Patriots 2020 schedule: Weeks 1-17 opponents, home opener, primetime games, strength of schedule, and more
New England will have some tough sledding to begin the post-Tom Brady era
The New England Patriots saw an era come to an end this offseason after franchise icon Tom Brady elected to sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in free agency, ending his two-decades-long run with the organization that included nine trips to the Super Bowl and sis championships. Now, the club has uncertainty at the most important position in the sport for the first time since before they drafted Drew Bledsoe with the top overall pick in the 1993 NFL Draft. Currently, second-year signal caller Jarrett Stidham has the inside track to win the job to usher in the post-Brady era.
Whoever is under center to begin the 2020 season has their work cut out for them as this campaign is expected to be a difficult one as they'll face a number of elite quarterbacks and head out west for a number of contests. Below, you'll see a week-by-week rundown of the Patriots' 2020 schedule as well as a list of their primetime games and how tough their road ranks across the league in terms of strength of schedule.
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- Week 1, Sept. 13: vs. Dolphins, 1 p.m., CBS
- Week 2, Sept 20: at Seahawks (Sunday Night Football), 8:20 p.m., NBC
- Week 3, Sept. 27: vs. Raiders, 1 p.m., CBS
- Week 4, Oct. 4: at Chiefs, 4:25 p.m., CBS
- Week 5, Oct. 11: vs. Broncos, 1 p.m., CBS
- Week 6: BYE WEEK
- Week 7, Oct. 25: vs. 49ers, 4:25 p.m., CBS
- Week 8, Nov. 1: at Bills, 1 p.m., CBS
- Week 9, Nov 9: at Jets (Monday Night Football), 8:15 p.m., ESPN
- Week 10, Nov. 15: vs. Ravens (Sunday Night Football), 8:20 p.m., NBC
- Week 11, Nov. 22: at Texans, 1 p.m., CBS
- Week 12, Nov. 29: vs. Cardinals, 1 p.m., Fox
- Week 13, Dec. 6: at Chargers, 4:25 p.m., CBS
- Week 14, Dec. 10: at Rams (Thursday Night Football), 8:20 p.m., Fox, NFL Network and Amazon
- Week 15, Dec. 20: at Dolphins, 1 p.m., CBS
- Week 16, Dec. 28: vs. Bills (Monday Night Football), 8:15 p.m., ESPN
- Week 17, Jan. 3: vs. Jets, 1 p.m., CBS
The Patriots will begin the season hosting the Miami Dolphins in a Week 1 contest that will have no shortage of storylines. This will, of course, be the first game for New England in the post-Tom Brady era and could be the first-ever start for second-year quarterback Jarrett Stidham, who currently has the inside track at the starting job. Along with that angle, the Patriots will see their old friend in Dolphins head coach Brian Flores, who was New England's de-facto defensive coordinator prior to taking the Miami gig last season. Flores could also be trotting out No. 5 overall pick Tua Tagovailoa for his first NFL start.
New England will have tough pockets throughout the 2020 campaign, but there's arguably no spot more daunting than from Week 10-14. After taking on the New York Jets on Monday Night Football, the Patriots will have a short week to prepare for Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday Night Football. After that, they'll face a couple of elite quarterbacks in Deshaun Watson (Week 11) and Kyler Murray (12). From there. they'll have to travel out west to take on both L.A. teams.
As noted above in the week-by-week schedule rundown, the Patriots will be playing five primetime games in 2020. Two of those will be at Gillette Stadium, while they'll be hitting the road for three of them. In 2019, New England had five total primetime games and went 3-2 in those contests. They were able to edge out the Pittsburgh Steelers in the opener on Sunday Night Football and beat the Giants and Jets on Thursday and Monday, respectfully. They fell, however, to the Baltimore Ravens during a Week 9 matchup on Sunday Night Football and lost another primetime matchup to the Texans in Week 13 to put a bow on the Sunday slate.
Strength of schedule
Earlier this offseason, John Breech broke down the 2020 strength of schedule for all 32 NFL teams based on combined opponent winning percentage in 2019. The Patriots will face the most difficult schedule in 2020. For a complete look at every team's strength of schedule, check out Breech's breakdown here.
However, when basing strength of schedule on the over/under win totals for each team's opponents during the 2020 season at William Hill, the Patriots go from facing the most schedule in the league to facing the 13th-toughest schedule. For a complete look at every team's strength of schedule using this methodology, check out Jared Dubin's full breakdown here.