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Starting in Jacksonville, Patriots have shorter road to travel this year

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Only six teams have fewer miles to travel than New England.

NFL: Super Bowl LII-New England Patriots Arrival Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

While last year’s AFC Championship Game was played in Foxboro, today’s rematch between the New England Patriots and the Jacksonville Jaguars will take place in sunny Florida, roughly 1,000 miles south from where the two teams met in January. It is the Patriots’ first road game of the season and simultaneously one of the longest journeys the team will have to go on over the next four months as a look at its regular season travel log shows:

Week 2: at Jacksonville Jaguars

Week 3: at Detroit Lions

Week 7: at Chicago Bears

Week 8: at Buffalo Bills

Week 10: at Tennessee Titans

Week 12: at New York Jets

Week 14: at Miami Dolphins

Week 15: at Pittsburgh Steelers

Added up, the Patriots will travel 11,576 miles during the regular season – a decrease when compared to 2017: New England was on the road for a combined 14,860 miles last year, including a trip Mexico City via Denver. The distances are far shorter this year, with Jacksonville and Miami the destinations farthest away. The aforementioned 11,576 miles rank the Patriots seventh league-wide and clearly below the average of 15,595 miles.

While the distances look to be favorable to New England when compared to last year, the quality of opponents speaks a slightly different story: the Patriots will play four of last year’s playoff games on the road this season in the Jaguars, Bills, Titans and Steelers. In 2017, for comparison, New England traveled to three postseason teams from one year earlier (the Oakland Raiders in Mexico, plus the Steelers and Dolphins).