Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 4/20/13
"Any given Sunday" means that when two teams play (regardless of the day), either team has just as much chance of putting together the winning formula for that particular game. Although we can play the percentages, as many of us do in fantasy leagues around the world, there is virtual uncertainty in the end.This year, the New England Patriots have their work cut out for them. Based on last year's records, their schedule is tougher than 2012, though I put little faith in that criteria alone. But I will try to use all factors to analyze how the Patriots will fare from this distant perspective on the 2013 season. Feel free to comment on any picks you may see differently.Sept. 8 at Buffalo Bills, 1 PMWeek 1 will be a tough one because it is a division rival that is on the rise. Whether the Bills draft a quarterback or not, it is unlikely they will keep up with any Brady-led offense or a stronger defense. Patriots win going away: 34-16.Sept. 12 New York Jets, 8:25 PMWeek 2 is the home opener in prime time on Thursday Night Football. The Jets continue to wallow in Dramaville. Patriots win another easy one: 42-12.Sept. 22 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1 PMWeek 3 sees the Bucs visiting Foxboro with a revamped defense. They will give Tom Brady all he can handle, but Patriots grind out a close one for the win: 24-21.Sept. 29 at Atlanta Falcons, 8:30 PMWeek 4 is spent traveling to Atlanta to face the first real test of the season. This will be the first set-back for the team and a call-to-arms. Patriots lose to the high-flying Falcons: 35-24.Oct. 6 at Cincinnati Bengals, 1 p.m.Week 5 is another road game against a well-balanced Bengals squad. The defense will rise to the challenge and hold off Andy Dalton in the fourth quarter to hang-on for another close win: 38-35.Oct. 13 New Orleans Saints, 4:25 p.m.Week 6 brings the New Orleans Saints to town, but they are still a shadow of the Super Bowl team led by Drew Brees. The Patriots overpower them, winning the shoot-out of elites: 49-31.Oct. 20 at New York Jets, 1 p.m.Week 7 is the second half of the Jets-Patriots yearly duel, with the result mirroring the first half almost exactly. Patriots win: 40-13.Oct. 27 Miami Dolphins, 1 p.m.Week 8 will be the hardest division test of this team. The Dolphins have reloaded on offense to compete with the prolific Patriots' offense, but ultimately fall short. Patriots win: 30-24.Nov. 3 Pittsburgh Steelers, 4:25 p.m.Week 9; the Steelers missed the playoffs last year and lost several key players in the off-season. Roethlisberger and company just don't have the guns to match the Patriots on either side of the ball at Gillette Stadium. Patriots win: 40-20.Nov. 10 BYEPerfect timing for the bye week with some stiff competition dotting the landscape.Nov. 18 at Carolina Panthers, 8:40 p.m.Week 11 takes the Patriots on the road again. The Panthers haven't been the strongest team this year, but prove to be surprisingly tough against Brady, while Cam Newton shreds the Patriots' defense with his legs, as well as his arm. Patriots lose: 35-23.Nov. 24 Denver Broncos, 8:30 p.m.Week 12 is Peyton vs. Brady episode 20 (actually No. 14). The debate will rage for years to come, but Tom Brady throws his way to another win against his arch nemesis. Patriots win: 45-35.Dec. 1 at Houston Texans, 4:25 p.m.Week 13; The Patriots take the trip to Texas to prove that they own the Texans no matter the venue or stakes. Brady to Gronkowski highlights a blowout. Patriots win: 49-18.Dec. 8 Cleveland Browns, 1 p.m.Week 14 won't break viewer ratings, but the Browns come to town and the Patriots send them packing in their second blowout in a row. Patriots win: 52-20.Dec. 15 at Miami Dolphins, 1 p.m.Week 15 is held at Sun Life Stadium, but the Patriots come better prepared and deal the Dolphins a knock-out blow to their playoff hopes. Patriots win: 35-20.Dec. 22 at Baltimore Ravens, 8:30 p.m.Week 16 is the rematch Pats fans have been waiting for since last season. The Patriots head into Baltimore looking for redemption. This time the Patriots defense stiffens. Patriots win: 28-21.Dec. 29 Buffalo Bills, 1 p.m.Week 17 becomes rest time for many of the starters as the Patriots have secured home field advantage throughout the playoffs. Unfortunately, they experience the same fate as the Colts in this final game, surrendering to Buffalo's starters. Patriots lose: 24-20.I'll go out on a limb and predict that the Patriots pick it back up and finish with playoff wins over Denver and Cincinnati to meet Atlanta in the Super Bowl and avenge the earlier loss with a resounding 38-21 win.Maybe an update will be in order after the Draft.
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