The Patriots spent an uncharacteristically high amount of money during the 2021 NFL offseason, dropping a then-record $163 million in guarantees on numerous free-agent signings with the goal of fortifying their roster. This decision came after missing the playoffs for the first time in more than a decade.
The approach worked. New England won a wild-card berth in 2021 on the backs of its new players and first-round rookie quarterback Mac Jones. They Patriots lost to the Bills in embarrassing fashion in that contest, but there was a reason for optimism, as New England was seemingly building a potential AFC contender.
However, the feeling surrounding the team has changed a bit during the 2022 NFL offseason. New England hasn’t made too many drastic alterations to its roster. The team returned to its roots, staying quiet in free agency and watching players like JC Jackson walk. As a result, they lost a lot of depth in the back seven and had to fill it by bargain-hunting.
The Patriots added Terrance Mitchell and Malcolm Butler at cornerback as their major offseason acquisitions. They also swung a solid trade to acquire Dolphins receiver DeVante Parker, but will those moves be enough to stay competitive in the AFC?
The AFC has undergone many changes during the offseason, including an arms race in the AFC West that could muddy the wild-card picture. The Patriots should still be in the running for a potential playoff spot, but it is not guaranteed. Neither is a top-two finish in the AFC East.
Here is a complete breakdown of the Patriots’ 2022 schedule, including dates, start times and analysis for all 17 games.
MORE: Buy 2022 NFL game tickets at TicketSmarter
Patriots schedule 2022
The Patriots’ schedule will be announced as part of the NFL’s schedule release on Thursday, May 12. Below is a look at their 17 opponents for 2022 and what has been leaked of their schedule to date.
- Home: Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Miami Dolphins, New York Jets, Indianapolis Colts
- away: Arizona Cardinals, Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns, Green Bay Packers, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, New York Jets, Las Vegas Raiders, Pittsburgh Steelers
|week||date||Opponent||Kickoff time||TV channel|
The Patriots got off to a rough start during the 2021 season, posting a 2-4 record in their first six contests before rattling off seven consecutive victories to become a playoff team. They rode a strong rushing offense (eighth in the NFL) and a top-five defense to the postseason before getting blown out by the Bills in their wild-card matchup.
New England will look to improve upon that performance in 2022, but it will have to do it against a tough-looking schedule. The team’s competition in the AFC East has improved and they are facing the AFC and NFC North on the schedule. They have a couple of games that look clearly winnable, but most will prove difficult given the stacked nature of the AFC.
NFL POWER RANKINGS: Where Patriots rank after 2022 NFL Draft
Patriots strength of schedule
The Patriots’ strength of schedule ranks dead-middle in the NFL. Their opponents in 2022 posted a combined record of 143-144-2 during the 2021 NFL season, so that gives them a 0.498 strength of schedule. That ranks 16th in the NFL.
Of course, it’s important not to read into that number too much given the way that teams change from year-to-year. For example, the Dolphins and Jets have made numerous big additions during the 2022 NFL offseason. Most notably, Miami added Tyreek Hill while New York added three first-round draft picks including Sauce Gardner. Both teams could provide tougher-than-expected tests for the Patriots.
So, while the Patriots appear to have a middle-of-the-road schedule, it could become difficult quickly given the nature of the AFC.
Toughest Tests: The Patriots have several difficult road games in 2022. They will make trips to Green Bay, Buffalo and Pittsburgh for games against the Packers, Bills and Steelers. Those all have cold-weather potential, too, so none of those will be easy for New England.
Traveling to Miami won’t be easy either. The Patriots are just 2-7 there since 2013 and are 1-4 in their last five overall against the Dolphins. Brian Flores is no longer there, but there is enough concern about that one to make it a difficult game.
New England’s home schedule is a bit better, but hosting the Bills and reigning AFC champion Bengals will both be tough tests. So will hosting Lamar Jackson and the Ravens, who figure to be better in 2022 if they can avoid putting 20-plus players on IR.
Biggest Breaks: The Patriots have a couple of easy-looking home games on their schedule, as they get to play the Lions and Bears at Gillette Stadium. Both teams have incomplete rosters, so New England should beat them at home. They should do the same against the Jets at home, but that could get complicated if it’s a prime-time game.
It’s harder to find easy road games for the Patriots, but playing the Raiders could be considered a bit of a break. The AFC West is loaded, but Las Vegas’ roster is probably the weakest of the bunch. They are still difficult to play against, but at least New England doesn’t have to face Patrick Mahomes, Justin Herbert or Russell Wilson. But also, that’s a revenge game for Josh McDaniels, so it’s hard to call that an easy contest.
Bottom Line: The Patriots went 10-7 last season, and it feels like that may be their ceiling again this year. Can they get there, however? It’s a question worth asking. Mac Jones could take a step forward and help his team get double-digit wins, but playing against more difficult opponents in the AFC could cause him a bit of a sophomore slump. So could lose McDaniels.
So, it’s fair to expect the Patriots to regress a bit against a harder-looking schedule. They will probably hover around .500 and be in the race for a wild-card spot. It’s unclear whether they’ll make it into the postseason this year, but right now, our lean is that they will just miss out.
Record Prediction: 9-8