FOXBORO – (Staff Report from Official News Release) – The New England Patriots announced their full 2020 season schedule tonight, highlighted by a division rivalry home opener, five nationally-televised games and matchups against six 2019 playoff teams, including both Super Bowl participants from last season.
New England is among the NFL clubs with the most challenging schedules in the league, according to most metrics, including their opponents’ 2019 win percentages.
In addition to playing each AFC East opponent twice, the Patriots will play one game against each AFC West and NFC West club. As 2019 AFC East champions, the Patriots will also play the first-place team of the AFC North (Baltimore) and AFC South (Houston).
The Patriots are scheduled to play in a total of five nationally-televised games and be featured in the marquee matchup of three games that will air as the second game of a double-header, with kickoffs scheduled at 4:25 p.m. ET.
The Patriots will play two Sunday Night Football games, two Monday Night games and one Thursday Night game. Two of the five nationally-televised games will be played at Gillette Stadium.
New England will begin their quest to defend their AFC East title in Week 1 against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, Sept. 13, at 1:00 p.m. at Gillette Stadium. It will mark the fourth straight season that the Patriots open at home. It is also the first time New England will open the regular season against a division opponent since 2014 when the Patriots lost to the Dolphins in Miami.
The Patriots will play in a Sunday Night game at Seattle on Sept. 20 in Week 2. The next two nationally-televised games will be played in back-to-back weeks, with a Monday Night game at the New York Jets on Nov. 9, followed by a Sunday Night game at home against the Baltimore Ravens on Nov. 15. It is the second consecutive season that the Patriots will play the Jets at MetLife Stadium on Monday Night and the second straight season the Patriots will face Baltimore on Sunday Night.
The Patriots will have a two-week stretch with games scheduled at the new SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles. On Dec. 6, the Patriots will play the Los Angeles Chargers followed by the Los Angeles Rams in a primetime game four nights later on Thursday, Dec. 10. The Patriots regularly had back-to-back games in California in the American Football League days in the 1960s, facing the Oakland Raiders and the Chargers in back-to-back games in seven of the 10 years of that decade.
The Patriots most recently had back-to-back games in California in 2008 when New England played at San Francisco followed by a game at San Diego. That same season the Patriots also played back-to-back games at Seattle and at Oakland.
New England’s final scheduled nationally-televised game will be on Dec. 28, when they host the Buffalo Bills on Monday Night Football. It will be the first time since 2011 and the ninth time under Bill Belichick that the Patriots play two Monday Night contests.
After hosting Miami in the season opener, New England will travel to Seattle for a Sunday Night Football game in Week 2. The Patriots then play three straight AFC West opponents, with a home game against the Las Vegas Raiders on Sept. 27, a road game at the defending Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs on Oct. 4, and back home to face the Denver Broncos on Oct. 11. After their Bye Week, the Patriots host the defending NFC Champion San Francisco 49ers on Oct. 25.
The Patriots return to division play to start the month of November with a pair of road games at Buffalo on Nov. 1, followed by the Monday Night game at the Jets on Nov. 9. The Patriots will be back on primetime the following week to face the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday Night, Nov. 15, at Gillette Stadium.
The Patriots then travel to Houston to play the Texans on Nov. 22, marking the fifth straight season the Patriots face the Texans in the regular season, including the second straight year on the road. Following a home contest against the Arizona Cardinals on Nov. 29, the Patriots will have three straight road games with back-to-back games in Los Angeles followed by a visit to Miami on Dec. 20. It will be the first time since 2017 and the fourth time overall under Belichick (2001, ’02 and ’17) that the Patriots will play three consecutive games on the road.
For the fourth straight year, New England closes out the season with two home games, vs. Buffalo on Monday Night on Dec. 28, and against the Jets on Jan. 3. It is the third time in four years that the Patriots will finish the year with home games against the Bills followed by the Jets.
The Patriots finish their regular-season slate with three consecutive divisional contests for the first time since 2014. New England owns the NFL’s best divisional record in regular-season play since 2001 with a 91-25 record and have gone 19 straight seasons without being swept by a division opponent, the longest such streak in the NFL since 1970.
The schedule is obviously subject to change as the NFL, sports world and the world, in general, react to the on-going health crisis.