The Patriots’ Super Bowl defense begins on Thursday, Sept. 10 against Ben Roethlisberger and ends in South Florida against the Miami Dolphins on Jan.

Tom Brady and Peyton Manning will meet for a 17th time on Nov. 29. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Tom Brady and Peyton Manning will meet for a 17th time on Nov. 29. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

The Patriots’ Super Bowl defense begins on Thursday, Sept. 10 against Ben Roethlisberger and ends in South Florida against the Miami Dolphins on Jan. 3.

2015 PATRIOTS PRESEASON

Thursday, Aug, 13 Green Bay 7:30 p.m. ET WBZ Patriots Preseason Network

Saturday, Aug. 22 at New Orleans TBD WBZ Patriots Preseason Network

Friday, Aug. 28 at Carolina 7:30 p.m. ET WBZ Patriots Preseason Network

Thursday, Sept. 3 New York Giants 7:30 p.m. ET WBZ Patriots Preseason Network

2015 PATRIOTS REGULAR SEASON

Thursday, Sept. 10 Pittsburgh 8:30 p.m. ET WHDH NBC

Sunday, Sept. 20 at Buffalo 1:00 p.m. ET WBZ CBS

Sunday, Sept. 27 Jacksonville 1:00 p.m. ET WBZ CBS

Sunday, Oct. 4 BYE WEEK

Sunday, Oct. 11 at Dallas 4:25 p.m. ET WBZ CBS*

Sunday, Oct. 18 at Indianapolis 8:30 p.m. ET WHDH NBC*

Sunday, Oct. 25 New York Jets 1:00 p.m. ET WBZ CBS*

Thursday, Oct. 29 Miami 8:25 p.m. ET WBZ CBS/NFL Network

Sunday, Nov. 8 Washington 1:00 p.m. ET WFXT FOX*

Sunday, Nov. 15 at New York Giants 4:25 p.m. ET WBZ CBS*

Monday, Nov. 23 Buffalo 8:30 p.m. ET TBD ESPN

Sunday, Nov. 29 at Denver 8:30 p.m. ET WHDH NBC*

Sunday, Dec. 6 Philadelphia 4:25 p.m. ET WFXT FOX*

Sunday, Dec. 13 at Houston 1:00 p.m. ET WBZ CBS*

Sunday, Dec. 20 Tennessee 1:00 p.m. ET WBZ CBS*

Sunday, Dec. 27 at New York Jets 1:00 p.m. ET WBZ CBS*

Sunday, Jan. 3 at Miami 1:00 p.m. ET WBZ CBS*

*-Game time and network subject to possible flexible scheduling adjustment.
Bold indicates nationally televised games

When the Patriots open against the Steelers, they will unveil the Super Bowl XLIX Championship Banner as part of a star-studded pregame ceremony. Details of the event will be announced at a later date. The last time the Patriots played Pittsburgh in the season-opener was in 2002 in the grand-opening of Gillette Stadium, a 30-14 win on Monday Night Football when the Patriots were coming off their first Super Bowl win.

The NFL’€™s Thursday Night Kickoff tradition began in 2002 and the defending Super Bowl Champion has hosted every year since 2004. The Patriots won the first two such contests. New England defeated Indianapolis, 27-24, on Sept. 9, 2004 and Oakland, 30-20, on Sept. 8, 2005 in Thursday games at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots will open the season at home for the first time since 2010 when they hosted the Cincinnati Bengals in the home opener.

Including the season-opener, the Patriots are scheduled to play in five nationally-televised games during the regular season, including three at Gillette Stadium. After opening on prime time against Pittsburgh, the Patriots next prime-time game at home will be on Thurs., Oct. 29 when they host the Miami Dolphins on Thursday Night Football on CBS/NFL Network (8:25 p.m.), followed by a Monday Night Football game against AFC East rival Buffalo on Monday, Nov. 23 on ESPN (8:30 p.m.).

The Patriots are scheduled to appear in two other prime-time games on the road with Sunday Night Football games at Indianapolis on Oct. 18 and at Denver on Nov. 29 on NBC (8:30 p.m.). The Patriots have faced both teams in the AFC Championship Game in the last two seasons.

The Patriots and Colts will face off for the 13th consecutive year, including the postseason. The two teams have met at least once in the regular season or postseason since 2003, playing 16 games (11 regular season and five postseason games) over that span. The Patriots faced the Colts on Sunday Night Football last season, a 42-20 Patriots win on Nov. 16. The Patriots then faced the Colts in the AFC Championship Game, advancing to Super Bowl XLIX with a 45-7 win at Gillette Stadium on Sun., Jan. 18.

New England will travel to the Denver Broncos for the first time since losing the 2013 AFC Championship Game. Last season, the Patriots got revenge from that game with a 43-21 win at Gillette Stadium on Nov. 2. Patriots QB Tom Brady and Broncos QB Peyton Manning have had many epic battles over the years, facing each other 16 times overall, with Brady leading the Patriots to wins in nine of the 12 regular season games. Brady and Manning are tied at 2-2 in postseason matchups.

The Patriots will play each AFC East rival twice and will play one game against each of the AFC South and NFC East teams. As the AFC East Champions, the Patriots will play the 2014 division winners of the AFC North (Pittsburgh) and the AFC West (Denver).

The Patriots Bye Week comes in Week 4, the earliest since the 2008 season when they also had a bye in Week 4. The Patriots will return to action when they travel to Dallas on Oct. 11 to make their debut at AT&T Stadium, which opened in 2009. The Patriots have won the last four meetings against Dallas, dating back to 1999.

For the second straight season, the Patriots will travel to face Indianapolis on Sunday Night Football with an Oct. 18 game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Last season, the Patriots beat the Colts, 42-20, in a Sunday Night game on Nov. 16 in Indianapolis. The Patriots have won six straight games against the Colts, including the playoffs.

The Patriots will return from the two road games to play two straight division games, hosting the New York Jets on Oct. 25 and then playing Miami on Thursday Night on Oct. 29. The 2015 season marks the first time in franchise history the team will play multiple Thursday games. The Patriots have won six straight regular-season home contests against the Jets. Brady is 12-1 at home against Miami, with his only loss coming in the final game of the 2005 season when the Patriots had already locked up the AFC East title. Brady played only in the first quarter of that game.

The Patriots will then play two games against NFC East opponents, welcoming the Washington Redskins to Gillette Stadium on Nov. 8 and then traveling to play at the New York Giants on Nov. 15. New England beat the Redskins, 52-7, in Washington’€™s only trip to Foxborough during the Bill Belichick era. The Giants snapped the Patriots’€™ 20-game home winning streak with a 24-20 win in the last regular-season meeting on Oct. 16, 2011.

The Patriots will play in back-to-back prime-time games with a Monday Night Football game against Buffalo on Nov. 23 and then will be on the road for a Sunday Night Football game at Denver on Nov. 29. Last season, the Patriots played back-to-back prime-time games with a 41-14 Monday Night Football loss at Kansas City on Sept. 29 followed by a 43-17 Sunday Night Football win at home against Cincinnati on Oct. 5. Monday Night Football returns to Foxborough for the first time since 2012, a 42-14 win over Houston on Dec. 10, 2012.

After Philadelphia travels to Gillette Stadium for a Dec. 6 game at 4:25 p.m., the Patriots will close out the season with three of four games on the road, all at 1 p.m. The Patriots have won all four games, including the postseason against the Eagles under Belichick.

The Patriots will travel to face Houston on Dec. 13. Brady has started all six of the meetings against Houston, while the Texans have started five different quarterbacks. Matt Schaub is the only Houston quarterback to have started multiple games against the Patriots. Among Houston’€™s possible starters for this year are former Patriots Ryan Mallett and Brian Hoyer.

The Titans will play in Foxborough on Dec. 20 for the first time since a 59-0 loss on Oct. 18, 2009. The Patriots will close out the season with two road games for the first time since the 2006 season when they play at the New York Jets on Dec. 27 and at Miami on Jan. 3, 2016. New England completes its regular season away from Gillette Stadium for the first time since 2009.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

WEEI.com will continue to offer daily insight and analysis regarding options that may be available to the Patriots when it comes to the 2015 NFL draft. Here is one in a series of profiles of players who could be on the board when it’s time for the Patriots to make a selection.

STEPHONE ANTHONY

Position: Inside linebacker

School: Clemson

Height: 6-foot-3

Weight: 245 pounds

Achievements: 2014 All-ACC first team, 2014 Butkus Award semifinalist for best linebacker, 2013 All-ACC third team

What he brings: Anthony is considered an athletic linebacker who can move well for his size. Scouts like his ability to make tackles consistently when he is squared up with the ball-carrier and his willingness to play physically, especially when taking on backs and tight ends in short coverage. However, there are concerns that Anthony needs improvement shedding blockers in run defense. Many scouts are hopeful that he has the ability to develop into a successful blitzer with some instruction and experience in the NFL.

Where the Patriots could get him: Rounds 2-4

Notes: At the combine Anthony recorded the third-best time among linebackers in the 40-yard dash (4.56 seconds) and second-best time in the 20-yard shuttle (4.03 seconds). Anthony, a team captain in 2014, led Clemson in tackles with 90. He started all 26 games in his junior and senior seasons, and missed just one game in four years.

Related articles:

Tigernet.com: Anthony: [Clemson Coach Dabo] Swinney humbled him and woke him up as a player

Bleacher Report: Stephone Anthony could be the 2015 NFL Draft’s surprise first round pick

Video: Here’s Anthony recording eight tackles, a sack and a pass defended against FSU in September 2014.

Blog Author: 
Nik Beimler
Tom Brady was reportedly the first person at Monday's first official offseason workout. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Tom Brady was reportedly the first person at Monday’s first official offseason workout. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — Even though Tom Brady is the oldest player on the Patriots, that doesn’t mean he’s taking short cuts or taking advantage of being a four-time Super Bowl champion.

The Patriots’ offseason program officially began Monday morning at Gillette Stadium and colleague Chris Price reported Brady was the first player to walk through the doors at 7 a.m.

Safety Devin McCourty has been a member of the team for five full seasons, so he sees how serious Brady takes his training. He said sometimes this can be taken for granted.

“For us, a lot of us take for granted because that’s all we ever see from him,” McCourty said. “I think especially newer guys that come in, free agents, you see the guy Tom Brady in here all the time — here early. Here before everyone got back and even now he’s always one of the first ones into the building. I think it forces you to raise your level of expectations just for yourself when you watch him and see everything he does. You say, ‘Wow, that must be why he’s great.’ It forces you to take it up a notch and do more.”

Brady drew some attention this offseason when he jumped off a cliff in Brazil. McCourty said he would never do that, but Brady can do whatever he wants.

“I thought that was cool,” he said. Tom has what four Super Bowl‘s now? You have to live on the edge.”

“He’s having fun,” he added. “He’s a great swimmer I guess. I wouldn’t have jumped, I can’t swim.”

With the Patriots winning the Super Bowl over two and a half months ago, the team is already excited to get back to work and prepare to defend their crown.

“I think the Super Bowl has kind of been over for awhile now and I think like all athletes after awhile you’re excited to get back into it and what the next year holds and what we can do as a team,” said McCourty. “I think everyone is more excited about that.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable
Logan Ryan will be one of the younger members of the secondary asked to step up this season. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Logan Ryan (26) will be one of the younger members of the secondary asked to step up this season. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — The Patriots’ secondary will look a lot different this coming season, as opposed to last year’s Super Bowl winning squad.

Arguably their two best cornerbacks in Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner departed via free agency, to the Jets and Saints respectively. Without adding any major players to their secondary in free agency, it would seem the team will go into 2015 with some of the younger players stepping up and taking on more responsibility.

Defensive captain Devin McCourty is already moving on from having Revis roaming the secondary with him.

“Who? We’€™re past that,” McCourty said jokingly. “No, we’€™re still friends.”

With the two starting corners departing, some of the younger up-and-coming players on the defense will now need to step up in Malcolm Butler, Logan Ryan and possibly Alfonzo Dennard.

McCourty said he believes in those guys, as he’s seen the hard work they’ve been putting in.

“I’m excited for all those guys,” he said. “They’ve put in a lot of work. I was in Arizona with Logan for a little while and since I met him when he was freshman in college he’s always one of the guys putting in extra work trying to get better. I think Malcolm is a guy, he came in last year really not knowing anything to expect and now making a great play in the Super Bowl, I think it’s exciting for him. For all those guys, when you’re young in the NFL you just want to try and learn as much as you can year in and year out. I don’t think they should worry what everyone will try and ask them, just try and get better.”

Although they may not be the biggest of names — the organization did sign a few veterans to potentially help out the secondary. Chimd Chekwa, Bradley Fletcher and Robert McClain are all cornerbacks who have joined the team this offseason.

Being the most experienced member in the secondary, as well as a captain, McCourty knows it’s his job to get those players acclimated to playing in New England.

“We just worked out. There’s been no 1-on-1 meetings or anything like that,” said McCourty. “I think the great thing is once you get on the football field and we start talking scheme and everything — right now it’s all about working out and trying to get better along those lines. Once we start talking about scheme, I am just a guy that tries to be another way to explain things and say things.

“Sometimes I think players can relate to players a little easier than a coach lecture or talk about it. I think I try to always be that bridge so that we can get everyone on the same page. At the end of the day we have to make sure all the players on the field are thinking the same way. If we can do that we have a chance to be good.”

Personally for McCourty, he could have been a free agent himself, but just before free agency was set to begin he and the Patriots struck a deal. The Rutgers product is happy to stay in New England and now it’s all about football.

“I think it’s finally now just all about playing football and I think the best thing is I get to be back with the same guys that I started the journey with,” McCourty said. “I love my teammates here. I love how hard we work with everything we get done. It was exciting to be back in the offseason program and being a leader, trying to lead these guys.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

The official release of the 2015 NFL schedule is Tuesday night at 8 p.m., but the first game of the year has gotten out early.

The official release of the 2015 NFL schedule is Tuesday night at 8 p.m., but the first game of the year has gotten out early.

The defending Super Bowl champion Patriots will host the Pittsburgh Steelers in the opening game of the season, Thursday, Sept. 10 at Gillette Stadium. As has been the case for many years, the defending champions open the year on a Thursday night at home and raise the banner from its Super Bowl winning year.

There was much debate as to who the opponent would be with the Eagles, Bills and Jets all being talked about, but ultimately it was Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers coming to Foxboro. Roethlisberger will face Tom Brady for the 16th time, with Brady holding a slight 33-32 touchdown pass lead.

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

FOXBORO — The general population learned Tuesday morning of Nate Solder being diagnosed and treated for testicular cancer prior to last season. But, for some of his teammates they knew last year, and were blown away with how he handled it, especially during a Super Bowl winning season.

“I was aware of it, and you know, I have so much respect for Nate Solder and the type of man that he is, the faith in God that he has and the way he carries himself and I can’€™t think of anyone who’€™s handled a situation like that better than he did,” special teams captain Matthew Slater said. “I don’€™t want to get too much in detail, I’€™ll let him speak on that, but Nate Solder is a great man and the way he handled that last year was really admirable, with so much courage and a positive attitude, a sense of peace, it was really something to behold.”

Devin McCourty, another veteran and team captain, said he knew, but said there were some players on the team who didn’t.

“I don’t know if everyone knew,” he said. “I think some guys knew, but I think that was more for him a personal process. It wasn’t something as a team that everyone talked about, it was more for him. I think as a teammate you’re just blown away by everything he was able to do — getting over that, playing at a high level.

“To me it was highly impressive. Nate is a great guy and he does so many things — on the field, off the field and I think that is another battle that he passed and now he’s going to do great things with it spreading awareness.”

The report Tuesday morning said Solder goes to Mass General every three months for check ups and everything is going according to plan.

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

FOXBORO — It was just two years ago that Aaron Hernandez shared the same locker room and was a teammate of many of the current players on the Patriots roster.

They too had emotions when the former tight end was convicted of murder last week.

Former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was convicted of murder last week. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was convicted of murder last week. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — It was just two years ago that Aaron Hernandez shared the same locker room and was a teammate of many of the current players on the Patriots roster.

They too had emotions when the former tight end was convicted of murder last week.

Special teams captain Matthew Slater said he’s praying for everyone involved, including Hernandez.

“I’€™ll say this: that’€™s a very tragic, sad situation, for so many different people, for so many different reasons,” Slater said. “You know, I just feel like we all should keep everybody involved and affected by that situation in our prayers and our thoughts, that’€™s really all I’€™ll say on that. My heart is broken on so many different levels for that, and I just pray for everyone that’€™s been affected by it.”

Like Slater, McCourty is thinking of both sides — Hernandez’s family, as well as Odin Lloyd’s.

“It was just saddening,” he said. “I think you’re talking about two lives that are gone. I think it’s like everyone else, you look at that whole thing it’s just a saddening event and everything that went on.”

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable