The Patriots Schedule is "Brutal"

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This will be the first season in 20 years that Tom Brady will not be the starting quarterback for the New England Patriots.  The NFL released its schedule for the 2020 season and the Patriots will be tested without Brady.  The team will either go with Jarrett Stidham or Brian Hoyer to lead the team this season.  Whoever will be leading the Patriots, he will be tested all season long.  

Photo courtesy of nbcsports.com

Providing that the season isn’t delayed due to the coronavirus epidemic, the Patriots will open against division rival Miami Dolphins.  This could be the first look between the two teams with their new potential franchise quarterbacks in Stidham and Tua Tagovailoa.  The NFL world and Patriots fans will possibly get an up close look at Tua unless both teams go with backups Hoyer and Ryan Fitzpatrick. 

The Patriots will have five nationally-televised games and they’ll do battle against six 2019 playoff teams.  The Patriots will also matchup against both teams who represented their respective conferences in the Super Bowl.  The Pats will travel to Arrowhead to play the Chiefs in Week 4 and welcome back Jimmy Garropolo in Week 7 for a 4:25 match up against the 49ers.  They will also get a rematch against NFL MVP Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens at home on primetime on NBC. 

“That Ravens game was going to be treacherous regardless of where it was dropped onto the schedule," said Jeff Howe of The Athletic.  "The Ravens are loaded and had a terrific draft to get even faster on offense.  But you know what?  Despite losing Kyle Van Noy, Jamie Collins and Duron Harmon, the Patriots got more athletic in the draft with Josh Uche, Anfernee Jennings and Kyle Dugger, so this will be a fun test for the remodeled group.”  Now that Brady is in Tampa Bay, the Ravens have an opportunity to own the AFC, but Patrick Mahomes and the Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs will have something else to say about that. 

The first four weeks of the schedule will be a test for the Head Coach Bill Belichick.  The Patriots struggled in their last game of the regular season against the Dolphins.  Dolphins Head Coach Brian Flores will have his team dialed in against the Patriots whether or not Tua will be the starter in Miami.  

One of the things to watch in the first couple of weeks will be whether crowds will be allowed to attend games.  If crowds aren’t allowed in it could be a benefit for the Patriots when they go to Seattle and not having to worry about their “12th” man.  In addition, not having to deal with the tough crowd at Arrowhead could also be an added benefit for the Patriots.  If the season is delayed due to COVID-19 and they miss out on Miami, Seattle, Las Vegas and Kansas City could increase the odds of the Patriots making the playoffs in 2020. 

The Patriots will also have a two-week stretch where they will spend time in Los Angeles in the new SoFi Stadium in December.  The Patriots will play the Chargers followed by a Thursday night game against the Rams in a Super Bowl LIII rematch.  The league got this right by not having the Patriots fly out to the west coast twice. 

The Patriots will do battle with Bill O’Brien and the Texans for the second straight year on the road.  The Patriots will attempt to contain DeShaun Watson and former Patriots wide receiver Brandin Cooks, who was traded to Houston after DeAndre Hopkins was dealt to Arizona.  Speaking of Arizona, the Patriots will play host to Kyler Murray, Hopkins and old friend Chandler Jones in November. 

The matchups against the AFC East will be interesting as they play the East towards the middle and end of the season.  This will be crucial for New England because the team is without Brady and any loss to the East will be magnified especially if the season is delayed and games are cancelled.  The NFL experts are already crowning the Buffalo Bills as AFC East champions, which isn’t a bad take considering they made the playoffs last year and their roster is dramatically better.  But until the Patriots show they’re not the same team, they need to be taken seriously. 

The schedule for the Patriots feels brutal.  If the team wanted to ‘Tank for Trevor” this is the schedule to do it.  Belichick will not let his team do that, but if his team struggles out of the gate with Stidham, they could turn to Hoyer and see where that leads the team. 

New England owns the NFL's best divisional record in regular-season play since 2001 with a 91-25 record and have gone 19 straight seasons without being swept by a division opponent.  Whether it’s Hoyer, Stidham or someone else who gets brought in, the key to this season is consistent play from the quarterback.  Regardless of the schedule, the Patriots will need consistent play from whoever is the quarterback of the time. 



Follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisHenrique

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Boston Sports Syndicate: The Patriots Schedule is "Brutal"
The Patriots Schedule is "Brutal"
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