Wednesday, April 23, 2014

New England Patriots on Paper - 2014 Schedule: Patriots open at Miami, close with three straight division foes

Two straight on the road to start the season, three division rivals in a row to end it, and with a literal plethora of Nationally televised night games in between, the New England Patriots 2014 schedule has been released by the National Football League.

New England opens at Miami on September 7th, then travel to Minnesota, luckily for an early autumn day game at their temporary digs at the University of Minnesota before finally playing before the home folks, hosting the Oakland Raiders in Week 3...

...the middle of the season highlighted with a Monday night visit to Kansas City, a Thursday night home duel with the hated Jets and three Sunday night games hosting the Bengals and visiting Indianapolis and San Diego.

New England ends the regular season with successive contests hosting the Dolphins, traveling to New York to play the Jets and then hosting the Bills.

Regular Season

Sunday, September 7th

New England @ Miami Dolphins
Sun Life Stadium - Miami Gardens, Florida - 1:00PM

After running for 156 yards in a November contest with the Dolphins in Foxborough, the Patriots came into the December game with Miami and completely abandoned their running game - and the result was predictable as the Dolphins took a 24-20 win at Sun Life Stadium as unknown and freshly signed safety Michael Thomas broke up a pass intended for Danny Amendola and then picked off a pass in the end zone intended for Austin Collie to secure the Dolphins' win.  Thomas was awarded AFC Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts.

Sunday, September 14th

New England @ Minnesota Vikings
TCF Bank Stadium - Minneapolis, Minnesota- 1:00PM

The Vikings will play all of their home games on the campus of the University of Minnesota at TCF Bank Stadium, which precludes them from hosting any Monday night or Thursday night games until the last two weeks of the NFL season due to conflicts with the scheduling of other events on the campus.

What a lucky break for the Patriots, as they catch the Vikings in the early fall with an early afternoon start.  Since the Vikings are forced to play their home games outdoors for the next two seasons, whomever has to visit Minnesota in late December is going to be very cold.

Sunday, September 21st

Oakland Raiders @ New England
Gillette Stadium - Foxborough, Massachusetts  1:00PM

Two words: Tuck Rule.  Be prepared to hear that over and over and over again leading up to this matchup in Foxborough.  Ask any Raiders' fan about that playoff game back in 2001, when Raiders' cornerback strip-sacked Patriots' quarterback Tom Brady, the fumble recovered by Oakland linebacker Greg Beikert for what would have probably been a game ending turnover, but referee Walt Coleman overturned the call of fumble on the field, saying that Brady's arm was moving forward and deemed in an incomplete pass.

The Patriots were able to get an Adam Venitieri field goal to send the game into overtime, then another to beat the Raiders on their way to the first NFL title in New England franchise history.

Monday, September 29th

New England @ Kansas City Chiefs
Arrowhead Stadium - Kansas City, Missouri - 8:30PM

These teams may not have played each other in a while, but that doesn't mean there's not a history between them - and just the fact that they are playing at Arrowhead is chilling, as it can be one of the more intimidating venues in the league.

Bernard Pollard is no longer with the Chiefs, but was wearing the uniform when he shredded Tom Brady's knee on opening day in 2008 - in fact, there is no one left on that Kansas City team from that fateful day, but New England coach Bill Belichick is good buddies and frequent draft day trading partner with Kansas City coach Andy Reid.

Again, a lucky break for New England as they catch a Chiefs' team in the Fall instead of winter time, when it becomes bitterly cold in Kansas City.

Sunday, October 5th

Cincinnati Bengals @ New England
Gillette Stadium - Foxborough, Massachusetts - 8:30PM

A grudge match of sorts for the Patriots, as they fell to the Bengals 13-7 last season in monsoonal rains in Cincinnati - the dismal offensive performance leading to New England's first loss of the season after a 4-0 start.  The game also marked the end of the season for defensive tackle Tommy Kelly, who suffered a torn ACL one week after nose tackle Vince Wilfork went down with a torn Achilles tendon.

Sunday, October 12th

New England @ Buffalo Bills
Ralph Wilson Stadium - Orchard Park, New York - 1:00PM

The Patriots paid a heavy price for their season opening win in western New York, losing running back Shane Vereen to a broken wrist and Danny Amendola to a completely torn adductor muscle - though both finished the game, Vereen rushing for over 100 yards despite breaking the wrist on the first play of the game and Amendola gutted out 104 receiving yards on 10 catches.

Vereen went on the IR - Eligible to return list and Amendola was never a factor the rest of the season but showed plenty in his Patriots' debut to be excited for his potential, and the Patriots set an ominous tone for the season with the first of many come-from-behind wins.

And again, catching the Bills in Buffalo in early October is much preferable to challenging both them and Old Man Winter in late December...

Thursday, October 16th

New York Jets @ New England
Gillette Stadium - Foxborough, Massachusetts - 8:25PM

Tom Brady had a very public meltdown just before halftime of this contest last season, jumping all over his rookie receivers for zigging instead of zagging, and the Jets' defense held the Patriots' offense to a paltry 232 total yards, but the New England defense forced four turnovers and the Jets' inexplicably turned away from their dominant running game as the Patriots' escaped with a 13-10 victory in a nationally televised Thursday night game.

Looks as if the Patriots and Jets are going to become annual Thursday night rivals..

Sunday, October 26th

Chicago Bears @ New England
Gillette Stadium - Foxborough, Massachusetts - 1:00PM

Just as with the Green Bay Packers, the history that the Patriots have with the Bears is limited to a game every four years, and that dismal Sunday back in 1986 when the Bears and their Super Bowl Shuffle crushed the Patriots by a score of 46-10 in one of the worst blowouts in Super Bowl history.

