The 2014 NFL schedule release has become one of the randomly most anticipated moments of the offseason. And for New England, the 2014 Patriots schedule promised the first glimpse at what fans are hoping is another Super Bowl run. Having come so close to another berth in the NFL’s biggest game, Belichick, Brady and the rest of team will be striving to go one better next season.
Here’s a glimpse at the full Patriots 2014 schedule:
Image via NFL
Obviously, with the additions of Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner at cornerback, the Patriots will have a different look in the 2014 season. Defensively, they will be able to operate from a position of strength in coverage in a way that has not been true of a Patriots defense essentially since 2007 (and debatably before that). It also means that by default, their pass rush improves, given that (in theory) quarterbacks will have fewer open receivers to throw to.
And on offense, the continued presence of Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady ensures it will be a productive unit (okay, he’s not technically in yet, but he clearly will be). That said, last season saw some inconsistent play from a shifting group, as players were either being replaced or filled in for due to injury.
Rob Gronkowski, always a talking point for the Patriots, will once again enter an NFL season with uncertainty as far as when he can actually start playing football. There is still no date (even a tentative one) for when Gronkowski will make his return following last season when he tore both his ACL and MCL.
All in all, the Patriots have to feel better about their roster heading into 2014 than they did going into 2013. And the NFL draft hasn’t even happened yet (it’s set for May 8-10th). Should they continue their solid offseason, which has seen multiple additions of frontline NFL players, then anticipation will continue to escalate. So study the 2014 schedule, because it will (obviously) outline some of the built-in challenges for the Patriots next season.