The New England Patriots have been said to have one of the easiest schedules entering the 2021 season.
New England does, however, have a somewhat challenging schedule based specifically on their opponents’ win totals. Obviously, bookmakers make said win totals as a way of trying to entice action rather than predict exact records, but nevertheless the best teams are awarded recognition based on preseason totals.
The Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, for example, possess the highest win totals after coming off a season in which they went to the Super Bowl.
The Patriots, despite their opponents going a combined 133-139 last season, are set to play nine teams (11 games) with an over/under win total projected at nine. Nine wins, given the 17-game schedule, would get a team above .500.
The Patriots, of note, also have their win total set at over/under nine wins.
Week 1: Miami Dolphins O/U 9
Week 2: New York Jets O/U 6.5
Week 3: New Orleans Saints O/U 9
Week 4: Tampa Bay Buccaneers O/U 11.5
Week 5: Houston Texans O/U 4.5
Week 6: Dallas Cowboys O/U 9.5
Week 7: New York Jets O/U 6.5
Week 8: Los Angeles Chargers O/U 9
Week 9: Carolina Panthers O/U 7.5
Week 10: Cleveland Browns O/U 10.5
Week 11: Atlanta Falcons O/U 7.5
Week 12: Tennessee Titans O/U 9
Week 13: Buffalo Bills O/U 11
Week 14: BYE
Week 15: Indianapolis Colts O/U 10
Week 16: Buffalo Bills O/U 11
Week 17: Jacksonville Jaguars O/U 6.5
Week 18: Miami Dolphins O/U 9
Here are a few takeaways:
— The Buccaneers, as you can see, have the highest projected win total of any Patriots opponent at 11.5. Tom Brady and Co. already opened as a 3.5-point favorite when the Buccaneers travel to Gillette Stadium for a Week 4 clash.
— The stretch of Titans, Bills, Colts, Bills from Week 12 to Week 16 could be a tough stretch for the Patriots. Those four games represent three of New England’s toughest opponents based strictly on projected win totals.
— The Texans and Jets have the two lowest projected win totals, and make for a promising three-week stretch as the Patriots face Houston in Week 5 and New York (for the second time) Week 7. If the Patriots enter Week 5 with a 2-2 or even 1-3 record, that stretch certainly could get them back to .500.
— Five Patriots opponents are projected to go below .500 based on these win totals. The Jets, Texans, Panthers, Falcons and Jaguars are projected to win in the neighborhood of 7.5 games or less.