The New England Patriots and the rest of the NFL schedule is set for release on Thurs., April 18 (via NFL PR man Greg Aiello), but the opponents have already been determined. The remaining question is when each game will take place.
Here is a look at the most attractive games on the Patriots schedule to both fans and the NFL schedule makers.
At Atlanta Falcons
This game features one the top teams in the AFC against one of the best in the NFC. This matchup would have been a worthy Super Bowl meeting over the last three seasons, but the Falcons haven't been able to reach the next step.
These teams have played just once since Matt Ryan made his debut for the Falcons in 2008. In that 2009 meeting, the Patriots took a 13-10 lead into halftime before dominating the second half to win the game 26-10. The Patriots out-gained the Falcons 445 yards to 227 yards.
Back then, the Falcons were merely starting their ascent to the NFC elite. Now they have to be considered one of the better teams in the league with their vaunted passing attack. This game has shoot-out written all over it.
Vs. Denver Broncos
Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning. Following the Broncos and Patriots finishing the 2012 regular season with the top seeds in the AFC playoffs, the matchup that everybody wanted could only happen in the AFC championship. While the Patriots did their part by knocking off the Houston Texans, the Broncs couldn't get past the Ravens.
While it's not a conference championship, anytime Brady and Manning face off, it's a game to watch. These two teams are the likely favorites to win the AFC. The regular season meeting will hopefully lead to a rematch in the postseason.
At Baltimore Ravens
If there is one game that Tom Brady and Bill Belichick will be ready to circle once the NFL schedule comes out, it has to be against the Baltimore Ravens. The Patriots season ended in surprising fashion last season at the hands of the Ravens. Instead of playing at Gillette Stadium, the rematch will be played in Baltimore.
The Patriots will surely want to make a statement in this game, especially if it's early in the season. They seemed like the better team, but they certainly weren't on that day in late Jan., turning the ball over three times.
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