3 Biggest Trap Games on Patriots' 2024 Schedule

New England opens regular season on road against Bengals on Sept. 8
May 11, 2024; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Drake Maye (10) hands the ball
May 11, 2024; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Drake Maye (10) hands the ball / Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports
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With a new head coach in Jerod Mayo and a revamped quarterback room that features veteran Jacoby Brissett and third overall pick Drake Maye, the New England Patriots are out to snap their first two-year playoff drought in over 20 years.

New England is coming off a disastrous 2023 campaign in which it went 4-13. The last time the Patriots had failed to reach the five-win mark was 1992, when they went 2-14.

Paired with an 8-9 finish in 2022, last season's trainwreck caused New England to miss out on the postseason for the second straight year, the first time that has happened since the franchise came up short of the playoffs in 1999 and 2000.

But the fresh faces in Foxborough, Mass., have, at the very least, provided a sense of optimism heading into the near future.

The start of the new era began to feel a bit closer when the NFL released its 2024 schedule last Wednesday. Don't expect the Patriots to once again be a powerhouse right out of the gate, but they should at least take a step in the right direction, and a playoff berth isn't completely out of the question, either.

If New England does want to exceed expectations, it will have to stun a fair share of teams this season. On top of that, the Patriots need to take care of business when they are supposed to, but here are three games that could unexpectedly push New England off course:

Trap Game 1: at New York Jets, Sept. 19

When the Patriots collide with New York for the teams' first meeting of the season, New England won't be up against the same Jets team that it beat 15 times in a row before a 17-3 loss on Jan. 7 spoiled that winning streak.

The last thing the Patriots can do is fall into the whole "we're us, and they're them" mentality against New York. Assuming he can stay healthy three weeks into the season, Aaron Rodgers will be under center for the Jets, and he won't be directing a one-dimensional offense by any means.

Jets running back Breece Hall came up 6 rushing yards shy of 1,000 last season, and there's no reason to believe that he won't keep getting better and better.

New England is no longer New York's big brother in the AFC East, and if it thinks it is heading into East Rutherford, N.J., it will be coming away with a Week 3 loss.