Patriots Draw Favorable Weather Forecasts for Two Games Against Dolphins and Nine Other Scheduling Quirks

Patriots Draw Favorable Weather Forecasts for Two Games Against Dolphins and Nine Other Scheduling QuirksStatistically, the Patriots have the easiest schedule in the NFL in 2012, at least in terms of their opponents' winning percentage from last season.

As such, there are definitely some favorable matchups on the docket, but it's not exactly absent of some difficult spots.

Of course, the Patriots play four playoff teams from a year ago, and they've also got four games in prime time. But here are 10 other tidbits you may not have noticed when initially glancing at New England's schedule.

1. The Patriots won't play a single opponent that is coming off a bye week, which is a significant advantage from a preparation standpoint.

2. After visiting the Jets on Thanksgiving, the Patriots host the Dolphins in Week 13. Since the Dolphins are coming off a Sunday game, the Patriots will have three extra days of preparation.

3. The Patriots host the Colts in Week 11, and the Colts will be coming off a Thursday game, which will give them three extra days to get ready.

4. The Patriots host the Texans in Week 14. It will be the Texans' third consecutive road game.

5. The Patriots and Jets will play each other on a short week for Thanksgiving. The Patriots will be coming off a home game against the Colts, and the Jets will be coming off a road game against the Rams. In terms of physicality, the Colts and Rams were two of the NFL's softest teams in 2011, but they've added much more fiery coaches for 2012.

6. The Patriots play back-to-back road games twice — in Weeks 3 (Ravens) and 4 (Bills), and Weeks 12 (Jets) and 13 (Dolphins).

7. The Patriots play back-to-back home games twice — in Weeks 10 (Bills) and 11 (Colts), and Weeks 14 (Texans) and 15 (49ers).

8. The Patriots got a very favorable draw against the Dolphins. They visit Miami on Dec. 2 and host the Dolphins on Dec. 30. That's about as fortunate as the Patriots can hope for, in terms of climate.

9. Trips to London can cause distractions. However, the Patriots host the Jets before heading across the pond, so they won't have any issues staying focused.

10. The Patriots have their bye in Week 9 before hosting the Bills in Week 10. The Patriots played the Bills after their bye in four straight seasons from 2004-07.

Have a question for Jeff Howe? Send it to him via Twitter at @jeffphowe or send it here. He will pick a few questions to answer every week for his mailbag.

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