Week 1 - Chiefs Not much to consider here except for health coming out of the pre-season. Chiefs are young and counting on inexperienced players. LJ is still tough but their OL...not so much. Nice to open at home. Week 2 - at Jets Jets coming off road game at Miami and looking forward to trip to SD. Get the road game out of the way before new Jets additions have much time to gel. Week 3 - Dolphins Fins coming off road trip to Arizona and looking forward to their bye week. With a good number of new players on defense, the Pats really couldn't ask for a more favorable opening stretch to work out the kinks. Week 4 - BYE Serious Suckage...way too early and then the long 13+ week slog to the playoffs. Sure seems like a #1 or #2 seed is going to be a requirement considering the lack of an off week. Less Serious Suckage...good time to evaluate the new guys. Especially in the secondary, adjustments may be needed. Week 5 - at 49ers Niners coming off trip to New Orleans. With the Pats coming off a bye, SF may actually be the more road weary team. Pats have to avoid looking ahead to... Week 6 - at Chargers (Sunday Night) It took a while, but the schedule starts to heat up. If the Pats stay out west, travel won't be an issue but the logistics are still a pain. Not a piece of cake for the Bolts though as they are coming off trips to Oakland and Miami and then looking forward to shuffling off to Buffalo and New Orleans. While back-to-back west coast games is a drag, that travel schedule for SD is a killer. Also remember this is week 6, which is the last week for the PUP players. If Gates starts out on PUP, he misses this game. Week 7 - Broncos (Monday Night) Seems weird to face the Broncos in Foxboro. Denver travels after hosting TB and JAX and then gets their bye. Extra day is nice coming off the west coast swing. Week 8 - Rams The Rams travel after facing the Cowboys. Rams don't want to slip up too much mid-season since the NFC West is certainly winnable. Pats coming off a short week but both games are at home so that shouldn't be much of an issue. Another potential trap game as the Pats get ready for the showdown... Week 9 - at Colts (Sunday Night) Pats coming off 2 home games and looking forward to 2 more. Just like last year, Indy faces the Pats in week 3 of their mid-season death march (at GB, at TEN, NE, at PIT, HOU, at SD, at CLE). The Colts need to win enough of these games to get some playoff games at their shiny new airplane hanger...but they also need to avoid accumulating all the boo-boo's that helped to derail their season last year. Side note...considering the 2006 AFCC game, this has the potential to be the first game with extreme heat. Pats need to get hydrated during the week. Just saying... Week 10 - Bills Kinda late in the year to be playing the closest team in your division standings (yeah Jets fan...I said it). No real schedule quirks to speak of. Week 11 - Jets (Thursday Night) Only question here is if the Jets are still in contention, will NFL Network be force to simulcast the game again? Might I suggest CBS since they may need "CSI: NY" to analyze the remains of the Jets team after this beatdown. Short week for both teams with the Pats getting the advantage since they were already home and the Jets have to travel. Week 12 - at Dolphins Nice long week to spend a couple of extra days on South Beach (in late November no less). The Fins should be on their 3rd quarterback and Parcell's last nerve. This will be the Fins 3rd straight home game so they can be surrounded by family and friends as they bid a fond farewell to the 2008 season. Week 13 - Steelers Pats get to work off the turkey and stuffing by pounding on the Steelers. Pitt has a horrific schedule and this stretch (IND, SD, CIN, at NE, DAL, at BAL) will likely determine their playoff fate. If the Steelers are healthy, they may very well be desperate for a win which could make them dangerous even at Foxboro. Week 14 - at Seahawks (Sunday Night) West coast swing #2 begins and going to Seattle for a primetime game is probably not the best place to start it...especially after what should be a spirited and physical game against the Steelers. The Hawks will be coming off their own rough game at Dallas though. That bye week seems like a long time ago so this game has lots of warning signs attached. Week 15 - at Raiders Would assume the Pats stay out west for this one so travel shouldn't be a problem. Raiders coming off a tough road game at the Bolts. Oakland should be well into their 2009 ticket drive at this point so the Black Hole (for football careers one would assume) shouldn't be a big deal. Week 16 - Cardinals Back home to face a Cardinals team that could still be in contention. A long road trip and then facing the prospect of traveling all the way back to Arizona to face the rival Seahawks may be too much. The weather could also be a factor for the desert birds. This is about the time you want to be wrapping up playoff seeding so the Pats will likely be fully focused on this game. Week 17 - at Bills Bills coming off trips to the Jets and Denver. This game likely depends on how settled the playoff seeding is. This is Buffalo's super bowl (remember the Dallas game at Buffalo last year?) so they should be able to put up a nice effort. If the Pats have something to play for, I don't see the Bills as the team to stand in their way (at least not yet). If the Pats have nothing to play for, this becomes a pre-season game for them. Overall I'm not sure how the schedule could have played out much better. Sure the 2 west coast swings are harsh, but the only other times they have to travel are to NY, Indy, Miami and Buffalo. When you only have to cross the Mississippi twice in a season, you can't complain too much. Two of the tougher road games (at SD and at Indy) are mitigated some by the fact that SD will be traveling so much and Indy will be in the middle of the roughest part of their schedule. There are trap games (at SF and STL) and the Seattle game should be particularly tough. Looks to me like a schedule that should yield a top 2 seed in the AFC. That shouldn't be a surprise to anyone.