As the NFL’s 2021 regular season came to an end in early January, the New England Patriots’ opponents for the next year were set. Among them is the new team of former offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and ex-director of player personnel Dave Ziegler: the Patriots will travel to Las Vegas in 2022 to take on the Raiders at Allegiant Stadium.
The meeting between the Patriots and Raiders has yet to be scheduled, but it obviously will be a big one on New England’s calendar. While not reaching the levels of last year’s matchup with long-time starting quarterback Tom Brady and his new team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the game in Las Vegas will surly come with a fair amount of pre-game hype itself.
The basis of that hype goes beyond the McDaniels/Ziegler connection to the Patriots, though. The two teams, after all, are also among the better ones in the AFC, having both reached the playoffs in 2021.
New England finished second in the AFC East with a 10-7 record; Las Vegas ended the year as the runner-ups in the AFC West after also going 10-7. Both teams were subsequently eliminated in the wild card round of the postseason tournament.
Going up against former companions is nothing new for head coach Bill Belichick. He has faced former Patriots players or assistant coaches 28 times over his two decades in New England, going 15-13 in the process. One of those losses came against McDaniels himself, who was able to steal a 20-17 overtime win over his former club and mentor in Week 5 of the 2009 regular season in his first year with the Denver Broncos.
McDaniels was fired from the Denver gig just a year later eventually finding his way back to the Patriots in 2012. He went on to serve as the team’s offensive coordinator for the next 10 seasons, winning three more Super Bowls and helping the team transition from the Brady era to 2021 first-round draft pick Mac Jones.
Now, McDaniels and Ziegler — who first joined the Patriots in 2013 — are off to a new challenge. Along the way, they will come in close contact with their old team.
As usual, the NFL is expected to announce its 2022 regular season schedule in early May. The Patriots’ full list of opponents can be found here.