Patriots 2018 Opponents: Three Early Takeaways From Next Season’s Slate

The 2018 NFL schedule won’t be released until April. But with the 2017 regular season coming to a close this past weekend, we now know which opponents each team will play and where.

Here are the New England Patriots’ 2018 opponents:

Indianapolis Colts
Green Bay Packers
Minnesota Vikings
Houston Texans
Kansas City Chiefs
Buffalo Bills
Miami Dolphins
New York Jets

Tennessee Titans
Pittsburgh Steelers
Jacksonville Jaguars
Detroit Lions
Chicago Bears
Buffalo Bills
Miami Dolphins
New York Jets

Some takeaways:

— This is a tough schedule. It features seven games against 2017 playoff teams (vs. Minnesota, vs. Kansas City, vs. Buffalo, at Jacksonville, at Pittsburgh, at Tennessee, at Buffalo), plus home matchups with Aaron Rodgers’ Packers and Deshaun Wason’s Texans. Watson nearly led Houston to an upset victory at Gillette Stadium in Week 3 of this season before New England prevailed on a last-minute touchdown catch by Brandin Cooks.

— Every AFC playoff team from this season is on this schedule, meaning the Patriots will have at least one playoff rematch in 2018 (and potentially more if they advance past the divisional round). They’ll also play the Steelers for at least the fourth time in three seasons (fifth if they meet in the AFC Championship Game later this month).

— Three of the non-playoff teams on this list are just as intriguing, if not more so. Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels reportedly is interviewing for head-coaching vacancies with the Colts and Bears, and defensive coordinator Matt Patricia is doing so with the Lions, meaning the Patriots could see one or both of them on an opposing sideline next season.

Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images

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