Boston Herald Patriots reporter Jeff Howe joined the Adam Jones Show to discuss the Patriots 2014 schedule after it was released.
Howe said that the first three games — against the Dolphins, Vikings and Raiders — are important for the Patriots coming out of the gate, as it represents a golden opportunity to get a jump on the rest of the league.
“The opening stretch is huge. I think they have a real opportunity to start 3-0,” Howe said. “And two of those games are on the road, so that would give them an even bigger jump right there. Three teams that didn’t make the playoffs last year — that’s a crucial stretch, because after that, it’s a very unforgiving schedule for a couple of months, really.”
Jones pointed out that it’s even more important for the Patriots, considering new cornerback Brandon Browner will be suspended for the first four weeks. The Patriots really couldn’t have picked better opponents for that to take place for three of those four weeks, at least.
Considering Darrelle Revis will be locking down the opponents’ No. 1 receiver, the No. 2 options on those teams should be able to be contained by the rest of the Patriots defense.
“Let’s assume some of those teams add somebody at wide receiver in the draft, but as of right now of those four teams, their second-best wide receiver, depending on how you look at it for the Dolphins is Brian Hartline or Mike Wallace,” Howe said. “Then you’ve got Cordarrelle Patterson (Vikings), Rod Streater (Raiders) and Donnie Avery (Chiefs). You didn’t need to sign Brandon Browner to cover any of those guys. So the Patriots are in really good shape with the suspension and the way that that thing really kicks off for them. They’re not getting hurt at all.”
As part of Browner’s reinstatement to the league, he won’t get paid for his first four weeks back on the field. Howe said that’s a tough month to not be making money.
“And then he comes back and he plays for free against Muhammad Sanu (Bengals), Mike Williams (Bills), Stephen Hill (Jets) and Alshon Jeffery (Bears),” Howe said. “So really, earning his free paychecks. It’s a tough four-week stretch for him not to get paid, I guess.”