The New England Patriots announced their full 2021 season schedule tonight, in a 17-game regular season format for the first time. The slate features three scheduled nationally televised games, including a home Sunday Night Football game against the defending Super Bowl Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In addition to three primetime games, the Patriots will be featured in the marquee matchup of two games that will air as the second game of a double-header, with kickoffs scheduled at 4:25 p.m. ET.
The AFC was determined to be the home conference for the 17th game in 2021 and the Patriots will host the Dallas Cowboys on Oct. 17 at 4:25 p.m. By hosting the 17th game in 2021, the AFC teams will host nine regular season games and one preseason game, while the NFC will have eight regular season games and two preseason home games.
In addition to hosting Tampa Bay on Sunday Night Football on Oct. 3, the Patriots will be on the road for two other primetime games – a Thursday Night Football game at Atlanta on Nov. 18 and a Monday Night Football game at Buffalo on Dec. 6. The game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium against the Falcons will be New England’s first regular season game at that venue and second appearance overall. New England defeated the Los Angeles Rams Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta. The Patriots will play Buffalo on Monday night for the third straight season and for the second time in three seasons at Buffalo.
New England will square off against six playoff teams from 2020, with games against Buffalo, Cleveland, Indianapolis, New Orleans, Tampa Bay and Tennessee. In addition, the Patriots will play Houston for the seventh straight season despite not being in the same division. That mark is tied for the second-longest streak of games against a non-division opponent for New England. The Patriots faced Indianapolis for 10 straight seasons (2003-12) and Denver for seven straight seasons (2011-17). The only other non-division teams to meet at least seven consecutive seasons since 2002 were Buffalo and Kansas City, who played eight straight seasons from 2008-15.
In addition to playing each AFC East opponent twice, the Patriots will play one game against each AFC South and NFC South clubs. As the third-place finisher in the AFC East in 2020, the Patriots will also play the third-place team of the AFC North (Cleveland) and AFC West (Los Angles Chargers).
New England begins the 2021 season when they host the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, Sept. 12, at 4:25 p.m. It will mark the fifth straight season that the Patriots open at home and the second straight year opening against the Dolphins after a 21-11 win in Week 1 of the 2020 season. It is the first time in team history that the Patriots will open the season in the same location against the same opponent in consecutive years. Overall, it is the ninth time the Patriots will open the year against Miami and the sixth time they will open at against the Dolphins at home. The Patriots will open the season with two division games, traveling to the Jets in Week 2 on Sept. 19. It is the fourth time since the NFL realigned the divisions in 2002 that the Patriots will open the year with two division opponents (2006, 09, and 13)
The Patriots will return to the confines of Gillette Stadium when they host back-to-back NFC South teams with a 1 p.m. game against New Orleans on Sept. 26, followed by the Sunday night game against the Buccaneers on Oct. 3. The Patriots will then play consecutive games against the Texas teams, traveling to Houston for the third straight season on Oct 10, followed by a home game against Dallas on Oct. 17.
After a home game against the Jets on Oct. 24, the Patriots will have their only back-to-back road contests, traveling to the Los Angeles Chargers on Oct. 31, followed by a road game at Carolina on Nov. 7. In 2020, the Patriots had one set of back-to-back road games and a three-game road trip. Carolina (3-2) and Seattle (3-2) are the only teams that have winning regular season records against the Patriots since 2001.
The Patriots will play at home against the Cleveland Browns on Nov. 14 and will have two primetime games in a three-week stretch with the Thursday game at Atlanta on Nov. 18, a home game against Tennessee on Nov. 28 and a Monday night game at Buffalo on Dec. 6.
Following the Monday game at Buffalo, the Patriots will have their bye week. The Week 14 bye is the latest since a Week 16 bye in 2001.
The date for the Patriots Week 15 game at Indianapolis will be either on Saturday Dec. 18 or Sunday Dec. 19. The date and time of that game will be determined later in the season. After back-to-back home games against Buffalo on Dec. 26 and Jacksonville on Jan. 2, the Patriots will close out the regular season for the 12th straight year against a division foe when they play at Miami on Jan. 9. It will mark the sixth time in team history that the Patriots will open and close the season against the same opponent. It also happened in 2003 and 2013 against Buffalo, 1987 against Miami, 1981 against the Baltimore Colts and in 1974 against Miami.
The 2021 season will mark the first time in team history that the Patriots will finish the regular season with two games in January. Also, it is the first time the Patriots will close out the year on the road since the 2016 season when they finished the regular season on the road against Miami. The Patriots will also end a seven-year streak of closing the regular season with consecutive division opponents.
Like Newport Buzz? We depend on the generosity of readers like you who support us, to help with our mission to keep you informed and entertained with local, independent news and content. We truly appreciate your trust and support!