Patriots Rank Among the NFL’s Toughest Schedules for 2022

Bill Belichick

Getty New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick reacts on the sideline.

T

he New England Patriots‘ schedule still isn’t fully released but it already seems that 2022 will be a tough one for the team.

New England will be facing its familiar AFC East opponents along with the AFC North and NFC North. The reigning AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals, as well as the Indianapolis Colts and Baltimore Ravens will be making the trip to Gillette Stadium.

New England will also face the Las Vegas Raiders, Green Bay Packers, and Arizona Cardinals on the road. Most notably, the trip to Lambeau Field will be the Patriots’ first since 2014.

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On April 4, an NFL stats expert (@mrcaseb on Twitter) released a graphic detailing the strength of schedule for each team in 2022 based on projected win totals from DraftKings Sportsbook.

New England’s opponent winning percentage (.518) ranks top five among its AFC competitors and sixth overall in the NFL, trailing only the Chiefs (.540), Rams (.529), Raiders (.524), Jets (.522) and Steelers (.520).

According to Sharp Football Analysis, New England’s 2022 strength of schedule is the ninth-hardest in the NFL. While not quite as bad, it’s still a pretty bleak outlook compared to the Patriots’ 2021 projection (17th).


What Has Changed Since 2021?

The Patriots are coming off a 2021 season that saw the team go 10-7 with rookie quarterback Mac Jones under center. They finished second in the AFC East and were knocked out in the AFC Wild Card round by Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills.

While the rest of the AFC East has improved, New England’s roster has stayed relatively stagnant. The acquisition of WR DeVante Parker on April 2 is the biggest move that the Patriots have made so far this offseason. New England also bolstered its defense by acquiring Mack Wilson in a trade with the Cleveland Browns that included Chase Winovich.

The Miami Dolphins had an active offseason in 2022, acquiring former Chiefs star wide receiver Tyreek Hill to pair with 2021 rookie standout Jaylen Waddle.

Former Pro Bowl CB J.C. Jackson has also joined the Los Angeles Chargers on a massive five-year, $82.5 million contract, leaving a gaping hole in the Patriots’ secondary.

Besides trading for Parker, New England has re-signed Ja’Whaun Bentley, Trent Brown, Nick Folk, Matthew Slater, James White and Brian Hoyer. The team has also signed free agent CB Malcolm Butler and RB Ty Montgomery.

The Patriots’ coaching staff has also undergone some changes as well, with the primary loss being the departure of long-time offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, now the head coach of the Raiders.


How Many Wins Should Patriots Fans Expect in 2022?

DraftKings currently has the Patriots’ expected win total set at 8.5 games. Even if New England is able to clear that bar, fans could leave 2022 with a sour taste in their mouths.

The last time that the Patriots finished a season with a winning percentage under .500 was in 2020 when Tom Brady departed the organization. After that, fans need to go back two full decades to 2000 when Drew Bledsoe was under center and a young head coach named Bill Belichick was in his first season with New England.

2022 is a crucial season for the organization as Jones, 23, enters his second year under center. Quarterbacks are known to make significant advancements to their caliber of play after having their first NFL season under their belt. Belichick, 70, isn’t getting any younger either.

But based on the numbers and improving competition across the AFC, Patriots fans should temper their expectations for the team this season.

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