By Matt Noonan
While the NFL remains currently locked out and talks between both parties, (owners and players) won’t resume until May 16, let’s forgo thoughts on not having football this September and break down the New England Patriots 2011 schedule instead.
Week 1 – New England at Miami: The Patriots will open up their 2011 campaign under the bright Miami, Florida lights, (cue Kanye West’s song, “All of the Lights”) but also, appear on the very first Monday Night Football game of the season. Remember what happened when New England began the ’09 season on the “primetime stage,” they almost lost.
New England 30 – Miami 20/ [1-0]
Week 2 – San Diego at New England: During the ’07 season, the Patriots welcomed the Bolts for a Sunday Night affair during week two, but guess what happened? Tom Brady and the New England defense tore apart Philip Rivers, as well as LaDainian Tomlinson for their second win that season.
New England 24 – San Diego 17/ [2-0]
Week 3 – New England at Buffalo: Let’s pretend that the Bills selected quarter Cam Newton from Auburn, which leaves us to wonder, what do you expect the Patriots head coach Bill Belichick to do in this situation? Probably, as Andy Lindberg would say, “sack-lunch” him.
New England 28 – Buffalo 6/ [3-0]
Week 4 – New England at Oakland: How happy will Richard Seymour be to see his former team invade “Raider Nation?” Who knows, but this will be the Patriots first loss of the season.
Oakland 24 – New England 20/ [3-1]
Week 5 – New York Jets at New England: Belichick will be licking his chops once Rex Ryan takes one step onto the Gillette Stadium turf. What do you think Rex will say to Belichick? “I want to kiss your rings!”
New England 35 – New York Jets 17/ [4-1]
Week 6 – Dallas at New England: Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was not pleased with his teams efforts during the ’10 season, but against Bob Kraft’s team, expect this to be more than a game, instead, it will be a chess match between the leagues two top owners.
New England 23 – Dallas 20/ [5-1]
Week 7 – BYE WEEK
Week 8 – New England at Pittsburgh: Hopefully, the Patriots will have made the proper adjustments during their bye week, but against a physical and talented Pittsburgh Steelers team, especially in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, just check the box where it says, “loss.”
Pittsburgh 28 – New England 23/ [5-2]
Week 9 – New York Giants at New England: These two teams haven’t met during the regular season since ’07, but after the Patriots officially clinched the best record in football, New York beat them in the Super Bowl. This will certainly be a game that all Patriots fans won’t want to miss.
New England 17 – New York Giants 14/ [6-2]
Week 10 – New England at New York Jets: Consider this game part two of the New York-Boston beat down. The Patriots will finally sweep a season series against Rex Ryan and Mark Sanchez, “cha ching.”
New England 28 – New York 24/ [7-2]
Week 11 – Kansas City at New England: Remember in ’08 when Tom Brady suffered a season ending injury and Matt Cassel had to play quarterback? Consider this a New England reunion, as Cassel and Romeo Crennel invade Foxborough.
Kanas City 26 – New England 20/ [7-3]
Week 12 – New England at Philadelphia: Expect Michael Vick to run all over the Patriots defense, as well as throw three or four touchdowns, which will make all fantasy owners happy, even if they aren’t Eagles fans.
Philadelphia 28 – New England 16/ [7-4]
Week 13 – Indianapolis at New England: During the ’07 season, Tom Brady passed Peyton Manning as the single season touchdown leader. Could Brady and Manning possibly be chasing any records at this point in the season? Possibly, right?
New England 34 – Indianapolis 30/ [8-4]
Week 14 – New England at Washington: The schedule begins to get easier and against the Redskins, they’ll win.
New England 31 –Washington 14/ [9-4]
Week 15 – New England at Denver: Who knows how good Denver will be this season, but while the expectations are high, especially now that John Elway in the saddle, expect number seven to suit up for the horses and lead his team to victory.
Denver 24 – New England 18/ [9-5]
Week 16 – Miami at New England: Playing on Christmas Eve should be fun, well, not exactly for the Patriots, as the Dolphins “wild-cat” formation will be on display all day.
New England 23 – Miami 19/ [10-5]
Week 17 – Buffalo at New England: By now, Belichick will at least know where the Patriots stand in the AFC playoff standings, so consider this a win for Buffalo.
Buffalo 18 – New England 10/ [10-6]