While many wondered if this day would ever come, the Patriots will kick off their preseason schedule with the Jaguars on Thursday night.
New England has re-stocked and re-loaded this extended offseason and it appears as though Bill Belichick's Pats will, once again, be a force to reckon with. But how many games will the Pats win this regular season, after bagging 14 wins in 2010 and 10 in 2009?
With three of their first four games on the road — including their season opener in Miami on Monday Night Football, the Pats will have their work cut out for them out of the gate. Three of their next four games after that will be played at Foxboro, but they're against the Jets, Cowboys and Giants, respectively — with an away game in Pittsburgh mixed somewhere in between. Once again, not much breathing room yet for Tom Brady's crew.
While the first half of their season may look like it couldn't get any harder, just check out who the Pats have to open up the second half of their 2011 campaign. In Weeks 10-13, the Pats: travel to the Jets, host the Chiefs, travel to the Eagles and host the Colts. As if that wasn't hard enough, their game against the Chiefs is a Monday Night Football contest, meaning they'll have a short week of preparation for Michael Vick's Eagles.
A relatively light last month of action will see the Pats heading to both the Redskins and Broncos before hosting the Dolphins and Bills.