Patriots schedule quick hits

A few quick-hit points of analysis when looking at the Patriots' 2010 schedule:

Pats won’t see Santonio Holmes early; get Jets on short week. The first meeting against the Jets comes in Week 2, meaning that the Patriots won’t be facing receiver Santonio Holmes, who will still be serving his four-game suspension. Also, the Jets open the season on Monday night, so they’ll be coming off a short week.

Bye in week 5, then a telling stretch. The Patriots have an early off week, which isn't desired. One positive for the Patriots with the early bye is that it comes after a Monday night road game at Miami, helping them avoid a short week or preparation. Instead, they will get almost two weeks to prepare for a 2009 playoff rematch against the Ravens at home. Then comes a trip to San Diego and a home game against the Vikings (who will be coming off what should be an emotional Sunday night game at Green Bay). At first glance, that looks like the most challenging stretch of the early part of the schedule.

Patriots probably will see Roethlisberger. While Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is facing a suspension, it probably won’t be a factor for when the Patriots visit Pittsburgh. That matchup comes in Week 10 on Nov. 14 and is a Sunday night tilt. The Steelers will be coming off a short week, playing a Monday night game at rival Cincinnati the week before.

Colts game the week before Thanksgiving. The Patriots host the Colts on Nov. 21 at Gillette Stadium, making it a challenging week in which they will prepare for a game with their heated rival, then have the short week with the Thanksgiving game at Detroit. The Colts host the Bengals the week before.

Finishing with back to back division games. Commissioner Roger Goodell hoped to schedule as many division games late in the year in Weeks 16 and 17, with the idea that it might stop teams from resting starters. The Patriots figure to face tough conditions in Buffalo on Dec. 26, before a home finale against the Dolphins on Jan. 2.

Chilly December for Patriots fans. With two prime-time games scheduled for December, fans will be braving what figure to be chilly elements. The Dec. 6 home Monday night game against the Jets figures to be wild, while the Sunday night game against the Packers on Dec. 19 could be frigid. One added note on that Jets game: The Patriots will have additional days to prepare after playing the Thanksgiving game in Detroit, as will the Jets, who host a Thanksgiving game.

Browns will be coming off a bye week. One sneaky game on the schedule could be Nov. 7 at Cleveland, as the Browns and head coach Eric Mangini will be coming off a bye, giving them extra time to prepare for a scheme they already know well.