The Patriots have their work cut out for them this season.
New England’s 2022 schedule became official Thursday evening, and, at least on paper, the Patriots will face a tough road toward the NFL postseason. In addition to a slew of seemingly difficult opponents, New England also will have to defeat the logistics of its own schedule.
The Patriots are one of only two teams (the Philadelphia Eagles being the other) who will play an NFL-high five games on short weeks, per Rich Cimini of ESPN. The abbreviated breaks will occur between Weeks 4 and 5, Weeks 7 and 8, Weeks 11 and 12, Weeks 14 and 15 and Weeks 15 and 16.
There also is a possibility for the Patriots to deal with a sixth short week, as they’ll follow up their Week 17 game against the Miami Dolphins (Sunday afternoon) by visiting the Buffalo Bills in a season finale that could be played on either Saturday or Sunday.
Here’s the full schedule:
Week 1: at Miami Dolphins (Sunday, Sept. 11, 1 p.m. ET)
Week 2: at Pittsburgh Steelers (Sunday, Sept. 18, 1 p.m. ET)
Week 3: vs. Baltimore Ravens (Sunday, Sept. 25, 1 p.m. ET)
Week 4: at Green Bay Packers (Sunday, Oct. 2, 4:25 p.m. ET)
Week 5: vs. Detroit Lions (Sunday, Oct. 9, 1 p.m. ET)
Week 6: at Cleveland Browns (Sunday, Oct. 16, 1 p.m. ET)
Week 7: vs. Chicago Bears (Monday, Oct. 24, 8:15 p.m. ET)
Week 8: at New York Jets (Sunday, Oct. 30, 1 p.m. ET)
Week 9: vs. Indianapolis Colts (Sunday, Nov. 6, 1 p.m. ET)
Week 10: Bye
Week 11: vs. New York Jets (Sunday, Nov. 20, 1 p.m. ET)
Week 12: at Minnesota Vikings (Thanksgiving, Nov. 24, 8:20 p.m. ET)
Week 13: vs. Buffalo Bills (Thursday, Dec. 1, 8:20 p.m. ET)
Week 14: at Arizona Cardinals (Monday, Dec. 12, 8:15 p.m. ET)
Week 15: at Las Vegas Raiders (Sunday, Dec. 18, 8:20 p.m. ET)
Week 16: vs. Cincinnati Bengals (Saturday, Dec. 24, 1 p.m. ET)
Week 17: vs. Miami Dolphins (Sunday, Jan. 1, 1 p.m. ET)
Week 18: at Buffalo Bills (Saturday/Sunday, Jan. 7/8, TBD)
As you can see, New England also will play a whopping five primetime games. Clearly, Bill Belichick’s team remains a big draw for TV audiences.
As for the short weeks, it helps that the Week 10 bye and a mini, post-Thursday night bye break things up a bit. The Detroit Lions also are a nice soft-landing opponent after playing the Packers in the late-afternoon slot the previous weekend.
Nevertheless, this is not an easy schedule for the Patriots. The difficult late-season stretch likely will make it especially important for New England to get off to a hot start, which it was unable to do last year.