Last night the NFL released each team's schedule for the 2015-16 season. It was known earlier in the day that the Patriots would be raising their championship banner on Sept. 10 against the Steelers.
Here is the schedule:
According to Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com, the Patriots strength of schedule ranks 22nd in the NFL. Their opponents own a combined .477 winning percentage.
A few knee-jerk reactions here:
1. The Patriots will start the season with what figure to be two tough tests with Pittsburgh at home and Buffalo on the road. No Le'Veon Bell will hurt the Steelers much more than no LeGarrette Blount for New England. The Patriots should win that game. I have the Buffalo game chalked up as a loss. Rex Ryan will be fired up for the Pats like he always is. No doubt his players will be as well.
2. I wouldn't doubt for a second the Patriots will be fired up for the Cowboys coming off the bye week, especially after the recent comments made by Tony Romo.
3. I think Andrew Luck finally beats the Pats.
4. Brady-Manning games never get old. And now Broncos fans can stop complaining that they never get home games against the Pats.
5. I see a potentially (remember I said that word before anyone jumps down my throat) tough five-game stretch starting with the Giants and ending with the Texans. It probably won't be as daunting as the stretch from late October to early December that New England had this past season, but the Giants may be a little better than some people expect, Buffalo could be dangerous, getting the Broncos and Eagles back-to-back could be troublesome, and the Texans will be a tough out.
6. As a Philadelphia resident, I'm more fired up for that Eagles game in December than some other Patriots fans may be. No telling who their quarterback will be at that point, but it still figures to be a lot of fun to watch if both teams are healthy. Staying in the NFC East, I really, really want to beat the Giants for obvious reasons.
7. A game against the Dolphins on the road in the latter part of the season may make life a little easier for the Pats because they won't be playing in insane heat. Two divisional road games to close out the season may be a little daunting if the race for the division is tight, but it's happening for good reason (go B's).
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