For the first time in a while, the Patriots Football are a big mystery for the upcoming NFL season. And for the first time in two decades, New England is forced fo face a schedule without Tom Brady as its starting quarterback.
The Patriots’ 2020 schedule is a challenging one for a team in transition. Coach Bill Belichick is presented with his toughest coaching job yet with a team that has won 11 consecutive AFC East titles with relative ease.
The Patriots also have produced 18 straight seasons with double-digit wins. That more impressive streak is very much in jeopardy as the team enters the great unknown with Jarrett Stidham replacing Brady at QB and with a defense that needed some rebuilding.
How much worse will the Patriots be without Brady, and can they still win enough games to sneak back into the playoffs?
Here is a complete breakdown of the Patriots’ 2020 schedule, including dates, start times and analysis for all 16 games.
New England Patriots Schedule
Week 1 – Sept. 13: vs Miami Dolphins, 1 p.m., CBS
Week 2 – Sept. 20: vs Seattle Seahawks, 8:20 p.m., NBC
Week 3 – Sept. 27: vs Las Vegas Raiders, 1 p.m., CBS
Week 4 – Oct. 4: vs Kansas City Chiefs, 4:25 p.m., CBS
Week 5 – Oct. 11: vs Denver Broncos, 1 p.m., CBS
Week 6 – BYE –
Week 7 – Oct. 25: vs San Francisco 49ers, 4:25 p.m., CBS
Week 8 – Nov. 1: vs Buffalo Bills, 1 p.m., CBS
Week 9 – Nov. 9: vs New York Jets, 8:15 p.m., ESPN
Week 10 – Nov. 15: vs Baltimore Ravens, 8:20 p.m., NBC
Week 11 – Nov. 22: vs Houston Texans, 1 p.m., CBS
Week 12 – Nov. 29: vs Arizona Cardinals, 1 p.m., Fox
Week 13 – Dec. 6: vs Los Angeles Chargers, 4:25 p.m., CBS
Week 14 – Dec. 10: vs Los Angeles Rams, 8:20 p.m., Fox/NFL Network/Amazon
Week 15 – Dec. 20: vs Miami Dolphins, 1 p.m., CBS
Week 16 – Dec. 28: vs Buffalo Bills, 8:15 p.m., ESPN
Week 17 – Jan. 3: vs New York Jets, 1 p.m., CBS
This schedule reminds everyone what could have been with Brady. He will miss out on a home game against Jimmy Garoppolo’s 49ers and a battle with the Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes on the road. Defensively, the Patriots will need to figure out the dual threats of Lamar Jackson, Deshaun Watson, Russell Wilson and Kyler Murray after struggling with the first two last season.
Because it’s New England and Belichick, this team still has some prime-time appeal, mainly to see what Stidham can do with a variety of nice offensive pieces. For the first time in a long time, it’s weird knowing another team, the Bills, are the team to beat in the Patriots’ division, and nothing is given against the Jets or Dolphins, either.
Patriots strength of schedule & prediction
When combining the Patriots’ 2020 opponents records from 2019, it adds up to a 137-118-1 mark. That .537 winning percentage is strong enough to give the Patriots the toughest on-paper schedule in the NFL.
Based on how good those opponents can be this season, it’s a little lighter with a few fellow middle-of-pack teams in the mix, but it’s still one of the most daunting slates in the AFC.
The Patriots will not be a better all-around team in 2020. They need to accept that what once would have been easy pickings is now considerably tougher.
Record prediction: 8-8