- Mike Reiss, ESPN Staff Writer
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A few leftovers on the Patriots' 2012 schedule that were easy to overlook at first glance:
1. Hitting Texans at right time. One could make the case that the Monday, Dec. 10 game against the visiting Texans is the best spot possible for the Patriots. Besides the weather factor, the Texans will be playing their third straight road game (Detroit, Tennessee, then New England).
2. Jets will arrive after three straight home games. The rival Jets come to town Oct. 21 after playing three straight home games (49ers, Texans, Colts). That sets up nicely for them, considering the Patriots will be coming off a trip to Seattle and having played four of their first six games on the road. On a related note, the Jets have the same off week as the Patriots (Nov. 4).
3. Patriots once again get Bills coming off bye. From 2004-2007, the Patriots played the Bills when coming off their bye, and they won each time. They get them after the bye again this year, and if you're a Bills fan, you might be asking "What did we do to the NFL schedule-maker to deserve this?" Counting Bill Belichick's first year as Patriots head coach in 2000, the Patriots will have faced the Bills six times coming off their bye.
4. Titans already gearing up for Patriots. The Titans' official website posts a picture of Tom Brady in its story announcing the 2012 schedule, with coach Mike Munchak saying, "It is obviously exciting to open the season at home against a quality opponent in New England. They have been one of the best teams in the league for a number of years and the game will be a great test for us."
5. Five preseason games, not four, to scout Cardinals. The Patriots get the Cardinals in Week 2, and they're an unfamiliar foe; this will be just the third meeting between the clubs in Bill Belichick's tenure as coach (2000-present). It might help the Patriots, in terms of getting familiar with their personnel, that the Cardinals play an extra preseason game (they're in the Hall of Fame game this year).
6. Pats lone visitor to Seattle in five-week stretch. Seattle can be one of the toughest environments in which to play in the NFL, and with the Patriots representing the Seahawks' lone home game between Sept. 24-Oct. 28, that could be a tough spot. For the Seahawks, that game is sandwiched around road trips to St. Louis/Carolina and then San Francisco/Detroit.