3 road games in first 4 weeks for Pats

The NFL will release the 2011 schedule tonight (7 p.m. ET), and the Patriots are previewing the announcement with a few bits of information.

First, the team will open 2011 on the road. This marks the first time in four years that the Patriots will open on the road (2007, Jets).

Furthermore, the team announced that three of its first four games will be on the road.

Opening on the road is rare for the Patriots under Bill Belichick. Since Belichick became coach in 2000, the Patriots have opened the season at home eight times. They have been on the road to open the season three times -- Cincinnati (2001), Buffalo (2003), Jets (2007).