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New England Patriots' 2012 Schedule: Comparing Predictions to Reality

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 14:  (L-R) Tom Brady #12 and Wes Welker #83 of the New England Patriots run to the sideline after Welker caught a 7-yard touchdown reception from Brady in the first quarter against the Denver Broncos during their AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Gillette Stadium on January 14, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images
Samer IsmailAnalyst IIApril 18, 2012

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** 
9 BYE      
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.

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