Patriots Must Overcome Another Difficult Schedule to Repeat As AFC East Champions

The New England Patriots have a tough schedule in 2010, but that’s nothing new for the defending AFC East champions.

Due to the NFL scheduling system, which pins the previous year’s division winners against the other division winners in the conference, the Patriots have the difficult task of playing against the Indianapolis Colts and San Diego Chargers in 2010, while the rest of the AFC East does not.

The Patriots — and the entire AFC East, actually — will also be matched up against the NFC North this year, arguably the most improved division in the NFC.

New England will host Minnesota in Week 8 and Green Bay in Week 15, and will travel to Detroit in Week 12 and Chicago in Week 14.

Compare that to the Chargers — and the rest of the AFC West — who get to play four games against the dismal NFC West, the least-promising division in the conference.

The Patriots know that playing the best comes with the territory of being one of the best. Since the NFL started its current scheduling alignment in 2002, New England has won six out of eight possible AFC titles.

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