2021 NFL Schedule Breakdown: New England Patriots
The New England Patriots will start the season with a new quarterback backing up Cam Newton. The Patriots are a middle-of-the-pack team that is either rebuilding or contending. New England attempted to remain competitive following Tom Brady‘s departure, however, the team finished just 7-9 last season. Newton was the successor but it hasn’t panned out well for New England.
New England Patriots Schedule:
- Week 1: Sun 09/12 vs Miami Dolphins
- Week 2: Sunday 09/19 at New York Jets
- Week 3: Sun 09/26 vs New Orleans Saints
- Week 4: Sun 10/03 vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Week 5: Sun 10/10 at Houston Texans
- Week 6: Sun 10/17 vs Dallas Cowboys
- Week 7: Sun 10/24 vs New York Jets
- Week 8: Sun 10/31 at Los Angeles Chargers
- Week 9: Sun 11/07 at Carolina Panthers
- Week 10: Sun 11/14 vs Cleveland Browns
- Week 11: Thu 11/18 at Atlanta Falcons
- Week 12: Sun 11/28 vs Tennessee Titans
- Week 13: Mon 12/06 at Buffalo Bills
- Week 14: BYE
- Week 15: Sun 12/19 at Indianapolis Colts
- Week 16: Sun 12/26 vs Buffalo Bills
- Week 17:Sun 01/02 vs Jacksonville Jaguars
- Week 18: Sun 01/09 at Miami Dolphins
AFC East: The Patriots don’t have a great chance at winning the division this coming season. New England finished fourth in the division last year with a 7-9 record. It was the first time since 2008 that the Patriots did not qualify for the playoffs. However, with the recent drafting of quarterback Mac Jones, the team is looking at the future franchise quarterback. That being said, it’s hard to imagine Jones succeeding right off the bat. Even if New England is able to stay competitive this year, it’ll be difficult in a division dominated by the rising Bills.
Matchups: For the most part, New England will have a balanced schedule. Their schedule is not too hard and not too easy. The Patriots will struggle in Week 13 and Week 16 against the defending AFC East division champions, the Buffalo Bills. The Patriots also have another tough game against the Saints in Week 3. On the bright side, there will be exciting games featuring rookie quarterbacks. The Patriots will get to face Zach Wilson and the Jets twice (Week 2 and Week 7) and will also face this year’s top draft pick, Trevor Lawrence and the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 17. It is unlikely that Jones will surpass Newton as New England’s starter early in the season, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility that Jones could take over in time to play against one of his fellow rookie quarterbacks.
Overall: The Patriots will have a balanced schedule, but it will be hard for them to win the division. Should Newton play well and the team is on point, then they could squeak in the postseason with a Wild Card berth. It’s either that or they will rebuild.
Prediction: The Patriots finish 8-9, third in the division.