The New England Patriots’ schedule was released Wednesday, and the immediate reaction hasn’t been too positive.

Is it going to be fun for some folks to travel out to Arizona, San Francisco, Miami, Nashville, Chicago and maybe even London? Yes, but it’ll get pretty old for the folks who have to do all that traveling to play football.

The Patriots are moving around more than almost anyone, ranking fourth in total miles traveled during the upcoming season. It’s also a tough season to have a last-place schedule since there are plenty of teams coming off bad injury seasons that expect to take a step forward.

New England has plenty of excuses, but we believe there’s some reason for optimism entering the upcoming season. Let’s take a look at each game on the schedule and make some predictions, shall we?

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WEEK 1: at Cincinnati Bengals — LOSS (0-1)
Cincinnati is the prime example of a team returning key players from injury, with Joe Burrow headlining a list of previously banged-up Bengals. He’s been a near-MVP when healthy throughout his relatively short career and should have fun chucking it around to Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins (???) and Jermaine Burton in the opener.

Trent Brown and Ted Karras, a pair of old friends, make up a drastically improved offensive line, while defenders Trey Hendrickson, Sam Hubbard, Kris Jenkins, Cam Taylor-Britt, Logan Wilson and Geno Stone make up a talented defense.

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WEEK 2: vs. Seattle Seahawks — LOSS (0-2)
The Seahawks appear to be in line for another step forward this season, with Mike Macdonald being hired to take over for the aging Pete Carroll.

Seattle has talent up and down the roster, with its wide receiver unit and secondary each being among the most talented in the NFL. If the Seahawks can break the 20-point mark, they should be fine in this game.

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WEEK 3: at New York Jets — LOSS (0-3)
The Patriots have had better starts, but it’s tough to envision anything but a loss as long as Aaron Rodgers still has two functioning legs by Week 3.

It’ll be a primetime game, with New England traveling after hosting Seattle. New York, on the other hand, will be coming off an expected rout of the Tennessee Titans.

WEEK 4: at San Francisco 49ers — LOSS (0-4)
We won’t waste any time listing off the amount of All-Pro players on the 49ers. You know them all, and you know this is a loss so long as nothing crazy happens.

WEEK 5: vs. Miami Dolphins — WIN (1-4)
It feels like there are a lot of people who expect the Dolphins to regress at some point, and you’re reading one of them. Tyreek Hill is aging, there’s little depth in the trenches down on South Beach and Tua Tagovailoa can’t keep getting away with this.

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The Patriots get their first win at Gillette Stadium, though it takes longer than many hope.

WEEK 6: vs. Houston Texans — LOSS (1-5)
C.J. Stroud will hit a rough patch at some point in his sophomore campaign, and it very well could come during this game against the Patriots. Houston is just too talented to lose a matchup against New England.

WEEK 7: at Jacksonville Jaguars — WIN (2-5)
Jacksonville has some talent, but it’s not exactly daunting. It’s a big year for the Jaguars and Trevor Lawrence, but we don’t see them kicking the habit of getting in their own way.

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New England will travel across the pond for the second consecutive season, but this time it ends up with a victory. Mac Jones is playing for the other team, after all.

WEEK 8: vs. New York Jets — WIN (3-5)
The Patriots get their win back in the home half of their season series with the Jets. New York’s aging roster won’t be 100% at this point in the season, so it starts to slide right around here.

WEEK 9: at Tennessee Titans — WIN (4-5)
Can someone say “winning streak?”

The Titans aren’t very good, so we envision this being the Patriots’ easiest victory of the season. New England’s defense should have fun in this one.

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WEEK 10: at Chicago Bears — LOSS (4-6)
It’s time for the start of another losing streak.

The Bears should hit their stride by Week 10, with Caleb Williams firmly entrenched in the starting role with his new group of weapons. The Patriots could be scrappy in this one, but there’s too much talent out in Chicago.

WEEK 11: vs. Los Angeles Rams — LOSS (4-7)
The Rams haven’t been respected enough for how good they constantly are. LA’s offense is a well-oiled machine and the defense has a couple of young studs up front. New England won’t be able to pull this one out.

WEEK 12: at Miami Dolphins — LOSS (4-8)
Miami gets its win back here, needing one to stay in contention. It’s also the point where New England decides it might be time for some Drake Maye, with five games left in the season to get him some run.

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WEEK 13: vs. Indianapolis Colts — WIN (5-8)
Maye earns a victory in his first start, carving up a mediocre Colts defense in front of the Gillette Stadium faithful. He’s officially the guy by December.


WEEK 15: at Arizona Cardinals — WIN (6-8)
The Cardinals stink. It doesn’t matter who starts this one — the Patriots will win.

WEEK 16: at Buffalo Bills — LOSS (6-9)
Maye hits his first real rough patch, with the Patriots struggling to get much of anything going against the Bills. It’s a new era in New England, but nothing changes against Buffalo.

WEEK 17: vs. Los Angeles Chargers — WIN (7-9)
The Chargers have routinely found ways to lose despite an insane level of talent. Justin Herbert lost weapons in the offense, so we expect this to be an easy victory for the Patriots.

Maye and Ja’Lynn Polk could find a rhythm against a suspect LA secondary.

WEEK 18: vs. Buffalo Bills — TIE (7-9-1)
It’s completely unserious to forecast a tie in the NFL, but so is making picks four months before games are played.

The Bills should have a playoff spot locked up at this point, and the Patriots won’t really care too much about draft positioning. It’ll be pride versus the backups in Buffalo, which feels like a wash.

Featured image via Eric Canha/USA TODAY Sports Images