The Patriots will spend a lot of time on the road in the first month of the season, will play nearly a third of their games under the bright lights of prime-time television, and will have to go through their division rivals to clinch their 11th AFC East title in 12 seasons.
The NFL released the 2014 schedule Wednesday night, and the Patriots will be opening the season with two road games — at Miami and Minnesota. The Patriots have faced the Dolphins seven previous times in Week 1 games, including a 38-24 win in Miami in 2011. The Week 2 game at Minnesota will be played outdoors at TCF Bank Stadium, the Vikings’ new temporary home as they await their new stadium to be built.
The home opener will be Week 3 against Oakland, the Raiders’ first visit to Foxborough since 2005.
Thoughts and observations on the Patriots’ schedule:
■ The Patriots play four of their first six games on the road. They also play their final preseason game on the road, meaning they will go about a month between home games.
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