In around four months, the New England Patriots will play their first game of the 2018 season – a preseason game, yes, but still competitive football to end the drought that is the offseason. Later today, the NFL will announce the official preseason schedule but The Athletic Boston's Jeff Howe already released the Patriots' slate of games.
Take a look:
Patriots 2018 preseason schedule includes a Super Bowl LII rematch:
Week 1: Redskins (home)
Week 2: Eagles (home)
Week 3: Panthers (away)
Week 4: Giants (away)
Dates and times to be finalized.
As Howe notes, the dates have not yet been finalized. We do, however, know a rough timeframe:
Week 1: August 9-13
Week 2: August 16-20
Week 3: August 23-26
Week 4: August 30-31
The biggest game on the schedule, obviously, is the week two meeting against the Philadelphia Eagles – a rematch of Super Bowl 52 that saw the Eagles defeat the Patriots 41-33. The certainly already highly-anticipated contest is not the only title game rematch on the schedule, though: Super Bowls 38 (Panthers), 39 (Eagles), 42 and 46 (Giants) will already see former Super Bowl contestants meet each other, although in an anticlimactic setting.
With the preseason schedule announced, New England will also start looking at potential opportunities for joint practice sessions: The Redskins, Eagles and Panthers are all possible sparing partners. The Patriots already held joint practices with Washington (2014) and Philadelphia (2013, 2014) in the past.