The New England Patriots preseason schedule was released yesterday.  The Pats will be home against Jacksonville August 13, at Tampa Bay on August 20, at Detroit on August 27, and home against the Giants on September 1.  The last game is on a Thursday and all the rest are at this point scheduled to be played on Saturdays – though that often later changes to a Thursday or Friday – and the game against the Lions is a national broadcast on CBS.

 

Apparently any idea of an 18-game season this year is done for, although these schedules can certainly be manipulated – although if I am not mistaken the more likely plan was for that to be implemented for the 2012 season rather than in 2011.

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The Patriots have not played a regular season game in Tampa Bay since 1997; they’re the only team to not host the Pats since Brady took over as the starting quarterback.  I wonder if that had anything to do with the Pats playing there or if that is just a coincidence.

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Tampa Bay is going to be the team on this year’s Hard Knocks, so the Patriots will probably get some airtime on the HBO show.

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Speaking of the Bucs, there was also an announcement that they will be playing the Bears in the annual London game.  Tampa Bay will be the home team, making it the second time in four years they have done that.  I know they have had problems selling out, but I find it really odd that they would be willing to give up a home game again, especially after coming off a winning season.  The only thing I can figure is that the NFL must be giving an incredible $weetheart deal to teams willing to walk away from a home game to play there.

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Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz is friendly with Bill Belichick.  Schwartz worked with the Cleveland Browns during Belichick’s last three seasons there.  He was in the player personnel department, as both a pro scout.  He also assisted Belichick with one of his favorite tasks – breaking down film – as well as scouting reports.  I’m predicting that the Lions and Pats will have combined practices the same way the Pats did with the Falcons and Saints last year.

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I don’t know if it means anything or not, but officially three of the four preseason games do not have specific dates.

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If my math is right it appears to me that final cuts will be made September 3rd, and then the first Sunday of the regular season will be September 11th – assuming of course that the labor negotiations are worked out well before those dates.

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As PatsFan FCB02062 pointed out, fans at Gillette do get a bit of the short end of the stick with this schedule.  Starters tend to play the least in the fourth preseason game, followed by the first game; they get the most playing time in the third game and then the second game.  The Pats’ first and fourth games are at home, while other two are on the road.

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