The New England Patriots will begin a new era in 2020 without Tom Brady lined up at quarterback.
With the 42-year-old joining the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Patriots are left with a group of unproven players at the position: Jarrett Stidham, Brian Hoyer and undrafted free agents Brian Lewerke and J’Mar Smith.
The defense also lost some key players in free agency, including Jamie Collins Sr., Kyle Van Noy and Danny Shelton.
It creates more question marks for this team than we have seen since Bill Belichick first took over in 2000.
This should make for an interesting season with the following schedule:
Patriots Game Schedule
|1||Sept. 13||vs Dolphins||1 p.m. ET||CBS|
|2||Sept. 20||vs Seahawks||8:20 p.m. ET||NBC|
|3||Sept. 27||vs Raiders||1 p.m. ET||CBS|
|4||Oct. 4||vs Chiefs||4:25 p.m. ET||CBS|
|5||Oct. 11||vs Broncos||1 p.m. ET||CBS|
|7||Oct. 25||vs 49ers||4:25 p.m. ET||CBS|
|8||Nov. 1||vs Bills||1 p.m. ET||CBS|
|9||Nov. 9 (Monday)||vs Jets||8:15 p.m. ET||ESPN|
|10||Nov. 15||vs Ravens||8:20 p.m. ET||NBC|
|11||Nov. 22||vs Texans||1 p.m. ET||CBS|
|12||Nov. 29||vs Cardinals||1 p.m. ET||Fox|
|13||Dec. 6||vs Chargers||4:25 p.m. ET||CBS|
|14||Dec. 10 (Thursday)||vs Rams||8:20 p.m. ET||Fox/NFLN/Amazon|
|15||Dec. 20||vs Dolphins||1 p.m. ET||CBS|
|16||Dec. 28 (Monday)||vs Bills||8:15 p.m. ET||ESPN|
|17||Jan 3||vs Jets||1 p.m. ET||CBS|
Week 1 : New England Patriots vs Miami Dolphins, Sept. 13, 1 p.m.: Win
The Dolphins have potential in 2020, but it’s capped with either Ryan Fitzpatrick or rookie Tua Tagovailoa at quarterback.
Week 2 : New England Patriots vs Seattle Seahawks, Sept. 20, 8:20 p.m.: Loss
Asking Jarrett Stidham to walk out of CenturyLink Field with a win might be too much for a first-year starter in Week 2 even if there are no fans in the stadium.
Week 3 : New England Patriots vs Las Vegas Raiders, 1 p.m.: Win
The result might be different if this game was being played in Vegas. The Patriots’ defense should be too much for Derek Carr and the Raiders to handle in Foxboro. The Raiders are one of the weaker teams New England plays with an over/under of 7 wins.
Week 4 : New England Patriots vs Kansas City Chiefs, Oct. 4, 4:25 p.m.: Loss
The Super Bowl champs? On the road. Can’t see this one coming out the Patriots’ way. The Chiefs’ over/under is 11.5 wins.
Week 5 : New England Patriots vs Denver Broncos, Oct. 11, 1 p.m.: Win
The Broncos could be better in 2020, but Drew Lock coming to Foxboro sounds like a losing equation for Denver, which has an over/under of 7.5 wins.
Week 6, – BYE –
Week 7 : New England Patriots vs San Francisco 49ers, Oct. 25, 4:25 p.m.: Loss
Jimmy Garoppolo’s revenge game. Will San Francisco have a Super Bowl hangover after losing to the Kansas City Chiefs? Possibly, but they’re still a very talented team fully capable of beating the Patriots at Gillette Stadium.
Week 8 : New England Patriots vs Buffalo Bills, Nov. 1, 1 p.m.: Loss
The Bills went 10-6 as a playoff team in 2019, and after adding Stefon Diggs, they could be even better this season. Their over/under win total is just 9, however. With the Bills on the rise and New England on the decline, Buffalo takes this one.
Week 9 : New England Patriots vs New York Jets, Nov. 9, 8:15 p.m.: Win
The Jets actually surprised some folks by winning 6-of-8 games to finish out the 2019 season. We think they’ll ultimately take a step back in 2020 with Adam Gase at head coach. Vegas agrees. The Jets’ over/under is just 6.5 wins.
Week 10 : New England Patriots vs Baltimore Ravens, Nov. 15, 8:20 p.m.: Loss
The Ravens are tough with Lamar Jackson at quarterback. This is a winnable game, but we’ll chalk it up as a loss around midseason.
Week 11 : New England Patriots vs Houston Texans, Nov. 22, 1 p.m.: Win
This could be the year the wheels fall off for the Texans, whose over/under is 7.5 wins. Without DeAndre Hopkins at wide receiver, we see the Patriots going into Houston and beating the Texans.
Week 12 : New England Patriots vs Arizona Cardinals, Nov. 29, 1 p.m.: Win
The Cardinals are on the up-and-up after acquiring wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. The Patriots have success against young quarterbacks, however, and it will be tough for Kyler Murray to come to Gillette Stadium and win. The Cardinals’ over/under win total is 7.
Week 13 : New England Patriots vs Los Angeles Chargers, Dec. 6, 4:25 p.m.: Win
It’s either Tyrod Taylor or Justin Herbert at quarterback for the Chargers this season. Either player would have a tough time besting Bill Belichick even with the game in LA. The Chargers’ over/under is 7.5 wins.
Week 14 : New England Patriots vs Los Angeles Rams, Dec. 10, 8:20 p.m.: Loss
This is certainly a winnable game for the Patriots. We think they wind up losing the Super Bowl LIII rematch on a short week. The Rams’ over/under win total is set at 8.
Week 15 : New England Patriots vs Miami Dolphins, Dec. 20, 1 p.m.: Loss
The Patriots never play well in Miami, and the Dolphins are an up-and-coming team. The Dolphins won five games last season and significantly improved their roster this offseason. Their over/under win total is 6. We think they could finish with a better record than 6-10 with Brian Flores at head coach.
Week 16 : New England Patriots vs Buffalo Bills, Dec. 28, 8:15 p.m.: Win
We still don’t trust that Josh Allen and the Bills can win against a Bill Belichick defense in Foxboro.
Week 17 : New England Patriots vs New York Jets, Jan. 3, 1 p.m.: Win
The Jets have some potential if Sam Darnold can avoid contracting mono for the second straight year. We can’t see them winning in Foxboro quite yet, though, especially late in the season.
The Patriots’ divisional games should be more intriguing than they have been in past years, especially against the Bills, who went 10-6 in 2019 and added No. 1 wideout Stefon Diggs this offseason.
However, it’s still tough to trust anyone in the AFC East. The Patriots haven’t lost more than one game in the division since 2015, going 20-4 over the past four years.
This leaves the non-divisional games for fans and players to highlight on the schedule.
In Week 10, New England takes on the Baltimore Ravens, a team that led the NFL with a 14-2 record last year. Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson embarrassed the 8-0 Patriots last season in a 37-20 rout.
The Pats go on the road to face Super Bowl champions Kansas City Chiefs in Week 4, getting a rematch against Patrick Mahomes after he led a 23-16 win at Gillette Stadium last year.
A Week 7 home game against the San Francisco 49ers should also be interesting with Jimmy Garoppolo returning to face the organization that drafted him. The fact that the Niners reached the Super Bowl last season should also make this a must-see matchup.
Storylines aside, these games will be vital in serving as a measuring stick for the Patriots in 2020.
Record prediction: 9-7