Foxborough, MA– This week, the 2019 NFL schedule was announced and the New England Patriots made out pretty well. They always do, thanks to a fairly weak AFC East division, but this time, the Patriots' first half of the season is against teams that did not make the post-season in 2018 (with a BYE in week ten). Teams for the upcoming season are still in the making, but for now, here's a rank of the matchups from what I anticipate to be the hardest games all the way down to the supposed easiest.
- Kansas City Chiefs (Home, December 8) - The Chiefs gave the Patriots a run for their money in the AFC Championship Game, and I have to think that Patrick Mahomes is only going to continue to improve.
- Baltimore Ravens (Road, November 3) - A part of Sunday Night Football, the Ravens are an upstart franchise in the league. Yes, I still fear Lamar Jackson.
- Cleveland Browns (Home, October 27) - I never thought the Browns would rank this high, but they are stacked now. With Odell Beckham, Jr. on the roster, the Browns are a legitimate threat.
- Philadelphia Eagles (Road, November 17) - This stretch is clearly shaping up to be a tough one. Obviously, the Eagles are capable of giving New England trouble.
- Miami Dolphins (Road, September 15) - The Dolphins always give New England trouble in Miami, as well. Especially this early in the season when Bill Belichick is still experimenting with new players.
- Houston Texans (Road, December 1) - Another Sunday Night Football game will see the Patriots take on one of the league's top defenses.
- Dallas Cowboys (Home, November 24) - The Cowboys made a strong comeback in 2018 and they'll look to keep things going around Thanksgiving.
- Pittsburgh Steelers (Home, September 8) - The Steelers lost a lot of top players, but home openers are never cake walks.
- New York Giants (Home, October 10) - New York is not very good, but the Patriots will be on short rest for this game.
- Cincinnati Bengals (Road, December 15) - Road games this late in the season are tough.
- Buffalo Bills (Road, September 29) - And so are road games this early in the season.
- Washington Redskins (Road, October 6) - Washington doesn't even have a legitimate quarterback option right now, so they are not a formidable threat to any team.
- Miami Dolphins (Home, December 29) - Depending on potential seeding options, the season finale could be a hard fought battle.
- New York Jets (Road, October 21) - There's a path for the Jets to be good this season, but I really don't see it panning out.
- New York Jets (Home, September 22) - The Patriots have had the Jets' number for a long time. Don't expect it to change.
- Buffalo Bills (Home, December 21 or 22) - This is the closest I can come to making a guarantee. New England should have no trouble winning this one.
It should be an amazing season for New England!