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Patriots 2009 schedule announced

The National Football League announced the 2009 regular season schedule. The Patriots will play third most difficult schedule in the NFL and will be featured in at least five nationally televised games in 2009, including the preseason.


FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - The National Football League announced the 2009 regular season schedule tonight and the New England Patriots and their fans learned that the team will be featured in at least five nationally televised games in 2009, including the preseason, and three of CBS's marquee matchups airing at 4:15 p.m. ET.

The Patriots' 2009 opponents had an aggregate record of 151-105 (.590) in 2008, which ranks as the third most difficult schedule in 2009 and the most difficult lineup the Patriots have had since Bill Belichick became head coach in 2000. Thirteen of the Patriots' 16 games this year will be against teams that finished 2008 with a winning percentage of .500 or better, including seven games against opponents who won at least 11 games last season. Of the eight opponents the Patriots will host at Gillette Stadium this year, five of them qualified for the playoffs in 2008.

The Patriots kick off the regular season at Gillette Stadium hosting a prime time matchup against the Buffalo Bills on ESPN's Monday Night Football. It will be the first of three "Legacy Weekends" in which the Patriots will appear this year. The legacy weekends will feature matchups between the eight charter franchises of the American Football League (AFL) all of which are celebrating their 50th anniversary seasons in 2009. The Patriots will don new red "throwback" jerseys that replicate the uniforms worn by the 1963 Boston Patriots, the first Patriots team to win a division title.

The Patriots' season premiere on ESPN is the first of four Patriots regular season games to be featured in prime time. The other three will be played on the road and are scheduled during a four-game stretch in the second half of the season. That stretch will begin Week 10, when the Patriots travel to Indianapolis (11/15) for the fourth consecutive season to battle the Colts. The game will be featured on NBC's Sunday Night Football, the first of two Patriots appearances on NBC. After hosting the New York Jets (11/22), the Patriots will travel to New Orleans (11/29) for another ESPN Monday Night Football matchup. It will be the Patriots' first game in New Orleans since Feb. 3, 2002 when the Patriots defeated the St. Louis Rams in one of the greatest upsets and dramatic finishes in Super Bowl history. Six days after their trip back to the Bayou, the Patriots will travel to Miami (12/6) for another prime time matchup on NBC.

The Patriots open the season with back-to-back games against divisional opponents for just the second time this decade and the first time since 2006. After hosting the Bills in the opener (9/14), the Patriots will travel to New York to take on the Jets (9/20). The last two times the Patriots opened the season against division opponents, the Patriots started 2-0 each season (2006 and 1999). The Patriots will close out September by hosting the Atlanta Falcons (9/27) for the first time since 1998. The game will feature the return of former Boston College standout Matt Ryan, who earned NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year honors in Atlanta last season.

In October, the Patriots will host the Baltimore Ravens (10/4) before back-to-back games against AFL rivals. On Oct. 11, the Patriots will travel to Denver for the first time since their playoff loss at the end of the 2005 season. The following week, the Patriots will host the Tennessee Titans (10/18) for the first time since their icy divisional playoff game on Jan. 10, 2004. The Patriots will close out the month by traveling to London, England to play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Wembley Stadium on Oct. 25. The game will be Patriots' first regular-season contest played outside of the United States and their first game outside of North America. The Patriots have previously played preseason games in Mexico City (1998), Toronto (1993) and Montreal (1969, 1990).

After the bye week (11/1), the Patriots will return to action by hosting the Miami Dolphins (11/8). It will be the first of two games against the Dolphins in less than a month and a period that will showcase the Patriots on prime time three times in four weeks; at Indianapolis (11/15), at New Orleans (11/30) and at Miami (12/6).

On Dec. 13, the Patriots will host the Carolina Panthers for just the second time in history and the first time since 1995. This season will be the first time that both Atlanta and Carolina have visited Gillette Stadium. Following their visits, the Patriots will have hosted each of the 31 NFL teams at Gillette Stadium at least once since it opened in 2002. The following week, the Patriots will travel back to Buffalo for another December battle against the Bills (12/20). Last year, the Patriots faced the Bills in the regular season finale and claimed a 13-0 victory despite gale force winds the wreaked havoc on the passing and kicking games. The Patriots return to Gillette Stadium to host the Jacksonville Jaguars on Dec. 27. It will be the ninth time the two teams have played. Four of those games have been played in the playoffs and three others were played in December. The Patriots are 7-1 all-time against the Jaguars.

On Jan. 3, the Patriots close out the regular season at Houston. The last time the Patriots played at Reliant Stadium in Houston, they defeated the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl XXXVIII. That same year, the Patriots traveled to Houston to play the Texans and escaped with a 23-20 victory in overtime.

The Patriots also announced their network for their 2009 preseason telecasts today. The games will be produced by Kraft Sports Productions and will be broadcast in Boston on WBZ TV. The rest of the 2009 network will include the following affiliates:

New England Affiliate:

         WBZ - Boston, MA  
         WWLP - Springfield, MA  
         WNAC - Providence, RI  
         WMTW - Portland/Auburn, ME  
         WVII - Bangor, ME  
         WMUR - Manchester, NH   
         WVNY - Burlington, VT   
         WCTX - Hartford/New Haven, CT</td>
         <td valign="top">**Other Affiliates:**  
         KGMB9 - Honolulu, HI  
         KIMO - Anchorage, AK  
         Rogers SportsNet East - Maritime Region of Canada</td>

Here is the Patriots 2009 season schedule:

Thursday, Aug.13Philadelphia Eagles7:00 p.m. ETWBZ-TVNEP Preseason Network
Thursday, Aug. 20Cincinnati Bengals7:30 p.m. ETWBZ-TVNEP Preseason Network
Friday, Aug. 28Washington Redskins8:00 p.m. ETWBZ-TVCBS (Nationally Televised)
Thursday, Sept. 3New York Giants7:30 p.m. ETWBZ-TVNEP Preseason Network

Monday, Sept. 14Buffalo Bills7:00 p.m. ETWCVBESPN
Sunday, Sept. 20@ New York Jets1:00 p.m. ETWBZCBS
Sunday, Sept. 27Atlanta Falcons1:00 p.m. ETWFXTFOX
Sunday, Oct. 4Baltimore Ravens1:00 p.m. ETWBZCBS
Sunday, Oct. 11@ Denver Broncos4:15 p.m. ETWBZCBS
Sunday, Oct. 18Tennessee Titans4:15 p.m. ETWBZCBS
Sunday, Oct. 25@ Tampa Bay Buccaneers1:00 p.m. ETWBZCBS
Sunday, Nov. 1BYE WEEK
Sunday, Nov. 8Miami Dolphins1:00 p.m. ETWBZCBS
Sunday, Nov. 15 @ Indianapolis Colts 8:20 p.m. ET WHDHNBC
Sunday, Nov. 22New York Jets4:15 p.m. ET WBZCBS
Monday, Nov. 30 @ New Orleans 8:30 p.m. ET WCVBESPN
Sunday, Dec. 6 @ Miami Dolphins 8:20 p.m. ET* WHDHNBC*
Sunday, Dec. 13Carolina Panthers1:00 p.m. ETWFXTFOX
Sunday, Dec. 20@ Buffalo Bills1:00 p.m. ETWBZCBS
Sunday, Dec. 27Jacksonville Jaguars1:00 p.m. ETWBZCBS
Sunday, Jan. 3@ Houston Texans1:00 p.m. ETWBZCBS
* - Game time and network subject to possible flexible scheduling adjustment.
** - at Wembley Stadium, London England.

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