As the New England Patriots quest for their title defense commences, it’s hard not to look ahead to what competition they may face in doing so.
The old saying in the National Football League is “any given Sunday,” – the idea that every week is a grueling battle that could result in anything, even a New England Patriots loss. I know, it’s weird. They lose too.
But as we enter the 2019-20 NFL season, it’s easy to play the Bill Belichick mantra of “one game at a time” and not get too ahead of what’s coming this week. However, it’s even easier to look ahead at what could happen down the road, especially for us fans.
The most interesting part of the Patriots schedule comes during November and December. During that span, they play three road games against three playoff teams from last season in Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Houston. They also play the Dallas Cowboys and Kansas City Chiefs at home during that period too. Both of those teams were Super Bowl contenders last season as well. That is by far the toughest stretch of the season, even with the bye sprinkled in there.
Of those five, I believe that the Philadelphia Eagles game on the road will be the most difficult. The Patriots have historically struggled against NFC opponents on the road, especially in the past few years. The Detroit game last year, the New York Giants game in 2015, and the Green Bay game in 2014 have all been either tough losses or nail-biting wins.
At that point in the season, Philly will likely be battling for a playoff spot, so the Pats will get their best game. New England’s also the reigning champs, so of course they’ll get anyone’s best game.
While the Kansas City Chiefs have shown they can win in Foxboro as recently as 2017, I think the Patriots still have the edge in that game playing in Gillette.
Likewise, the road games in Baltimore and Houston also represent big spots for young quarterbacks who may not be ready for the limelight.
Therefore, the New England Patriots will face their toughest test against the Philadelphia Eagles on the road.