jones and Roddy White, could easily tear up the Patriots defense if they don’t play up to par. The game will test the Patriots’ offense and their new receivers’ ability to keep up in a potential shootout game relatively early in the season. This means that Tom Brady will have to build chemistry with Amendola, Jenkins, and Donald Jones quickly or else he may have to rely solely upon Gronk-Hernandez and Julian Edelman. This game will also test the ability of the Pats’ defense to stop offenses and come through in tough moments. Overall, it will be an early indicator for the strengths and weaknesses of the team.
Week 6 vs New Orleans
This will likewise be a battle of the offenses and a potential shootout, this time against a much deadlier passer: Drew Brees. This time though, the Saints’ defense will present much less of a challenge than the Falcon’s pass defense. The Saints’ defense was downright horrible last season, and even though they looked to improve in the offseason, not much was done. This game will show whether the Patriots have built up their chemistry and brought their team together yet, if they have not by the Falcons game.
Week 12 vs Broncos
Possibly the toughest game of the season, the Patriots will face their newest rival in the AFC, the Denver Broncos. What makes this game interesting is that not only do the Broncos have Tom Brady’s rival, Peyton Manning, but they are also the newest home to former Patriots superstar WR Wes Welker. Welker’s bolt from New England brought much uproar from the fans toward both the team and Welker. Now, the Patriots will have to learn how to stop the monster that they’ve created. Peyton Manning and his offense will be better than ever, and likely an absolute powerhouse by this time in the season. The Patriots offense will need to take great measures to dominate and take control of the game, while their defense takes up the challenge of limiting the great Broncos offense. The Broncos defense is also something to be revered, because they are great at both defending the pass and the run (except for that one time against the Ravens and Flacco’s 70 yard pass to tie the game). This will possibly be the greatest test the Patriots will get all season. It is not a game to miss.
Week 16 @ Baltimore
As the second to last game of the season, this game will feature one of the NFL’s most recent and bitter rivalries. The Patriots never play well against the Ravens, and every time they win, its because of luck (Billy Cundiff??). This will be the final test of the year for the Patriots, against a completely renovated Ravens offense, and a offense that’s famous for getting past the Patriots. New England needs to get a hold of the game and keep their momentum in order to win this game. There were too many times when the Patriots had the momentum, and one small mistake caused the Patriots to lose their mojo. Even though Ray Lewis isn’t playing anymore, this needs still to be a perfect, flawless game for the Patriots to get a strong stance going into the playoffs.
The Patriots certainly do not have the easiest schedule (except for the Jets, Bills, and Browns). They will have many challenges this season, and the Patriots will have to get together as a team and play at an extremely high level to overcome these challenges. If they elevate their level of play and get the new offensive members on track next season, there will be no doubt that they will be potential Super Bowl contenders once again. Number 12 will make sure of it.