With training camp underway and the preseason fast approaching, Last Word on Pro Football is analyzing the schedules of all 32 NFL teams. Each team’s 16-game slate will be split into its most difficult (1-8) and easiest games (9-16). For this article, the New England Patriots most difficult games of the 2020 season are under the microscope.
New England Patriots Most Difficult Games in 2020
1. Week 4: at Kansas City Chiefs
Bill Belichick returns with his team to the site of their last AFC Championship victory. Unfortunately, he will not have Tom Brady by his side with the offense. Meanwhile, the fans in Kansas City do not forget that cold and bitter night. The fan with the laser pointer is banned but the other fans will be as raucous as they are. Jarrett Stidham will certainly face his toughest test of the season, but the defense will be there to guide him. The real question is…how do you stop Patrick Mahomes? This most certainly looks to be a loss, then again, they said the same thing in 2018 and look what happened.
2. Week 7: vs San Francisco 49ers
Back to back at the top are the two participants from Super Bowl LIV. The reigning NFC Champions boast a familiar face at the quarterback position. Jimmy Garoppolo returns to Foxborough for the first time since being traded in 2017. Robert Saleh‘s defense will look to make life rough for the offense and Belichick knows that. Will they change up the schemes and strike gold? Unfortunately, it could be just a case of fool’s gold. Don’t expect Kyle Shanahan to fold easily unlike that fateful night in Miami.
3. Week 8: at Buffalo Bills
Last season, it took until Week 16 for the Patriots to take their usual standing at the top of the AFC East. They beat a Bills team on the rise. Now, the Bills are projected to be the best in the division. With Josh Allen surging as a dark-horse candidate for league MVP, Bills Mafia will be behind their team at their home turf. Meanwhile, the Patriots defense will need to play their best against a mobile threat like Allen while preserving their own quarterback and their running game.
4. Week 7: vs Baltimore Ravens
The Patriots suffered their first loss of the season against Baltimore last season. Now the Ravens will make their trip to Foxborough. Thankfully for New England, it’s a home game. This time however, there will be a loss. Lamar Jackson is itching to prove that last season was no fluke. With rookie J.K. Dobbins in the backfield, the offense will certainly look to run wild. Rookie linebacker Patrick Queen will provide a spark to the Ravens defense that may resemble Peter Boulware from the 2000s. It may take an event similar to Billy Cundiff‘s shank in order for the Pats to take a W.
5. Week 13: at Los Angeles Chargers
Remember Joey Bosa being mic’d up during the Divisional Round. Trust and believe that it will happen again. This time, it looks like the California sunshine will be on the Chargers side. A shiny new stadium and a fresh rookie quarterback who is expected to start by then? History has shown that Belichick does well against youngsters. Not in this game it won’t. With rookie Kenneth Murray expected to make a difference right away, the Chargers uniforms won’t be the only flash on the scoreboard that has fans charged up. Expect New England to lose here and get a shock to their system about being middle of the pack.
6. Week 2: at Seattle Seahawks
The pass is INTERCEPTED AT THE GOAL LINE BY MALCOLM BUTLER. Words that haunt the Seahawks more than the referees of Super Bowl XL. The 12th man will refuse to lose in this game. Expect Russell Wilson to play more with an edge after the Browns trade rumors. The defense is also known for playing well at home and they look to have been rebuilt in a proficient way. New England tends to struggle in September, and this will be the game to do it. Do we hear a noise? Oh, that is the Seahawks fans waiting to take a chomp of out of the Foxborough faithful.
7. Week 15: at Miami Dolphins
No matter how bad or how good the Dolphins are, they always play tough in Miami. Patriots fans know that from 2004, 2018, and almost every other match they play down there. Rookie Tua Tagovailoa is the new man in town and he will look to provide the fish with a reason to attack. In addition, coach Brian Flores did force the Patriots to play on Wild Card weekend last year after Week 17. The Patriots might not be in the dominant form of the past 20 years, but they still are a tough team to contend with. Expect them to take a tough defeat in the heat.
8. Week 8: at Los Angeles Rams
The Rams have new uniforms and IKEA might have a word with them. Meanwhile, the Patriots still are on the minds of the LA fans after Super Bowl LIII. The Rams have several issues with cap space while the Patriots have enough for the next few years. The defenses will be tough, but the Patriots will find a way to score enough points to take a victory on the road against Los Angeles. Do not be surprised if the score is similar to what happened in Atlanta. Only that was the Lombardi Trophy, this is just a regular-season game. Rams fans beg to differ though.