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2013 Patriots Regular Season Schedule Announced; Welker Returns to Foxborough in November

New England Patriots will open 2013 season on the road against the Buffalo Bills on Sept. 8 followed by the home opener at Gillette Stadium on Thursday, Sept. 12 against the New York Jets.

The NFL regular season schedules are out and the New England Patriots are once again in the spotlight with five primetime games including a Thursday night game against the New York Jets Sept. 12 in the 2013 home opener at Gillette Stadium.

Last season, the Patriots traveled to face the Jets in a Thursday game on Thanksgiving night at MetLife Stadium and earned a 49-19 victory. Three of the last four Thursday games for the Patriots have been against the New York Jets, with a home game in 2008, the Thanksgiving night game in 2012 and this year’s game Sept. 12, which will be televised on NFL Network (kick-off 8:25 p.m.).

The Patriots open the season four days earlier in Buffalo for a 1 p.m. game against the Bills.

Perhaps the biggest game on the schedule for Patriots fans this season will be on Sunday, Nov. 24 when former Patriots receiver Wes Welker returns to Foxborough with Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos for a Sunday Night Football showdown (kick-off is 8:30 p.m.).

It wil be the 14th time Tom Brady and Manning square off in their careers. Brady holds a 9-4 advantage over Manning (7-3 in regular season and 2-1 in postseason play).

In addition to playing the Broncos and Jets at Gillette Stadium in primetime, the Patriots will be featured in three other primetime games, including two more NBC Sunday Night Football contests and one ESPN Monday Night Football game.

On Sept. 29, the Patriots will travel to Atlanta for a Sunday Night Football game against the NFC South champion and conference runner-up Falcons at the Georgia Dome at 8:30 p.m.

The Patriots will also play back-to-back games on national television when they travel to Carolina to face the Panthers on Monday Night Football on Nov. 18 at 8:40 p.m. followed by their second Sunday Night Football game against the Broncos on Nov. 24.

The Patriots will also travel to face Baltimore in a rematch of the 2011 and 2012 AFC Championship Games in a Sunday night contest on Dec. 22 at 8:30 p.m. The two teams met last season in a Week 3 matchup on Sunday Night Football with Baltimore taking a 31-30 decision.

In addition to the five nationally-televised games, the Patriots will be the featured game of the week three times. New England will host New Orleans on Oct. 13 at 4:25 p.m. on FOX, host the Pittsburgh Steelers on Nov. 3 at 4:25 p.m. on CBS and then travel to face the Houston Texans on Dec. 1 at 4:25 p.m.  on CBS. The Houston game will be New England’s only game played outside of the eastern time zone.

Six of the Patriots’ 16 games will be against teams that finished with a winning percentage of .500 or better in 2012, including five playoff teams – Baltimore, Cincinnati, Denver, Houston and Atlanta. The Atlanta, Baltimore, Cincinnati and Houston games will all be on the road.

The Patriots will play each of the other AFC East rivals twice and will play one game against each of the AFC North and NFC South teams. As the AFC East Champions, the Patriots will play the 2012 division winners of the AFC West (Denver) and the AFC South (Houston).

2013 PATRIOTS REGULAR SEASON

Date                                Opponent               Time      Network                       

Sunday, Sept. 8                @Buffalo               1 p.m.      CBS

Thursday, Sept. 12         New York Jets         8:25 p.m.   NFL Network

Sunday, Sept. 22            Tampa Bay             1 p.m.       FOX

Sunday, Sept. 29           @Atlanta                 8:30 p.m.  NBC

Sunday, Oct. 6              @Cincinnati             1 p.m.        CBS

Sunday, Oct. 13             New Orleans           4:25 p.m.   FOX

Sunday, Oct. 20           @New York Jets       1 p.m.         CBS

Sunday, Oct. 27           Miami                      1 p.m.         CBS

Sunday, Nov. 3            Pittsburgh                4:25 p.m.    CBS

Sunday, Nov. 10          BYE WEEK

Monday, Nov. 18         @Carolina                8:40 p.m.    ESPN

Sunday, Nov. 24          Denver                    8:30 p.m.    NBC*

Sunday, Dec. 1           @Houston                4:25 p.m.    CBS*

Sunday, Dec. 8           Cleveland                 1 p.m.         CBS*

Sunday, Dec. 15         @Miami                    1 p.m.         CBS*

Sunday, Dec. 22        @Baltimore               8:30 p.m.     NBC*

Sunday, Dec. 29         Buffalo                    1 p.m.          CBS*

*-Game time and network subject to possible flexible scheduling adjustment.

Bold indicates nationally televised games

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