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In addition to playing their three AFC East opponents at home and on the road, the Patriots will face all four AFC West and NFC North teams as part of the NFL's rotating schedule formula. Kansas City and San Diego will be road trips for New England this time around, with Denver and Oakland coming to town, which is the opposite of how they were assigned in 2011, the last time the AFC West was in New England's rotation. Having played Minnesota and Green Bay at home four years ago, New England will travel to those venues in 2014, while Chicago and Detroit will visit Foxborough this fall after hosting the Patriots four years ago.
The remaining two opponents were determined by virtue of the 2013 final standings. The league's schedule formula dictates that a team play an entire division in its conference (this year, the AFC West, as noted above) and one opponent from each of the other two divisions in that conference, with one game being at home and the other on the road. And those opponents must have finished in the same place in their division. Because the Patriots are facing the entire AFC West in 2014, their remaining two opponents from the AFC had to come from the North and South. New England finished first in the AFC East, so it will face the winner of the South, Indianapolis, on the road and host the winner of the North, Cincinnati.