Ranking the 6 most important games of the Patriots 2024 schedule

New England Patriots v Miami Dolphins
New England Patriots v Miami Dolphins / Perry Knotts/GettyImages
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3. Week 1 @ Bengals

The expectation heading into Week 1 is to get a win for nealy every team. For the Patriots, it will be even more critical as they navigate through a new era in Foxboro and are set to face an incredibly challenging schedule the rest of the way.

Visiting the Bengals, who were in the Super Bowl in 2021 and made the AFC Championship in 2022, won't be an easy start to a season whatsoever. It will be a tall task to take down one of the leading teams in the AFC especially an offense with as much firepower as the Bengals have.

But one thing that might work in the Patriots' favor is that it's Week 1. No team is playing their best football yet, and "any given Sunday" feels more applicable that early in a season. If they can take advantage of that and come out swinging to star the year, they could sneak out a shocking win.

It would be the ultimate tone-setter for Jerod Mayo's first season and be quite a difference from the struggling team the Patriots were nearly all of last year.

2. Week 18 vs. Bills

The final three weeks of the Patriots schedule are going to be a rough one. They play the Bills in Buffalo and end the season at home against the Chargers in Week 17 and the Bills again in Week 18.

Both games against Buffalo will be essential to win, but because it's been nearly impossible for New England to win against them on the road, the assumption is that it will continue again in 2024. So, getting the win when the Bills come to their stadium needs to happen even more.

Like getting a win against the Jets in New York, it would also mean the Bills don't sweep the Patriots two years in a row.

Other than that being a satisfying accomplishment, if they somehow become contenders for the postseason, making the road a bit more difficult for the Bills would be the best-case scenario.