The NFL schedule release is one of the most anticipated times of the year. Teams know the opponents they will face, but do not know which weeks those games will be played.
There are many exciting games that are must-watch in Week 1 alone. Trevor Lawrence will make his long-awaited Jaguars debut against the Houston Texans. Another anticipated Week 1 matchup is the Browns returning to Arrowhead to take on the Chiefs in a rematch of last year’s AFC Divisional playoff game.
The NFL schedule release makes everyone think about week 1 first. But let’s look past Week 1 and look at a team’s entire schedule. That team is the New England Patriots.
The Patriots return in their second year since the departure of Tom Brady. This year, Bill Belichick is out for vengeance with Cam Newton under center. Or maybe Mac Jones, but who knows. After the NFL schedule release of this year, let’s break down three must-watch games for the Patriots this year.
NFL Schedule Release
1. Week 4: Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ New England Patriots
Let’s get the obvious one out of the way. In a Week 4 Sunday Night Football matchup, Tom Brady returns to Foxborough to take on his former team, the New England Patriots.
This is a game that everyone will have marked on their calendar. Tom Brady is looking to prove that he doesn’t need Bill Belichick. And Bill Belichick is out to prove that he doesn’t need Tom Brady.
Not only is Tom Brady returning, but Rob Gronkowski is as well. Does this game need any further explanation?
Look, the Bucs will most likely win this game as of right now. Anything can happen, but Tampa just looks really good right now. Will it be a competitive game? I believe so. Belichick will have some sort of gameplan to contain Brady, but Tampa just has too much firepower for the Pats to handle.
2. Week 3: New Orleans Saints @ New England Patriots
Now, this should be an interesting early-season game. The Saints, who are going to be in their first season without Drew Brees are hitting the road to take on the Patriots in Week 3.
Who will be under center for the Saints? It should be Jameis Winston. The Taysom Hill experiment should be over. Winston deserves another chance to prove himself. He has the right weapons around him with Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas.
Jameis Winston vs Cam Newton should be fun. Both teams have top-half defenses that will give the opposing offense a struggle.
As mentioned previously, the Saints lost Drew Brees, as he retired this past offseason. So it will be interesting to see two teams who just recently lost their franchise quarterback go at it. Note that both quarterbacks are ranked amongst the top five all-time.
3. Week 6: Dallas Cowboys @ New England Patriots
It seems that Cowboys/Patriots games are always must-watch television.
Dak Prescott looks to get the Cowboys back on track after missing last year with a horrific leg injury. Cam Newton, on the other side, looks to bring hope to what seems to be a depleted Patriots team.
4. Week 9: New England Patriots @ Carolina Panthers
Now some of these games are must-watch just because they are surrounded by the storyline. This is also the first Patriots road game on this list, as they visit the Carolina Panthers.
This game will be Cam Newton’s return to Carolina, the team that he spent the majority of this career with. The team cut Newton last offseason following injury concerns with Newton.
The Panthers don’t look like they will be very good next year, with Sam Darnold as quarterback for them. But don’t count them out. If they have Christian McCaffrey in the lineup and the Patriots’ defense is healthy, this should be a fun one.
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