Going into the game, the Patriots were said to have a rampant drug problem that permeated the team, a story that was told with gusto by the national media, prompting one national writer to quip, "The Bears gave the Patriots their drug problem - they drug them all over the field."

Sunday, November 2nd

Denver Broncos @ New England
Gillette Stadium - Foxborough, Massachusetts - 4:25PM

No build up needed for this game, though it figures to be hyped and over-hyped ad nauseum for the entire week before the contest.  And why not?  After all, the teams split their two meeting last season, the Patriots taking an epic come-from-behind win in Foxborough during the regular season, then the Broncos winning the AFC Title over New England in January.

Sunday, November 9th

Bye Week

Sunday, November 16th

New England @ Indianapolis Colts
Lucas Oil Stadium - Indianapolis, Indiana - 8:30PM

Surprise, surprise, surprise...the Colts and Patriots meet once again - this time in Indianapolis where quarterback Andrew Luck will try to lead his Colts to a payback victory of sorts over a Patriots' team that eliminated them from the playoffs last January, former Patriots' running back LeGarrette Blount enjoying an epic performance against the Indianapolis defense and their kick coverage units.

Sunday, November 23rd

Detroit Lions @ New England
Gillette Stadium - Foxborough, Massachusetts - 1:00PM

The New England offensive line may feel like they owe the Lions' defensive line a good beating for the way the Lions jacked them up in the preseason last year by a score of 40-9 that wasn't even that close.  It was supposed to be the dress rehearsal for both teams, but Brady was pulled at halftime for the sake of his own health as the Lions pummeled the quarterback into submission.

Sunday, November 30th

New England @ Green Bay Packers
Lambeau Field - Green Bay, Wisconsin - 4:25PM

Not an abundance of history between the teams, just a little game called Super Bowl 31, a game where Patriots' quarterback Drew Bledsoe and running back Curtis Martin led a third quarter comeback to get the Patriots to within six after trailing by two touchdowns, Martin taking it in from 18 yards out to make the score 27-21 and give New England all of the momentum - but then Desmond Howard broke their backs with a 99 yard return of the ensuing kickoff and the Patriots' didn't score again.

Will it be deathly cold in Green Bay?  If so, the Patriots can always just think about the warm sun and sandy beaches of San Diego next week...

Sunday, December 7th

New England @ San Diego Chargers
Qualcomm Stadium - San Diego, California - 8:25PM

So long as LaDanian Tomlinson isn't playing, all should be good between these teams.  Tomlinson was part of a team that was eliminated two consecutive years by the Patriots, including a 21-12 win in the 2007 AFC Title game in which Tomlinson essentially quit on his team - and was one of the first players to speak out against Bill Belichick when SpyGate emerged, stating, "I think the Patriots actually live by the saying 'If you're not cheating, you're not trying,'"

recently, there hasn't been much of a history, other than New England signing since-departed Steve Gregory three years ago, and the Patriots losing third-down back Danny Woodhead to the Chargers last offseason.  The Chargers' offense will be a stiff test for New England's new-look defensive secondary with a revitalized Phillip Rivers tossing the most deep balls in the league last season.

Sunday, December 14th

Miami Dolphins @ New England
Gillette Stadium - Foxborough, Massachusetts - 1:00PM

The Patriots beat the Dolphins in a tightly contested struggle in mid-November last season, coming back from a 17-3 halftime deficit to outscore Miami 24-0 in the second half as part of an amazing six-week stretch where they opened each contest with poor offensive performances, then came screaming back into the games to win going away.  The New England running game gouged the Miami defense for 156 yards while quarterback Tom Brady suffered one of his worst days as a pro, barely hitting the century mark.

Sunday, December 21st

New England @ New York Jets
MetLife Stadium - East Rutherford, New Jersey - 1:00PM

The New England defense surrendered 177 yards on the ground to the potent Jets' running attack and the offense was limited to 295 total yards, but as had been a theme with the Patriots all season, they were resilient enough force the Jets into overtime, but a pair of personal fouls in the extra period - including one on rookie defensive tackle Chris Jones for unsportsman-like conduct for using the backs of his defensive teammates to launch himself in the air to try and block a long field goal attempt - doomed New England to their second loss of the season.

New York kicker Nick Folk missed the long field goal attempt which would have given New England excellent field position close to midfield, but Jones' penalty gave the Jets mew life and three plays later Folk nailed a 42 yarder to end the game.

Sunday, December 28th

Buffalo Bills @ New England
Gillette Stadium - Foxborough, Massachusetts - 1:00PM

The Patriots closed out their season on a roll, particularly on the ground as their power running game accounted for 267 yards as New England dominated the Bills.  As usual, the Bills racked up plenty of rushing yards themselves, but their defense had no answer for LeGarrette Blount, who ran wild for the second week in a row.

Previously released Preseason schedule

Thursday, August 7th
New England @ Washington Redskins
FedEx Field - Landover, Maryland - 7:30pm

Friday, August 15th
Philadelphia Eagles @ New England
Gillette Stadium - Foxborough, Massachusetts  - 7:30pm

Friday, August 22nd
Carolina Panthers @ New England
Gillette Stadium - Foxborough, Massachusetts  - 7:30pm

Thursday, August 28th
New England @ New York Giants
MetLife Stadium - East Rutherford, New Jersey - 7:30pm

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