The 2023 NFL Schedule is out!
I still can’t believe how much media coverage the league is able to milk out of what basically boils down to the release of a piece of paper. I want to knock it, but honestly, it’s impressive. The NFL has us all over a barrel, we’re never going to stop watching and giving them our money, and we just can’t get enough of this sport. They’re going to keep doing whatever they want and we’re all going to sit here and complain about it, all while tuning in each and every week. Cap tip.
And speaking of complaining, time for yet another annual tradition here at Pats Pulpit: overanalyzing the 2023 New England Patriots schedule a solid four months before any of these games will actually be played. We’ve known who and where the Patriots will be playing for some time. but now we know the when, so now it’s time to go full tinfoil hat and make some way too early predictions.
Here’s the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly from the Patriots’ 2023 schedule.
Early home stretch. Opening the season at home is a great way to start things off, and getting the Philadelphia Eagles first is a blessing. Philly is a strong contender to repeat as NFC Champs, and we all know those first few weeks in the year consists of teams still finding their footing. I’d much rather get the Eagles and Miami Dolphins early on, and 3-1, or possibly even 4-0, is for sure on the table for the first month of the 2023 season. Having a few home games to start things off makes getting into the swing of the season that much easier.
Week 11 bye. Given how late New England has seen their bye over the past few seasons, I was all but certain that they’d be stuck with that dreaded Week 4 or Week 5 bye this year. But with the Frankfurt game taking place in Week 10, the Patriots get to enjoy a week off in November, which is right in that sweet spot of where you want that bye to take place. Anything before Week 7 is kind of a waste if you ask me, and I personally think the league would do well to find a way to schedule all byes the middle of the season, but I’m sure there are
financially disadvantageous logistical reasons they don’t do that. But that’s not our problem for another year, as the Pats once again got one of the money bye weeks.
Soft November. With November consisting of games against the Washington Commanders, Indianapolis Colts, and New York Giants, plus that Week 11 bye, the Patriots are in a good position to string together some wins and generate some nice momentum leading into the home stretch of the season. Those are three very winnable games, and they couldn’t come at a better time. Bill Belichick always says that November is when the season really starts to pick up in earnest, and if the Patriots can have an undefeated November, they might be able to take that confidence into a difficult home stretch.
Loss of a home game. That Patriots-Colts game in Week 10 officially counts as a home game for the Patriots, which sucks. New England traditionally plays better at home, and even though that hasn’t been as true over the past few years, home games are just easier on everyone from a travel/practice/planning standpoint. Only in the NFL does a team have to hop on a plane and fly to Germany to host a team for a home game, but such is the plan for global expansion. To be fair, the Patriots have been the nominal away team for the past few international games they’ve played, so they were kind of due to lose a home game here. Still, I wish this game was against a team they were supposed to play on the road.
Three straight December prime time games. This seems to be becoming something of a tradition around these parts: not only do the Patriots play a bunch of prime time games, but they play them back-to-back-to-back. My feelings on this matter are well documented at this point, so I may have to retire this particular complaint at the end of this year. The Pats just play too many non-1 p.m. games, dammit, and I don’t like it, and that’s exacerbated by having to play them consecutively like this. Prime time games just mess everything up, and to have that stretch so late in the year makes it even worse.
At Denver on Christmas Eve. If you’re as unfortunate as I am, then you have a wonderfully loving family who wants to spend time with you and celebrate major holidays together. And my family is for sure one of the ones who do a big Christmas Eve and a more mellow Christmas Day. With the Patriots heading out to Denver on Christmas Eve, for a game that starts at 8:15 p.m. that’s going to cut right into my annual watch of A Christmas Story and It’s a Wonderful Life. Not to mention I’m going to be in absolutely no condition whatsoever to watch that game with any kind of analytical eye, so expect my Fan Notes for this one to be a complete disaster — as opposed to all my other Fan Notes, which are the epitome of good writing and solid grammar.
At the Bills Week 17. Maybe this will be a scenario where Buffalo doesn’t have anything to play for... but I doubt it. This is likely to be a game with huge implications as New England will fight for a wild card spot and Buffalo is looking to compete for the No. seed in the AFC. Obviously who knows this far out, but to have to go to Buffalo that late in the year with a lot on the line could be a tall order. Not a huge fan of having to go visit the Bills so late in the season.
Pretty much the entire 2023 schedule. Looking at it right now, this is just a really tough slate of games. Of the 17 games the Patriots play, nine are against teams that finished .500 or better. They play both of the 2022 Super Bowl teams. Five teams on the schedule had double-digit wins last year. New England has the third strongest strength of schedule out of all 32 teams. Plus, maybe the New York Jets are going to be amazing in 2023, who knows. Honestly, other than that November stretch, I don’t think it’s completely out of order to say that a lot of these games could all go either way. The 2023 Patriots could be an 11-win team and they could be a 6-win team, and neither outcome would surprise me. The good news is that I think we’re going to learn a lot about the young talent on this squad this coming season, and they could be well positioned to make a serious run in 2024. I always said that 2021 was the start of a three-year rebuild, so this tough schedule is a great chance to prove me right.