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Patriots 2012 schedule announced: Four prime-time games, including Thanksgiving vs. Jets

Posted by Shalise Manza Young, Globe Staff  April 17, 2012 07:49 PM

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In its infinite quest to make everything league-related into a major event, the NFL has finally, and to great fanfare, released the 2012 regular season schedule.

We've known for some time which teams the Patriots would be facing, but now we know when and in what order they'll be facing those 13 opponents.

Some analysis/highlights:

* The Pats are currently scheduled to play four prime-time games. Remember that could change with late-season flex scheduling, but no team can play more than five regular-season prime-time games, so only one more could be added.

* New England will return to the traditional 1 p.m. game slot. After playing just four at that time last year, the Pats currently have nine 1 p.m. kickoffs this season.

* As is customary for teams playing in the London game, which will be played on Oct. 28, the Pats' bye week is the week after that game with the Rams. A Week 9 bye is right in the middle of the season, which is good timing.

* New England plays three of its first four games on the road, opening in Tennessee (where twins Devin and Jason McCourty will see their teams face off for the first time) on Sept. 9, then to Baltimore for a Sunday Night game on Sept. 23 and in Buffalo on Sept. 30. Considering the Pats' final two preseason games are on the road, they'll be away from Gillette Stadium for five of six games.

* The Pats' early travel is rewarded with home games in three of the final four weeks of the season, against Houston on Dec. 10 (their lone Monday night game), a Sunday Night game against San Francisco on Dec. 16, and wrapping up the season against the Dolphins for the second straight year (Dec. 30).

* After he missed last year's game due to a neck injury, Peyton Manning will renew his rivalry with Tom Brady on Oct. 7 at Gillette. But Manning is now a Bronco, so the game will also be a rematch of the AFC Divisional round playoff game Denver and New England played in January.

* For the second time in three years, New England will play on the road on Thanksgiving. This time it is against the rival Jets, in prime time.

2012 PATRIOTS REGULAR SEASON

Date............................Opponent....................Time.........................Affiliate.........Network
Sunday, Sept. 9..........at Tennessee.................1:00 p.m. ET........WBZ...............CBS
Sunday, Sept. 16........Arizona...........................1:00 p.m. ET........WFXT..............FOX
Sunday, Sept. 23........at Baltimore...................8:20 p.m. ET........WHDH............NBC
Sunday, Sept. 30........at Buffalo........................1:00 p.m. ET........WBZ...............CBS
Sunday, Oct. 7............Denver.............................4:15 p.m. ET.......WBZ...............CBS
Sunday, Oct. 14.........at Seattle........................4:05 p.m. ET........WBZ...............CBS
Sunday, Oct. 21..........New York Jets................4:15 p.m. ET........WBZ...............CBS
Sunday, Oct. 28.........at St. Louis (London)......1:00 p.m. ET........WBZ...............CBS
Sunday, Nov. 4............BYE WEEK
Sunday, Nov. 11..........Buffalo.............................1:00 p.m. ET........WBZ..............CBS
Sunday, Nov. 18..........Indianapolis....................1:00 p.m. ET........WBZ..............CBS*
Thursday, Nov. 22.......at New York Jets.............8:20 p.m. ET.......WHDH...........NBC
Sunday, Dec. 2.............at Miami..........................1:00 p.m. ET........WBZ.............CBS*
Monday, Dec. 10..........Houston..........................8:30 p.m. ET........WCVB...........ESPN
Sunday, Dec. 16...........San Francisco................8:20 p.m. ET........WHDH...........NBC*
Sunday, Dec. 23...........at Jacksonville...............1:00 p.m. ET........WBZ..............CBS*
Sunday, Dec. 30...........Miami..............................1:00 p.m. ET........WBZ..............CBS*

2012 PATRIOTS PRE-SEASON

Date.........................Opponent..............................Time....................TV Coverage
Thurs., Aug. 9.........New Orleans Saints..............7:30 p.m. ET.......Patriots Preseason Network
Mon., Aug. 20..........Philadelphia Eagles..............8:00 p.m. ET.......ESPN (Nationally Televised)
Fri., Aug. 24............at Tampa Bay Buccaneers.....7:30 p.m. ET.......Patriots Preseason Network
Wed., Aug. 29..........at New York Giants...............7:30 p.m. ET.......Patriots Preseason Network

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