New England Patriots fans may have technically had the shortest offseason, but it certainly feels like the longest.
After losing to the New York Giants in the Super Bowl, Pats supporters must concentrate on the new season and now finally know exactly who they are playing and when.
The defending AFC Champions have a long road ahead of them to get back to the postseason, but were fortunate enough to draw the easiest schedule in the league—according to the Red Zone.
Let’s take a look at who the Patriots are playing and where during the 2012-13 NFL season.
Week 2 9/16: Arizona Cardinals vs. New England Patriots, 1 PM ET, Fox
Week 3 9/23: New England Patriots vs. Baltimore Ravens, 8:20 PM ET, NBC
Week 4 9/30: New England Patriots vs. Buffalo Bills, 1 PM ET, CBS
Week 5 10/7: Denver Broncos vs. New England Patriots, 4:15 PM ET, CBS
Week 6 10/14: New England Patriots vs. Seattle Seahawks, 4:05 PM ET, CBS
Week 7 10/21: New York Jets vs. New England Patriots, 4:15 PM ET, CBS
Week 8 10/28: New England Patriots vs. St. Louis Rams, 1 PM ET, CBS
Week 9 11/4: BYE WEEK
Week 10 11/11: Buffalo Bills vs. New England Patriots, 1 PM ET, CBS
Week 11 11/18: Indianapolis Colts vs. New England Patriots, 1 PM ET, CBS
Week 12 11/22: New England Patriots vs. New York Jets, 8:20 PM ET, NBC
Week 13 12/2: New England Patriots vs. Miami Dolphins, 1 PM ET, CBS
Week 14 12/10: Houston Texans vs. New England Patriots, 8:30 PM ET, ESPN
Week 15 12/16: San Francisco 49ers vs. New England Patriots, 8:20 PM ET, NBC
Week 16 12/23: New England Patriots vs. Jacksonville Jaguars, 1 PM ET, CBS
Week 17 12/30: Miami Dolphins vs. New England Patriots, 1 PM ET, CBS
Of course, the divisional matchups against the Jets, Bills and Dolphins are always tightly contested and should not be marked down as wins just yet.
Fortunately, the Patriots play a number of teams that weren’t much of contenders last season, including the Seahawks, Rams, Titans, Jaguars, Cardinals and Colts. This definitely contributes to their insanely easy strength of schedule.
The combined win total from last year of the Patriots 2012-13 opponents was just 116, compared with their 140 losses.
Anything less than another Super Bowl appearance and victory would be a disappointment, especially considering the itinerary.
Most Pivotal Matchup: Patriots vs. Broncos (Week 5)
The Broncos just added a fierce old rival, Peyton Manning, to their roster and it’s going to be a bloodbath in Gillette.
New England stomped on the Broncos twice last season, once in the regular season and once in the playoffs.
Now that they ditched Tebow for Manning, Denver is a lot more dangerous, especially against the Pats’ weak secondary.
Expect this game to be extremely exciting and important to the AFC playoff picture.