The NFL’s 2020 regular season schedule has been released, and with it plenty of debate and predictions. Along these lines, now appears to be a good moment to look at the New England Patriots’ slate of games and pick out the most intriguing matchups — and those to get excited about even though a) there is no guarantee the season will start as planned, and b) a lot can and will happen between now and when those games take place.
With that said, let’s dig into this, shall we?
Week 1: vs Miami Dolphins
The Patriots’ season opener on September 13 will ring in a new era: with Tom Brady throwing passes for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this season, the team will field a new starting quarterback. Jarrett Stidham is the favorite to win the job, and he would make his first career start against New England’s division rivals from Miami. The Dolphins, who could very well field a first-time starter as well in rookie Tua Tagovailoa, have won the two teams’ last meeting at Gillette Stadium, but they are an attractive Week 1 opponent to build some momentum early on.
Week 4: at Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs are the team to beat this season not just because they are coming off a victory in Super Bowl 54, but because they are also fieldingn one of the most talented rosters in football and will be a significant early-season challenge for the Patriots. New England will likely head into Arrowhead Stadium as underdogs, but the game will still be an indicator about the team’s competitiveness especially on the defensive side of the ball: Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes is the reigning Super Bowl MVP and one of the most electrifying quarterbacks in football. If the Patriots can slow him and his weapons down, they should feel good about themselves regardless of the result.
Week 7: vs San Francisco 49ers
Coming out of their bye, the Patriots will welcome Jimmy Garoppolo back to Gillette Stadium. The story is well known, of course: Garoppolo started his career in New England but was traded to the 49ers during the 2017 season due to Tom Brady not showing any signs of slowing down. The move worked out for both teams — the Patriots won another Super Bowl with Brady while San Francisco found its franchise quarterback — but the “Battle of the Backups” will still be one to watch. This is also true due to the fact that the 49ers are the reigning NFC champions and one of the best teams in football.
Week 8: at Buffalo Bills
With Tom Brady having taken his talents to Tampa Bay, the door appears to be open for the Bills to win their first division crown since 1995. That said, they will need to show that they can actually dethrone the Patriots when the two teams meet on the field. Buffalo will get its first shot in Week 8: New England will visit New Era Field for a 1:00pm battle that could very well have major implications on the race for the AFC East title.
Week 10: vs Baltimore Ravens
The Patriots started the 2019 season with a perfect 8-0 record before being defeated by the Ravens on the road. This year, they will get their chance at home in another game that could have major playoff implications: Baltimore is still among the AFC’s elite, of course, and will pose a threat on both sides of the ball. Just like the Week 4 game in Kansas City, this one could very well show where the team is standing heading into the second half of the season — and if it can be considered a contender.