As we inch closer to the start of the 2010 season, I thought it would be a good idea to make some quick analysis of the schdule and make some predictions about how the Patriots will fare in each of their 16 constests. We took a look at Weeks 1-4 two weeks go, and Weeks 6-9 last week. This time around, I'll be doing a brief preview on the Patriots games from Week 10-13.
As a quick recap, here's how I called each of the first four games. (You can find the full article here.)
Week 1: Home vs. Cincinatti - W
Week 2: Away vs. New York Jets - W
Week 3: Home vs. Buffalo - W
Week 4: Away vs. Miami - L
Week 5: BYE
Week 6: Home vs. Baltimore - W
Week 7: Away vs. San Diego - L
Week 8: Home vs. Minnesota - W
Week 9: Away vs. Cleveland - L
Week 10 - Away vs. Pittsburgh
The Steelers are always a big-ticket game for the Patriots. Fortunately, more often than not it's the Pats who have the Steeler's number. This game is going to be a battle as there's lots of bad blood between these teams. A road game in Pittsburgh is never an easy task, but given the level of controversy and uncertainty that's surrounded the Steelers this off-season, I'm going to give the edge to New England.
Predicted Record: 6-3
Week 11 - Home vs. Indianapolis
It pains me to say this more than you'll ever know, but the tables have been turned in this rivalry. After a dominating stretch by New England, the Colts have laid the wood down, taking five of six from the Patriots. You can chalk it up to the "rule changes" which were made several years ago to help out the Colts, or Brady's injury, or Peyton Manning's maturity, but regardless of the cause, the Colts clearly have the upper hand in these battles. In what seems like the first time in forever, the Colts will be coming to Foxboro instead of the Pats heading out to Nap City. Still, until the Patriots prove themselves, I can't help but go with the Colt's making it 6 of 7.
Predicted Record: 6-4
Week 12 - Away vs. Detroit
As I've said before, the 2010 schedule is about as difficult as any that I can remember for the Patriots. It's absolutely imperative for the Pats to beat the weaker teams they'll face, and the Lions just may be the weakest of them all. As they did eight years ago, the Patriots will play this game on Thanksgiving Day. They'll have only three days between their throw-down with Indianapolis and this game, which could turn this potential "layup" of a game, into something unexpected. You know what they say: "On any given Turkey Day..."
Sorry. Awful joke.
Predicted Record: 7-4
Week 13 - Home vs. New York Jets
Whatever damage is potentially done by the short week caused by the Thanksgiving Day game will be more than made up for by the unofficial bye week it will create for the Patriots before they play the Jets. The AFC East title may very well hang in the balance during this late-season matchup, and the Patriots need any advantage they can get. If you give Bill Belichick more than a week to prepare, the odds are clearly on his side. With the game being at home, I have to pick the Patriots here.
Predicted Record: 8-4
Steelers, Colts, Jets... Just another brutal stretch for New England. If it seems like this is the third time that the Patriots been handed three really difficult games out of four, it's because they have. 8-4 at this point may be a bit optimistic. The good news is that even if the Pats don't live up to my expectations, the last quarter of the season is by far the easiest. I'll cover those games in a few days. Thanks for reading.