Patriots schedule 2024: Every opponent ranked from easiest to hardest

New England Patriots v New York Jets
New England Patriots v New York Jets / Elsa/GettyImages

The Patriots 2024 schedule was released earlier this week and boy do they have quite the year ahead of them. It seems like the NFL did all they could to make it as challenging as possible, even if some of their opponents aren't viewed in that regard.

Although that adds a wrinkle to the excitement for the first season under Jerod Mayo, there's still a lot to look forward to and a chance the Patriots perform better than expected.

Part of that could come from the handful of opponents that aren't necessarily deemed as much of a threat as the others, and the timing of some of the more challenging games could benefit the Patriots as well.

With that all in mind, here is a ranking of every opponent from easiest to hardest on New England's 2024 schedule.

Patriots schedule 2024: Every opponent ranked from easiest to hardest

14. Arizona Cardinals (Week 15)

The Cardinals are in a similar situation as the Patriots this offseason, having undergone significant changes within their organization. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on who you ask), their starting quarterback, Kyler Murray, remains with the team and will now have Marvin Harrison Jr. to throw to on offense.

But besides those factors, there's not much to like about Arizona to label them a more challenging opponent, especially late in the season when they tend to flounder.

13. Jacksonville Jaguars (Week 7 in London)

It wouldn't matter if this game were played in Florida or in England, the Jaguars would still be considered one of the Patriots easiest opponents.

But since it is in London, where Jacksonville holds a 6-5 record, they won't necessarily have an advantage over the visiting team. On top of that, Trevor Lawrence can be erratic and if the Patriots defense can bring even a smidge of heat to him, they could walk out with the win fairly easily.

12. Seattle Seahawks (Week 2)

The Patriots and Seahawks have a short-lived yet storied rivalry that has made for some really great games over the years. It's possible that will continue this season despite both teams having let go of their tenured head coaches this offseason.

Seattle's team has improved over the last few seasons, but they have a big question mark at quarterback that casts some doubt on how well their offense will perform.

Because it's an early game on the schedule, the Patriots should be able to slow them down no matter who calls the shots. Not having to deal with the loudest fanbase in the entire NFL all game long will also certainly help.

11. Los Angeles Rams (Week 11)

Like many others on this list, the Rams have one of the more solid offenses, which runs through Cooper Kupp, Puka Nacua, and (on a good day) Matthew Stafford. They also have a talented running back room led by Kyren Williams, but they also added one of the top prospects of the 2024 draft class with Blake Corum.

The Patriots' defense will have their hands full in trying to slow down L.A.'s impressive offense, but they are a team that has plummeted from the pedestal they were on just a few years ago when they beat the Bengals in the Super Bowl.

Because of their inconsistency and unpredictability, they become a less threatening opponent for New England this year.

10. Indianapolis Colts (Week 13)

The Colts and Patriots have a long, dramatic history that has made the teams and their fans hate each other. It's a factor that always makes their matches a bit more interesting, even if the teams aren't playing well that season.

They last met in Germany last year, and the Patriots' embarrassing performance got worse when Mac Jones threw a horrific interception to give the Colts the win. Hopefully, that won't be the case this year, no matter who the quarterback is, and the Patriots can seek their revenge and take back their rightful throne.

9. New York Jets (Weeks 3 & 8)

Despite Aaron Rodgers's return after an injury sidelined him for his entire first season with the Jets, the Patriots have a good track record against the New York team. In fact, they have only lost twice in their last twenty matchups.

Sure, having a future Hall of Fame quarterback under center will inevitably make a difference for the Jets, who dealt with Zach Wilson last year, but history has proved the Jets will always Jet in one way or another.

So, does New England really need to fear them? Probably not.

8. Los Angeles Chargers (Week 17)

Three of the biggest mainstays of the Chargers offense over the last few years, Keen Allen, Austin Ekeler, and Mike Williams, are no longer with the team. That will undoubtedly be a difficult transition for Justin Herbert to get used to, especially since Jim Harbaugh and Co. didn't adequately replace them on the roster.

