Now that Super Bowl 53 is in the books, it’s time to look ahead and rank the Patriots’ 2019 regular season opponents in order of difficulty.
While we won’t know the exact regular season schedule for 2019 until mid-April at least, we do know which teams the Patriots will face both on the road and at home. We also know that New England will face the second-easiest schedule in the league next season, based off its opponents’ 2018 winning percentages.
What does all this mean exactly?
Well, the path to repeating as Super Bowl champions isn’t easy. It hasn’t been done since the Patriots themselves accomplished the feat after the 2003 and 2004 seasons… which should give some perspective on how difficult it is to repeat as champs, even for a team as dynastically-dominant as the Patriots have been these past two decades.
That all said, New England will have a great opportunity next season. Most Vegas oddsmakers have the Patriots listed with the best odds at winning Super Bowl 54, though some give the Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Rams, or New Orleans Saints slightly better odds. It’s worth noting the Chiefs have the fifth-hardest 2019 schedule according to opponent winning percentage, however.
At this point, most experts would agree that it’s just plain foolish to bet against Tom Brady and Bill Belichick guiding the Patriots to the Super Bowl as the AFC’s representative. Whether or not they win the big game might be up for debate, but until proven otherwise, the road to the Super Bowl still goes through New England.
So which opponents on the Patriots’ 2019 schedule should the team be circling? Obviously a lot will change between now and early September when the season finally gets underway – we still have free agency, the draft, training camps, and preseason before then – but it’s worth taking a preliminary look at next year’s opponents and scouting which teams might be more difficult than others.
Let’s start with the easiest matchups first: