While fans wait through mediation and the lockout, the NFL is proceeding with business as usual, announcing that the 2011 NFL regular season schedule will be released Tuesday night at 7 p.m. ET. The unveiling will be carried on the NFL Network and NFL.com, as well as ESPN2.
We already know the Patriots' 2011 opponents, so it's just a matter of dates and times being filled in on Tuesday night, along with which teams are playing in the primetime games -- Monday Night Football, Sunday Night Football and Thursday Night Football, as well as Thanksgiving.
The Patriots will have their standard six games against the AFC East opponents -- one game at home and one road contest with the Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins and New York Jets. In 2011, New England's intraconference opponents are from the AFC West -- Kansas City Chiefs, San Diego Chargers, at Denver Broncos and at Oakland Raiders -- and the interconference teams are from the NFC East -- Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, at Philadelphia Eagles and at Washington Redskins.
The last two slots are filled by a couple of AFC rivals with a game at the Pittsburgh Steelers and one hosting the Indianapolis Colts, their 12th meeting since 2002 (including the playoffs), tops for non-division foes.