On April 17, the NFL released the 2012 season schedule. One game of the New England Patriots' schedule—their second trip to play as the visiting team in London against the St. Louis Rams—was released months ago.
On March 10, I tried to predict which games would be given national exposure. Let's see how those predictions compared to the actual results. Boldfaced games are ones given national slots and/or "game of the week" status (late afternoon starts).
|Week||Day/Time (ET)||Opponent||Prediction||Correct prediction?|
|1||Sun 1 p.m.||at Tennessee Titans||Unlikely||Yes|
|2||Sun 1 p.m.||Arizona Cardinals||Possible||Yes|
|3||Sun 8:20 p.m.||at Baltimore Ravens||Likely||Yes|
|4||Sun 1 p.m.||at Buffalo Bills||Unlikely||Yes|
|5||Sun 4:15 p.m.||Denver Broncos||Likely||Yes|
|6||Sun 4:05 p.m.||at Seattle Seahawks||Unlikely||No|
|7||Sun 4:15 p.m.||New York Jets||Likely||Yes|
|8||Sun 1 p.m. ||at St. Louis Rams (in London)||N/A**||N/A**|
|10||Sun 1 p.m.||Buffalo Bills||Unlikely||Yes|
|11*||Sun 1 p.m.||Indianapolis||Unlikely||Yes|
|12||Thu 8:20 p.m. ||at New York Jets||Likely||Yes|
|13*||Sun 1 p.m. ||at Miami Dolphins||Possible||Yes|
|14||Mon 8:30 p.m. ||Houston||Likely||Yes|
|15*||Sun 8:20 p.m. ||San Francisco||Likely||Yes|
|16*||Sun 1 p.m. ||at Jacksonville Jaguars||Unlikely||Yes|
|17*||Sun 1 p.m. ||Miami Dolphins||Possible||Yes|
*Could be moved; subject to NFL's flex scheduling policy.
**Already announced before predictions were made.
All in all, my amateurish attempts hit the mark pretty well: of the six games I picked as "likely" for national exposure, all of them received either prime-time slots (four) or "game of the week" slots on CBS (the other two).
The only case that can be considered an "error" is one that, in retrospect, I should have caught: By NFL scheduling rules, no game can start before 12 p.m. local time. Thus, since the Seattle game is in Seattle, that game had to be in an afternoon slot. That said, I doubt that game will be considered the "game of the week."
Perhaps the most interesting part of the schedule is that of the Denver and Indianapolis games. Most games between Peyton Manning and Tom Brady have been in the second half of the season, so it's at least a little surprising that the game is in Week 5, and therefore cannot be moved to prime time.
Conversely, the Week 11 game against Indianapolis could be moved into prime time (or at least a late afternoon slot) if the Indianapolis Colts fare better than expected giving their rebuilding status.
No matter what, though, this looks to be an exciting season for the Patriots.