They did, however, add some good defensive players, like Bud Dupree, who will join Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack in wreaking havoc on opposing quarterbacks.

That won't be an easy task for the Patriots' offensive line, but because this game doesn't happen until Week 17, and they should be playing their best football by then, it feels like they're more than capable of beating a less-than-exciting Chargers team.

7. Tennessee Titans (Week 9)

There has been an unexpected pattern over the last few years that has seen some top free agents decide to sign with the Titans despite their lack of relevancy for quite some time. We saw that when the Patriots lost out on signing DeAndre Hopkins last year, and history repeated itself this year when Calvin Ridley did the same thing.

They took a massive hit by losing Derrick Henry, who had been the main reason for offensive success over the years and replaced him with Tony Pollard. He's a talented running back, but he's no Derrick Henry.

That is a plus for the Patriots, who haven't been great at stopping the run. But slowing down the rest of the offense will be just as tough.

6. Houston Texans (Week 6)

The Texans have become a rising star in the league over the last two seasons, as GM Nick Caserio has put on a masterclass in how to rebuild a team from top to bottom in the best way possible.

Many fans want to see the Patriots follow this model, even more so since Houston became a playoff team last year with rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud and receiver Tank Dell. They've improved their offense even more this offseason with a trade for Stefon Diggs, signing Joe Mixon, and an impressive defense to match.

If they continue on the path they went last season and live up to the hype they've earned this offseason, the Patriots will have their hands full come Week 6.

5. Chicago Bears (Week 10)

It might be surprising to see the Bears this high on the list, but with the additions of quarterback Caleb Williams and Rome Odunze through the draft, who were considered the best or nearly the best at their position of the class, Keenan Allen and D'Andre Swift, their offense will be difficult to slow down.

The timing of the game might give the Patriots a bit of an edge, though. Williams spent his college career playing in warmer climates, so a Week 10 game in Chicago will be quite the change for him to try adapting to quickly.

That could be a weak point for the Patriots to take advantage of, especially since the Bears are stacked on both sides of the ball. They'll need to look for ways to slow the game down and create opportunities to get the ball back to their offense.

4. Miami Dolphins (Weeks 5 & 12)

Simply put, it's the Dolphins.

The Patriots have always struggled when playing a game in Miami, and that doesn't appear to be changing any time soon. Unfortunately, they can't count on the Dolphins visiting Gillette Stadium during a cold part of the year either, as their first matchup is at New England in Week 5.

Like many others on this list, they have a loaded offense that looks to have gotten even better and faster through free agency and the draft, making the Patriots' job more difficult when facing them twice a year.

3. Cincinnati Bengals (Week 1)

Playing on the road to kick off the 2024 season against a consistent AFC Champion favorite instantly makes it one of the more difficult games on the schedule.

It's hard to argue that an offense made up of Joe Burrow, Ja'Marr Chase, and Tee Higgins won't be hard to stop. The only silver lining for the Patriots would be that it is the first game of the season when teams aren't playing their best football yet, so pulling off an upset has a higher chance of happening.

2. Buffalo Bills (Weeks 16 & 18)

The Bills will continue to be a thorn in the Patriots' side, just as they have been over the last four years.

Since Tom Brady left after the 2019 season, New England has only beaten Buffalo two times, and since they're on their schedules so late this season, it seems unlikely they'll have an easy time trying to scrape out a win.

However, the Week 18 game might be their shot, as the Bills might have already locked up a playoff spot and might sit their starters. It's not fun to have that mindset about the Patriots, but despite their improvements this offseason, they don't look to be contenders anytime soon.

1. San Francisco 49ers (Week 4)

The absolutely loaded San Francisco 49ers, already considered Super Bowl favorites, playing on their home turf early in the season makes them the hardest opponent on the Patriots' schedule by far.

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