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A closer look at the Patriots 2011 schedule

04.19.11 at 7:46 pm ET
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Here are a few quick notes on the 2011 Patriots schedule:

Sunday at 1? Not for this team: The Patriots have only four games that are set to kickoff Sunday at 1 p.m., with only two of those games at home (the final two regular-season games of the year, Dec. 24 against the Dolphins and Jan. 1 against the Bills). Conversely, they have four prime-time games, including back-to-back contests in November ‘€” Nov. 13 on the road against the Jets on NBC and Nov. 21 at home against the Chiefs on ESPN. Besides the four nationally televised games, the Patriots will be featured in the marquee matchup with nine games airing at the end of a double-header weekend with kickoffs scheduled at 4:15 p.m.

Opening in style: The Patriots will meet Miami in the regular-season opener for both teams. This year will mark the fifth time New England has opened the season on Monday Night Football ‘€” the Patriots also opened on Monday Night Football in 1979, 1998, 2002 and most recently in 2009 when Tom Brady threw two touchdown passes in the final two minutes to rally the Patriots from a 24-13 deficit to a 25-24 victory vs. the Buffalo Bills. While New England tore up the Dolphins 41-14 in their early-season meeting against the Dolphins in Miami last Oct. 4, the Patriots have historically struggled early in the season in South Florida. (Last year, my ‘€œNFL Sunday’€ co-hosts Christian Fauria and Troy Brown recounted how mentally wrecked they were when it came to playing in Miami early in the season because of the heat.) In that same vein, the Dolphins have almost always struggled playing in Foxboro late in the season.

Good bye: Teams are always looking for the bye to be as close to the middle of the season as possible, and it appears the Patriots hit the jackpot ‘€” they have Week 7 off.

Road warriors: The Patriots will travel 14,610 miles over the course of the regular season, but as alert Tweeter ‘€œWinston_Wolfe’€ noted, the Patriots have just two trips West of Pennsylvania, with games at Denver and Oakland. (He also took note of the fact that New England will not play a dome game this season.) The cumulative record of New England’€™s 2011 opponents is 129-127-0, the 16th-toughest schedule in the league.

Hello, old friends: The final prime time game scheduled for the Patriots in 2011 will be the annual clash with the Colts. This year will mark the ninth straight season that the Patriots will face the Colts and the second consecutive year they have hosted the game at Gillette Stadium. Since 2002, the Patriots and Colts have played each other 11 times, including the postseason. It is the most games played between two non-division opponents in the NFL over the past nine years.

Here’€™s the Patriots regular-season schedule for 2011:
Mon. Sept. 12 at Miami, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
Sun. Sept. 18 vs. San Diego, 4:15 p.m. (CBS)
Sun. Sept. 25 at Buffalo, 1 p.m. (CBS)
Sun. Oct. 2 at Oakland, 4:15 p.m. (CBS)
Sun. Oct. 9 vs. N.Y. Jets, 4:15 p.m. (CBS)
Sun. Oct. 16 vs. Dallas, 4:15 p.m. (Fox)
BYE WEEK
Sun. Oct. 30 at Pittsburgh, 4:15 p.m. (CBS)
Sun. Nov. 6 vs. N.Y. Giants, 4:15 p.m. (Fox)
Sun. Nov. 13 at N.Y. Jets, 8:20 p.m. (NBC)
Mon. Nov. 21 vs. Kansas City, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Sun. Nov. 27 at Philadelphia, 4:15 p.m. (CBS)
Sun. Dec. 4 vs. Indianapolis, 8:20 p.m. (NBC)
Sun. Dec. 11 at Washington, 1 p.m. (CBS)
Sun. Dec. 18 at Denver, 4:15 p.m. (CBS)
Sat. Dec. 24 vs. Miami, 1 p.m. (CBS)
Sun. Jan. 1 vs. Buffalo, 1 p.m. (CBS)

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