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#pounditFriday, July 1, 2022

Patriots’ schedule will do them no favors in first season of post-Tom Brady era

Bill Belichick

The New England Patriots are entering the the season with an unproven quarterback for the first time in more than two decades. Some believe that will not be an issue since Bill Belichick is still their coach and they play in a division that has a reputation for being weak, but the schedule tells a much different story.

If you believe in strength of schedule, the Patriots may be in trouble in their first season without Tom Brady. Based on the combined 2019 records of their 2020 opponents, New England has the most difficult schedule in the NFL this season.

Of course, things change rapidly from year-to-year in the NFL. The Patriots are a prime example of that, as they went 12-4 last year but almost certainly won’t be as difficult of a matchup for their opponents this season. Strength of schedule can be deceiving, but Belichick will be preparing for some tough teams like the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs, defending NFC champion San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks and Baltimore Ravens. The Buffalo Bills also return much of the same roster that went 10-6 last year, and New England has to play them twice.

All indications are that the Patriots are planning to go with second-year quarterback Jarrett Stidham as their starter. Some fans want to see them bring in a certain superstar at the position, but that seems unlikely to happen. While any team coached by Belichick has a chance to reach the postseason, the Patriots could be in for a long year.

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