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Inside the numbers; schedule highlights

TOUGH SCHEDULE
The Patriots' 2007 schedule is the third hardest in the NFL based on their opponents' 2006 winning percentage. Patriots opponents had a cumulative record of 137-119 last season, just one game behind the opponents of the Buffalo Bills and Oakland Raiders, who are tied for the hardest schedule (138-118 opponents 2006 record).

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE PATRIOTS' 2007 SCHEDULE

  • Eight of the 16 games will be against 2006 playoff teams.
  • The Patriots will play the teams that were seeded in each of the top three spots in the 2006 AFC playoffs (SD, BAL, IND).
  • Ten of the 16 games will be against teams that posted records of .500 or better in 2006.
  • The Patriots will have rematches against each of their 2006 playoff foes: hosting the New York Jets and San Diego Chargers while traveling to play the Jets and the Indianapolis Colts.
  • The Patriots tied the best road record in team history in 2006 (7-1), and will be put to the test on the road in 2007. Six of the Patriots' eight road games will be against teams that finished the 2006 season with a record of .500 or better and five road games will be against 2006 playoff teams. 2007 MILESTONES

1
The number of victories Bill Belichick needs to reach 125 wins in his head coaching career.

3
The number of touchdown passes Tom Brady needs to reach the 150-touchdowns mark for his career.

6
The number of victories the Patriots need to reach 150 victories (including regular season and playoff games) since Robert Kraft purchased the team in 1994.

20
Number of passing touchdowns Brady needs to pass Drew Bledsoe (166) and move into second on the franchise's career passing touchdowns list behind leader Steve Grogan (182).

72
The number of yards rushing that Kevin Faulk needs to move ahead of Mosi Tatupu (2,415), Leonard Russell (2,437) and Craig James (2,469) into 10th place on the Patriots all-time rushing list.

8
The number of receptions Faulk needs to pass Jim Colclough and move into seventh place on the Patriots' all-time receptions list. Faulk currently ranks eighth with 276 career catches and is the franchise's all-time leader in receptions by a running back.

0.5
The number of sacks that Richard Seymour needs to reach the 30-sack mark for his career and become the 13th player in Patriots history to record 30 or more sacks in a New England uniform.

1.5
The number of sacks that Tedy Bruschi needs to reach the 30- sack mark for his career and become the 13th player in Patriots history to record 30 or more sacks in a New England uniform.

4
The number of interceptions Asante Samuel needs to reach 20 for his career. He would become the 11th player in team history to record 20 or more interceptions for the Patriots.

STREAKING

4
The number of consecutive AFC East titles the Patriots have won.

4
The number of consecutive seasons in which the Patriots have won a playoff game. No other team has had a victory in more than two consecutive seasons.

5
The number of consecutive Pro Bowl teams to which Richard Seymour has been voted.

6
The number of consecutive seasons in which the Patriots have recorded nine or more wins, the longest such streak in the NFL.

8
The number of consecutive Patriots' overtime victories, the longest current streak in the NFL.

32
The number of consecutive seasons Bill Belichick has coached in the NFL, the longest coaching tenure in the league.

108
The number of consecutive games, including playoffs, that Tom Brady has started at quarterback.

THE HEAD COACH

87-39
Bill Belichick's overall record as head coach of the Patriots, including the regular season and the playoffs, the best head coaching record in franchise history.

82-28
Bill Belichick's record since 2001, making him the winningest head coach in over the last six seasons.

13-3Coach Belichick's career record in playoff games. His winning percentage of .813 ranks second in NFL history to Vince Lombardi (9-1, .900), and his 13 total playoff wins are the fifth highest total of all time.

12The number of division titles Bill Belichick has contributed to as a coach, including five of the last six AFC East titles as head coach of the Patriots.

9
The number of head coaches who have won three or more NFL championships since the postseason era began in 1933. Belichick joined that elite club with a victory in Super Bowl XXXIX.

.745
Coach Belichick's winning percentage in regular-season and playoff games since 2001 (82-28).

THE KRAFT ERA

144The number of regular-season and playoff victories the Patriots have earned since Robert Kraft purchased the team in 1994. That mark is the highest total in the NFL over that span.

.629
The Patriots' NFL-best winning percentage in regular-season and playoff games since Robert Kraft bought the team in 1994. The team has recorded a 144-85 record in that span after going 19- 61 in the five years prior (1989-93).

4
The number of times the Patriots have appeared in the Super Bowl since Robert Kraft bought the team in 1994. No other team has made more than two Super Bowl appearances in that span.

15
The number of playoff games the Patriots have won since Robert Kraft bought the team in 1994. That mark leads the NFL over that span (Pittsburgh, 12).

9
The number of playoff seasons in which the Patriots have qualified for the playoffs since Robert Kraft bought the team in 1994. That mark leads the NFL over that span.

80-33
The Patriots' record at home since 1994, including regular season and postseason games, a winning percentage of .707.

7
The number of AFC East titles the Patriots have won since 1996. No other NFL team has won more than five division titles over that span.

139The number of consecutive regular-season, preseason and playoff games that have been sold out in Foxborough. The streak began with the 1994 season.

284
The number of consecutive Patriots games that have been televised locally, including this week's game.

THIS WEEK IN PATRIOTS HISTORY SEPTEMBER 3-9

Sept. 9, 1960 -- In the first game in Patriots history, the Boston Patriots fell to the Denver Broncos, 13-10 at Boston University Field. Gino Cappelletti nailed a 34-yard field goal for the first points in team history and quarterback Butch Songin connected with receiver Jim Colclough for the first touchdown in team history.

Sept. 7, 1986 -- The Patriots' 1985 AFC Championship Banner was raised at Sullivan Stadium in a pregame ceremony prior to a 33-3 victory in the 1986 season opener against the Indianapolis Colts.

Sept. 4, 1994 -- In the Patriots' first regular-season game following Robert Kraft's purchase of the team, Drew Bledsoe sets franchise opening day records with 421 yards and four touchdown passes in a 39-35 loss to the Dolphins in Miami.

Sept. 9, 2002 -- In the Grand Opening of Gillette Stadium, the Patriots defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers, 30-14, on Monday Night Football. New England's Super Bowl XXXVI banner is unveiled before the game.

Sept. 9, 2004 -- The Patriots opened the NFL season with a 27- 24 victory over Indianapolis in a Thursday night prime-time rematch of the 2003 AFC Championship Game. Robert Kraft unveiled the Super Bowl XXXVIII championship banner as part of a star-studded pregame ceremony that included musical performances from Elton John, Toby Keith, Destiny's Child and Lenny Kravitz.

Sept. 8, 2005 -- New England unveiled its Super Bowl XXXIX championship Banner prior to a Thursday night season-opening victory over the Oakland Raiders. A nationally-televised pregame show included a performance from Green Day at Gillette Stadium.

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