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Some familiar foes dominate Patriots preseason schedule

04.04.12 at 10:47 pm ET
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Bill Belichick will meet Eagles coach Andy Reid in Foxboro on Aug. 20 for a preason game. (AP)

The Patriots revealed their preseason schedule for the 2012 season on Wednesday, and there are some familiar foes. They’ll open the preseason slate with a home date against the Saints (date to be determined), and follow that up with another home game against the Eagles on Monday, Aug, 20, at 8 p.m. New England will then hit the road for the final two preseason games — one at the Bucs (TBD) and the last preseason game at the New York Giants, reportedly on Aug. 29.

Despite the fact that they have played in the preseason fairly regularly, the biggest surprise is probably the appearance of New Orleans on the schedule. (We guessed at the other three correctly, with our fourth guess being Detroit.) The Patriots last opened the preseason at home against the Saints in 2010, when New Orleans was coming off its first Super Bowl victory. New England also engaged in some joint training camp practices that year in the days before the Patriots-Saints preseason game that year, and it wouldn’t be a shock to see that happen again. (And wouldn’t be interesting if Bill Parcells steps in for a suspended Sean Payton and returns to New England?)

Both Philadelphia and the New York Giants are fairly regular preseason opponents (this will mark the eighth year that the Patriots will meet New York in the preseason finale.) As for the Patriots and Eagles, they have been frequent preseason opponents with 19 previous preseason matchups. (The Patriots first-ever game at Gillette Stadium was on Aug. 17, 2002, a 16-15 win over the Eagles.) The last preseason meeting came in 2009 when the Patriots opened the preseason with a 27-25 win at Philadelphia on Aug. 13, 2009.

In addition, New England has frequently faced Tampa Bay in the preseason — including last year when the Patriots traveled to Florida to clash with the Bucs — and the fact that Greg Schiano (a friend of Bill Belichick) is now in charge in Tampa Bay makes that game a no-brainer. It’s also worth noting that the third preseason game is usually the one where the starters play the most, and so if you’re looking to get a handle on where the New England starters are heading into the regular season, Patriots-Bucs will be the game to circle on your calendar.

The full regular-season schedule will be announced later this month.

Read More: Bill Belichick, Greg Schiano,
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