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NFL 2020 schedule release: Predicting every game on the New England Patriots schedule

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Related: Patriots schedule: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

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NFL: Dallas Cowboys at New England Patriots David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

The 2020 New England Patriots schedule officially dropped on Thursday night right after dinner, and while we’ve already known the 2020 victims opponents since the pre-Rona times, there was still plenty to unveil Thursday evening. As you’ve probably heard, based on last year’s win percentages, the Patriots’ season packs the toughest gauntlet of a schedule in the entire NFL, and now we know exactly when and where all of these are going down, including the bye week that can either be a perfectly timed chance to heal up and fine-tune heading into December, or, in this year’s case, the equivalent of getting to work and your boss tells you to take lunch at 10:30am.

Now there are plenty of people that’ll call predicting games in May a fool’s errand, a pointless act of speculation that’ll almost certainly be wrong by Christmas and we don’t even know enough to make an accurate assessment right now, especially given the Patriots’, shall we say, never-a-dull-moment offseason.

To which I would say: this is the most excitement we’ve had in weeks besides The Last Dance, man, just let us tweak.

Let’s run ‘em down. Starting with the guys that cost New England homefield in the playoffs last year!

(PS: we’re only predicting W’s and L’s here, not scores. Roast away in the comments.)

Week 1: vs. Miami Dolphins — 1 p.m. ET Sunday, Sept. 13

Prediction: Patriots win

Why: If Miami’s indeed found the dude of the future in Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa, great, good for them. He’s still a rookie and even though the Phins racked up some considerable talent on both sides of the ball the first 2 days of the draft, they also drafted 3rd overall for a reason. They ain’t exactly 2 pieces away from playoff-caliber, unless Tua proves to be Madden prime Michael Vick. Not to mention Belichick’s got a pretty outstanding track record of getting squads ready to roll for opening day recently (the 2017 opener vs. Kansas City being a notable “.....uh oh” anomaly).

Week 2: at Seattle Seahawks — 8:20 p.m. ET Sunday, Sept. 20

Prediction: Patriots lose.

At Seattle, and just having Russell Wilson alone is reason enough to fear this game. The Seahawks , somewhat ironically for a team that built their whole 2010s schtick on gnarly defense, checked in at 15th in PFF’s defensive pass coverage rankings at the end of last season, and as you may have heard, they seem to have given up on re-signing that Jadeveon Clowney guy. Still, Russell’s one of the few guys that can seemingly make something out of 5 rushers in his face every time, so this one’s advantage: Seattle.

Week 3: vs. Las Vegas Raiders — 1 p.m. ET Sunday, Sept. 27

Prediction: Patriots win.

GRUDENBALL comes to Foxboro. Fun fact: the 2019 Raiders somehow cranked out 7 wins last year with a 313-419 point differential, which, as you may guess, is not great. They also failed to defeat a single playoff team in 2019 and had a nasty habit of getting blown out by said playoff teams.

Week 4: at Kansas City Chiefs — 4:25 p.m. ET Sunday, Oct. 4

Prediction: Patriots lose.

This doesn’t really require an explanation, does it?

Week 5: vs. Denver Broncos — 1 p.m. ET Sunday, Oct. 11

Prediction: Patriots squeak out a win.

Why? Because it’s not at Denver BA DUM TSSSSSS.

In all seriousness, the Broncos are back on the uptick on both sides of the ball after a couple rough seasons, with a defense that lost stud cornerback Chris Harris Jr, but acquired the criminally underrated DT Jurrell Casey for peanuts, and then spent their second first-round pick in a row on pass-catching firepower. Put that against New England’s Gilly lock-fueled secondary, and this has 20-something to 20-something slugfest written all over it.

Week 6: bye

Week 7: vs. San Francisco 49ers — 4:25 p.m. ET Sunday, Oct. 25

Prediction: Patriots lose.

Make all the Kyle Shanahan jokes you want, but aside from Kansas City, there may not be a better “make them defend every blade of grass on the field” offense than the 49ers were last year. They also seemed to replace everyone they lost this offseason, like OT Joe Staley, WR Emmanuel Sanders, and DT Deforest Buckner with equally terrifying talent like OT Trent Williams, WR Brandon Aiyuk, and DT Javon Kinlaw, respectively. On paper, this should be a top-3 NFC team, so betting against them seems...unwise.

Week 8: at Buffalo Bills — 1 p.m. ET Sunday, Nov. 1

Prediction: Patriots lose.

