The New England Patriots owning the AFC’s worst record at 4-13 this past season earned them the No. 3 overall pick in next week’s draft.

But New England’s abysmal record won’t be rewarded when it comes to its strength of schedule in 2024.

According to Sharp Football Analysis, which used projected win totals from Vegas oddsmakers, the Patriots will have the second-hardest schedule in the NFL next season. The only team that will face a tougher slate of opponents will be the Pittsburgh Steelers.

It’s a rough outcome for the Patriots, who don’t have much going for them at the moment. They are integrating almost an entirely new coaching staff led by first-year head coach Jerod Mayo while also expecting to lean heavily on rookies they draft.

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The Patriots didn’t catch any breaks with some of the teams on their schedule, either. New England will take on the Los Angeles Chargers, who now have a competent head coach in place in Jim Harbaugh, along with the Chicago Bears, who made significant upgrades to their roster this offseason and are expected to select Caleb Williams with the first overall pick. New England also pays a visit to the Cincinnati Bengals, who also finished last in their division in 2023. But this time, the Bengals should have a healthy Joe Burrow under center.

The Patriots will also have to deal with an increasingly difficult AFC East while also facing the up-and-coming teams from the AFC South along with the teams for the NFC West.

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These are the Patriots games for next season separated by their home and away matchups:

Home: Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, New York Jets, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Los Angeles Rams, Los Angeles Chargers, Seattle Seahawks.

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Away: Bills, Dolphins, Jets, Arizona Cardinals, Jacksonville Jaguars, San Francisco 49ers, Tennessee Titans, Cincinnati Bengals, Chicago Bears.

The Patriots’ 2024 schedule will be released sometime in May and it figures to be an uphill battle for New England.

Featured image via Eric Canha/USA TODAY Sports Images