It was just the second time in franchise history that this team lost in the AFC Championship, yet another playoff heartbreak for an organization that hasn’t been able to capture the Lombardi Trophy since 2004.
Let’s take a look at New England’s complete slate of games, complete with dates and times, for the 2013 season.
|2013 New England Patriots Schedule|
|1||Sept. 8 ||@ Buffalo Bills||1:00 p.m.||CBS|
|2||Sept. 12 ||vs. New York Jets||8:25 p.m.||NFL|
|3||Sept. 22 ||vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers||1:00 p.m.||FOX|
|4||Sept. 29||@ Atlanta Falcons||8:30 p.m.||NBC|
|5||Oct. 6||@ Cincinnati Bengals||1:00 p.m.||CBS|
|6||Oct. 13||vs. New Orleans Saints||4:25 p.m.||FOX|
|7||Oct. 20||@ New York Jets||1:00 p.m.||CBS|
|8||Oct. 27||vs. Miami Dolphins||1:00 p.m.||CBS|
|9||Nov. 3||vs. Pittsburgh Steelers||4:25 p.m.||CBS|
|11||Nov. 18||@ Carolina Panthers||8:40 p.m.||ESPN|
|12||Nov. 24||vs. Denver Broncos||8:30 p.m.||NBC|
|13||Dec. 1||@ Houston Texans||4:25 p.m.||CBS|
|14||Dec. 8||vs. Cleveland Browns||1:00 p.m.||CBS|
|15||Dec. 15||@ Miami Dolphins||1:00 p.m.||CBS|
|16||Dec. 22 ||@ Baltimore Ravens||8:30 p.m.||NBC|
|17||Dec. 29 ||vs. Buffalo Bills||1:00 p.m.||CBS|
Note: For a complete look at New England's 2013 schedule, check out NFL.com.
Outside of the usual AFC East conference games, the Pats will be matching up against some tough opponents that had great outings in 2012.
The Foxborough showdown with the Denver Broncos should be quite interesting, as the winner will potentially have a huge leg up in the race for the AFC crown and home-field advantage in the playoffs. More importantly, it is going to be the first time in six seasons that fans will see Wes Welker playing for another team.
New England’s road schedule is also quite tough, with contests against the NFC Championship runner-up Atlanta Falcons, newfound adversary Houston Texans, a New Orleans Saints squad that should be much improved and a highly underrated Cincinnati Bengals team.
One matchup that everyone should have circled is when the Pats travel to Baltimore to take on the Ravens.
This regular-season battle was epic in 2012 and should be just as awesome in 2013, especially since the Ravens beat New England in the AFC Championship.
Most Pivotal Matchup
Which opponent poses the biggest threat?
As mentioned, the winner of this crucial contest will likely be in the driver’s seat to claim the regular-season AFC title.
It always makes for a great football game when Peyton Manning and Tom Brady are going back and forth, especially now that Welker has switched sides in this heated rivalry.
Things weren’t very close during the 2012 meeting, as New England jumped out to an early lead and never relinquished control on the way to a 31-21 victory.
You can be sure that didn’t sit well with Manning or any of the other Broncos, making the rematch this season an anticipated event.
Of course, essentially every single one of the Pats’ 2013 games will be important, but this one should be the most exciting and could have far-reaching playoff implications.