With the 2011 regular season fast-approaching, it's time to do a breakdown of the upcoming schedule for the Patriots. Last week, I made predictions on the first four games of the season and had New England rolling to a 8-0 start. Here is my breakdown of Games 9-12.
Week 10 - Away vs. New York Jets
The Patriots lost this game last year, and Bill Belichick rarely falls into the same trap twice. I think the Patriots take the opportunity to slam the door shut on the AFC East by completing their sweep of the Jets. When the Patriots are focused, they almost always answer the call. I don't see them looking past New York one bit this season and will take care of business.
Predicted Record: 9-0
Week 11 - Home vs. Kansas City
The last time these two teams faced off, Tom Brady's ACL was torn to shreds and a potential Super Bowl run was derailed. This time, Matt Cassel won't be leading his team to victory.
Predicted Record: 10-0
Week 12 - Away vs. Philadelphia
Looking at this schedule, I was tempted to go for another 16-0 season in my predictions. I think the chances of that happening are slim, but I do believe it's a possibility with this team and this slate of 16 games. Despite tough matchups with the Jets, Steelers, and Colts, there are very few, if any, games where I don't like the Patriots chances of winning. If the Pats take care of business each week, there's no reason they can't run the table. However, if there's one game that gives me pause, it's this road trip to Philly. Michael Vick, a top-notch secondary to blanket Brady's receivers, and hostile environment... It pains me to say it, but I have to predict the L here.
Predicted Record: 10-1
Week 13 - Home vs. Indianapolis
Will Peyton Manning be playing? And if so, will it be the real Peyton Manning? It's hard to say at this point, so I have to back the Patriots and Tom Brady over Kerry Collins. As much as I hate Manning and the Colts, this isn't the way I wanted this to go down. Could this annual November slugfest actually end up getting flexed off of Sunday Night?
Predicted Record: 11-1\