Rapid Reaction: Pats '12 schedule

Rapid reaction on the Patriots' 2012 schedule:

Welcome back 1 p.m. games. When last year's schedule was released, the Patriots had just four 1 p.m. games (pre-flexing). This year, it's nine games at 1 p.m. Those can always be flexed, but this is a nice change for the club -- and its fans.

Thanksgiving vs. Jets. The Patriots play on Thanksgiving for the second time in three years, and this year will be a biggie as they are at the Jets with an 8:20 p.m. kickoff. The game will be broadcast on NBC. Perhaps this was a little payback to NBC after last year's Patriots-Broncos game (Tebow etc.) wasn't flexed to NBC after much debate.

Opening with 3 of 4 on road ... closing with 3 of 4 at home. If you're going to start a season with just one home game in the first month, it's nice to be rewarded on the back end with three of the final four games at home -- especially when the opponents coming to Gillette Stadium don't play in Northeast elements (Houston, San Francisco and Miami). The Texans' and 49ers' games are prime-timers.

Bye splits season down the middle. It was already known that the Patriots would have the open week Nov. 4, as their game against the Rams the week before, in London, was already announced. The bye is placed right in the middle of the season, giving the Patriots an even split of eight games before the bye (5 on the road) and eight games after the bye (3 on the road).

Colts have long week to prepare. When the Colts travel to Gillette Stadium on Nov. 18 for their tilt with the Patriots (1 p.m.), they will be coming off an extra-long period of preparation. The Colts travel to Jacksonville for a Thursday night game on Nov. 8.

No teams have byes before facing Patriots. No team will face the Patriots with two weeks to prepare, as no teams have their bye week scheduled before their matchup with New England. On the other hand, the Patriots will not face any teams coming off a short week of preparation after a Monday Night Football clash.

Recapping tight preseason schedule. As noted before, the team will have three preseason games in 10 days -- a challenge for Bill Belichick to manage.