Prepare to stay up late this season, New England Patriots fans.
The Patriots have five prime-time games on their 2014 schedule. They play the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 4 on a Monday night, Cincinnati Bengals in Week 5 on a Sunday night, New York Jets in Week 7 on a Thursday night, Indianapolis Colts in Week 11 on a Sunday night and San Diego Chargers in Week 14 on a Sunday night. NBC’s Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth might as well be the Patriots’ home broadcasters this season.
The Patriots’ bye week comes at the perfect time in Week 10, however. They will play the Chicago Bears in Week 8 and Denver Broncos in Week 9 before they will have a full week to prepare for the Colts in Week 11. The Patriots play the Detroit Lions in Week 12, the Green Bay Packers in Week 13 and the Chargers in Week 14.
The Patriots seemingly have an easy end to their schedule, with AFC East opponents in Weeks 15 through 17.
The Patriots also have the advantage against the Miami Dolphins when it comes to weather this year. The Patriots will travel to Miami in Week 1, when they’re already accustomed to the hot New England summer. The Dolphins will have to travel up north for a cold Gillette Stadium matchup in Week 15.
The Patriots will play the Buffalo Bills before their short-turnaround Thursday night game against the Jets in Week 7.
Newly signed cornerback Brandon Browner will have to sit out the first four games of the season, when the Patriots face the Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, Oakland Raiders and Chiefs. The Patriots luck out, since none of those teams are known to have strong passing offenses.