FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - The National Football League announced the 2011 regular season schedule tonight and the New England Patriots and their fans learned that the team will be featured in at least four nationally-televised games during the regular season, including the season premiere of ESPN's Monday Night Football on Sept. 12. The game will be played in Miami, marking the first season-opening road game for the Patriots in four years and just the third time they have opened on the road since they opened Gillette Stadium in 2002. The Patriots have not lost a season-opener since 2003, when they opened on the road at Buffalo.
This year will mark the fifth time that the Patriots have opened the season on Monday Night Football. The Patriots also opened on Monday Night Football in 1979, 1998, 2002 and most recently in 2009 when Tom Brady threw two touchdown passes in the final two minutes to rally the Patriots from a 24-13 deficit to a 25-24 victory vs. the Buffalo Bills. One of the most memorable season openers in franchise history was watched by a national audience in 2002 when the Patriots christened Gillette Stadium as Super Bowl Champions and celebrated a memorable 30-14 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday Night Football.
This will be the second consecutive year that the Patriots matchup in Miami is featured on Monday Night Football. In last year's game at Miami (10/4/10), the Patriots became the first team in NFL history to score a touchdown five different ways in the same game in a 41-14 victory. The Patriots scored a rushing touchdown, a receiving touchdown, had a kickoff returned for a touchdown, blocked a field goal that was taken back for a touchdown and returned an interception for a touchdown.
The Patriots will be featured in three other prime time games, including two NBC Sunday night contests. On Nov. 13, the Patriots will make their season debut on NBC when they travel to New York to take on the Jets (8:20 p.m. ET). They return home the following week for another primetime matchup when they host the defending AFC West champion Kansas City Chiefs on Monday Night Football (11/21/11).
The final primetime game scheduled for the Patriots in 2011 will be the annual clash with the Colts. This year will mark the ninth straight season that the Patriots will face the Colts and the second consecutive year they have hosted the game at Gillette Stadium. Since 2002, the Patriots and Colts have played each other 11 times, including the postseason. It is the most games played between two non-division opponents in the NFL over the past nine years.
Besides the four nationally televised games, the Patriots will be featured in the marquee matchup with nine games airing at the end of a double-header weekend with kickoffs scheduled at 4:15 p.m. ET.
Nine of the Patriots 16 games will be against teams that finished with a winning percentage of .500 or better in 2010, and the Patriots will play seven games against opponents that won 10 or more games in 2010. New England will face four of the five teams from the 2010 AFC playoff field with games at home against the Jets, Colts and Chiefs and road games against the Steelers and Jets.
The Patriots will play each of the other AFC East rivals twice and will play one game against each of the AFC West and NFC East teams. As the AFC East Champions, the Patriots will play the 2010 division winners of the AFC South (Indianapolis) and the AFC North (Pittsburgh)
PATRIOTS 2011 SCHEDULE WEEK-BY-WEEK
The Patriots will open the season with three out of four games on the road. They kick off the regular season away from Gillette Stadium for the first time since 2007 when they travel to Miami for the season premiere of Monday Night Football on Sept. 12. The Patriots return home to host the San Diego Chargers the following weekend on Sunday, Sept. 18 at 4:15 p.m. before embarking on a two-game road trip with contests at Buffalo on Sunday, Sept. 25 at 1:00 p.m. followed by a trip to Oakland to face the Raiders on Sunday, Oct. 2 at 4:15 p.m.
New England returns home for the next two weeks with games against the New York Jets on Oct. 9 at 4:15 p.m. and against the Dallas Cowboys at 4:15 p.m. on Oct. 16. After a bye (10/23), the Patriots return to action at Pittsburgh on Oct. 30 at 4:15 p.m. The Patriots will then play back-to-back games against the New York teams with a home game against the Giants on Sunday, Nov. 6 at 4:15 p.m. and a road game against the Jets on Sunday Night Football on Nov. 13 at 8:20 p.m.
The Patriots return to Gillette Stadium for Monday Night Football on Nov. 21 to play the Kansas City Chiefs in the team's second straight prime time contest. New England then travels to Philadelphia on Thanksgiving weekend to take on the Eagles on Sunday, Nov. 27 at 4:15 p.m.
The calendar flips to December as the Patriots play their final scheduled nationally-televised game of the season against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, Dec. 4 at 8:20 p.m. New England then hits the road for its final regular season road games at Washington on Sunday, Dec. 11 at 1:00 p.m. and at the Denver Broncos on Sunday, Dec. 18 at 4:15 p.m.
The Patriots close out the regular season schedule at home against two division opponents. The Miami Dolphins visit Foxborough for a Christmas Eve clash on Saturday, Dec. 24 at 1:00 p.m. followed by a visit from the Buffalo Bills on New Year's Day, Sunday, Jan. 1 at 1:00 p.m. The Patriots complete schedule for the 2011 season is listed below.
|2011 PRESEASON SCHEDULE|
|Thursday, Aug. 11||Jacksonville Jaguars||7:30 p.m. ET||WBZ-TV||NEP Preseason Network|
|Aug. 18 - 22 (TBD)||at Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Time TBA||WBZ-TV||NEP Preseason Network|
|Saturday, Aug. 27||at Detroit Lions||8:00 p.m. ET||WBZ-TV||CBS|
|Thursday, Sept. 1||New York Giants||7:30 p.m. ET||WBZ-TV||NEP Preseason Network|
|2011 REGULAR SEASON SCHEDULE|
|Monday, Sept. 12||at Miami Dolphins||7:00 PM ET||WCVB||ESPN|
|Sunday, Sept. 18||San Diego Chargers||4:15 PM ET||WBZ-TV||CBS|
|Sunday, Sept. 25||at Buffalo Bills||1:00 PM ET||WBZ-TV||CBS|
|Sunday, Oct. 2||at Oakland Raiders||4:15 PM ET||WBZ-TV||CBS|
|Sunday, Oct. 9||New York Jets||4:15 PM ET||WBZ-TV||CBS|
|Sunday, Oct. 16||Dallas Cowboys||4:15 PM ET||WFXT||FOX|
|Sunday, Oct. 23||Bye Week|
|Sunday, Oct. 30||at Pittsburgh Steelers||4:15 PM ET||WBZ-TV||CBS|
|Sunday, Nov. 6||New York Giants||4:15 PM ET||WFXT||FOX|
|Sunday, Nov. 13||at New York Jets||8:20 PM ET||WHDH||NBC|
|Monday, Nov. 21||Kansas City Chiefs||8:30 PM ET||WCVB||ESPN|
|Sunday, Nov. 27||at Philadelphia Eagles||4:15 PM ET||WBZ-TV||CBS|
|Sunday, Dec. 4||Indianapolis Colts||8:20 PM ET||WHDH||NBC|
|Sunday, Dec. 11||at Washington Redskins||1:00 PM ET||WBZ-TV||CBS|
|Sunday, Dec. 18||at Denver Broncos||4:15 PM ET||WBZ-TV||CBS|
|Saturday, Dec, 24||Miami Dolphins||1:00 PM ET||WBZ-TV||CBS|
|Sunday, Jan. 1||Buffalo Bills||1:00 PM ET||WBZ-TV||CBS|
|* - Game time and network subject to possible flexible scheduling adjustment.|
|Bold indicated nationally televised games|