This’ll be the most complete Bills team New England’s faced off against in, what, 10 years at least? Calling a 1-1 split seems right for a Buffalo squad that, as loath as we are to admit it, seems to keep getting better as long as they’re not throwing the ball to the wrong team or into a different area code. If Stephon Gilmore’s right in his assessment that keeping Stephon Diggs quiet will be a cakewalk, this’ll get really interesting.

Week 9: at New York Jets — 8:15 p.m. ET Monday, Nov. 9

Prediction: Patriots win.

Until the Jets prove they can stop seeing ghosts, it is only fair to assume they will continue seeing ghosts. You guys did this to yourself, Jets.

Week 10: vs. Baltimore Ravens — 8:20 p.m. ET Sunday, Nov. 15

Prediction: Patriots lose.

As if the Ravens didn’t thoroughly wax New England last year and continue their trend of getting annoyingly better for pocket change this offseason, they also (obviously) are still rolling out the reigning MVP at quarterback. Even the most ardent battle-hardened Schaefer Stadium alumni homer can admit this one may well get ugly, again.

Week 11: at Houston Texans — 1 p.m. ET Sunday, Nov. 22

Prediction: Patriots win.

....did you see the Texans’ offseason?

Week 12: vs. Arizona Cardinals — 1 p.m. ET Sunday, Nov. 29

Prediction: Patriots win.

This is probably a tad cocky, but if you can’t protect your #1 overall pick QB better than PFF’s 22nd-ranked offensive line in 2019, and then your biggest improvement to said offensive line is a third-round offensive tackle, it doesn’t matter how many wide receivers you acquire. Plus, it’s not like the Patriots have had trouble keeping All-Pro DeAndre Hopkins relatively quiet in their last few meetings (by Hopkins’ standards, anyway), so this’ll be a fun one that’s winnable if New England executes.

Week 13: at Los Angeles Chargers — 4:25 p.m. ET Sunday, Dec. 6

Prediction: Patriots win.

If The Ringer’s Robert Mays has taught us anything over the years, it’s that the Chargers are the football equivalent of grocery store sushi. It looks so delicious in the moment, like thinking to yourself that the Chargers could go 13-3 with all their talent, and then afterwards you find yourself going “Why did I ever think this was a good idea??”. They don’t get the benefit of a doubt until they prove they’re not snakebit.

Week 14: at Los Angeles Rams — 8:20 p.m. ET Thursday, Dec. 10

Prediction: Patriots win.

Believe it or not, the 2019 Rams actually ranked 7th in the NFL in offensive yards/game and 11th in points per game. That’s way better than some of their disastrous prime-time performances like the 45-6 barbecue at the hands of the Ravens or 44-21 loss to the Dallas Cowboys might suggest. At best, though, they seemed to be treading water this offseason, and after seeing how Belichick’s defense handled LA the last time they met, barring a freak gasoline fight accident, a New England win sounds like a safe bet.

Week 15: at Miami Dolphins — 1 p.m. ET Sunday, Dec. 20

Prediction: Patriots lose.

It’s in Miami. Such are the laws of physics.

Week 16: vs. Buffalo Bills — 8:15 p.m. ET Monday, Dec. 28

Prediction: Patriots win.

I did call a 1-1 split with Buffalo earlier, so, here’s the other one. After facing them once, it’ll be another possibly-playoff-deciding slugfest that the Patriots should be able to tip in their favor by learning enogh from Week 8 to keep the Bills in check.

Week 17: vs. New York Jets — 1 p.m. ET Sunday, Jan. 3

Prediction: Patriots win.

In all seriousness, the Jets’ 2020 draft looks pretty outstanding in theory. Until they prove they can come into The Razor and win ugly, though, this one’s still tilted in New England’s favor.


That leaves the Patriots finishing up the regular season chalking up a 10-6 record for 2020 and taking some L’s from the heavyweights in both conferences, but winning the games they have a puncher’s chance at, which, at this point, feels like it’s going to be about if Bill can get the defense to execute at their terrifying 2019 level and get the offense to take care of the football.

Debate away below. What do you think the Patriots end up at?

Poll

How many games will the Patriots win in 2020?

This poll is closed

  • 2%
    0-4
    (36 votes)
  • 15%
    5-7
    (256 votes)
  • 62%
    8-10
    (1028 votes)
  • 18%
    11-13
    (309 votes)
  • 1%
    14-16
    (17 votes)
1646 votes total Vote Now