Patriots still on the marquee?

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The Patriots may still be among the most respected clubs in the NFL, but by the looks of the schedule, it seems that — five years removed from the last world title around here — the team’s star has dimmed a little bit.

New England has four primetime games on its 2010 slate. Which is a lot, to be sure.

But it’s interesting to note that the Patriots aren’t among the five teams to max out with five primetime games. The Eagles, Jets, Cowboys, Colts, and Steelers made up the group.

That doesn’t mean there isn’t intrigue on the slate. SI.com’s Don Banks put together a list of 17 “must-see games” for 2010 and the Patriots were involved in four of the Top 14 — games against the Colts (No. 2), Jets (No. 8), Vikings (No. 11), and Ravens (No. 14). Even better, for you guys, is that all those games are at home.

The Patriots, of course, still could wind up maxing out, with flex games late in the year. And to do that, they’ll have to win a bunch, which is how they became a brand-name team in the first place.

But for now, it’s interesting to read the tea leaves on how the league perceives New England’s drawing power.

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