Taking a way-too-early look at the Patriots’ 2022 opponents

The 17-game schedule is here to stay, but the Patriots will have an extra game on the road this time around.

Mac Jones will face five playoff teams in his second season. AP

Following their blowout to the Bills in the opening round of the playoffs, the Patriots won’t take the field again for a competitive game for nearly eight months. But it’s never too early to look ahead, especially if you’re one that likes to make trips based on the Patriots’ schedule.

The exact dates and times haven’t been released yet for next season, though the Patriots know who they’ll face and where. They’ll play 17 games again in 2022, and because AFC teams played an extra home game in 2021, they’ll instead play an extra road game in 2022. So, the Patriots will play at Gillette Stadium nine times and hit the road for the other games (unless the NFL makes one of the Patriots’ games a foreign, neutral-site matchup).

As part of their schedule rotation, the Patriots will take on all of the teams in the AFC North and NFC North. They’ll also take on the teams that finished in second place in the AFC South (Colts) and AFC West (Raiders) in 2021. With the new added game, the Patriots will face the Cardinals and, of course, they’ll face the other three AFC East teams twice.


Here are some matchups to look out for.

Best game against an NFC opponent: @ Packers. The last time the Patriots made a trip to Lambeau Field, a classic game broke out between Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers. Brady is years removed from New England, but Rodgers is still in Green Bay, for now. Rodgers led the Packers to the NFC’s No. 1 seed for a second straight year in 2021 and looks to be the likely MVP winner. However, Rodgers expressed his desire to move on from the Packers prior to the 2021 season, with him and Green Bay eventually renegotiating a contract that would make it easy for Rodgers to part ways at season’s end.

Even if Rodgers is out of Green Bay, the rest of the Patriots’ NFC slate isn’t too spectacular. They’ll travel to Arizona to face the Cardinals, who made the playoffs in 2021 but looked arguably as bad as the Patriots once they got there. Mac Jones will battle a fellow quarterback from his draft class when Justin Fields and the Bears come to Foxborough to take on the Patriots. They’ll also play at Minnesota against the Vikings and at home against the Lions.

Best road game: @ Raiders. The Patriots will make their first trip ever to Las Vegas in 2022 to take on the Raiders. In addition to possibly being the most fun road trip to watch a Patriots game in 2022, Las Vegas looks like it’ll be one of the better matchups on New England’s schedule. The Raiders are fresh off their first playoff appearance in five years, but questions loom over the franchise. They let general manager Mike Mayock go shortly after their playoff loss and interim head coach Rich Bisaccia isn’t a lock to stay, either.


As the Raiders conduct interviews to find their next general manager and head coach, there’s a chance the Patriots could see some old faces on the Raiders sideline. Director of player personnel Dave Ziegler has interviewed for the general manager gig while inside linebackers coach Jerod Mayo will interview to be the Raiders’ next head coach. Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels has also been reported as a candidate for the job in recent days.

Game with the most “fun” potential: vs. Bengals. If you like offense, the Bengals have been one of the most fun teams to watch in the 2021 season.

Led by second-year quarterback Joe Burrow, the Bengals ranked seventh in points per game (27.1) during the regular season with Burrow throwing for 4,611 yards and 34 touchdowns. A big reason for Burrow’s surge was the addition of rookie receiver Ja’Marr Chase, who caught 81 passes for 1,455 yards and 13 touchdowns. The former college teammates have already cemented themselves as one of the league’s best quarterback-receiver duos, and that air raid could be too much for the Patriots to stop.

With Chase or Jones being the likely winner for this season’s Offensive Rookie of the Year, the 2022 matchup could be a fun revenge game for the player that doesn’t win the award.


A pair of games against old rivals to look forward to: vs. Colts and vs. Ravens. Speaking of revenge, the Patriots will get their chance at revenge against the Colts in 2022. The Week 15 loss to the Colts was Indianapolis’ first win over New England in 12 years. It also began the downturn of the Patriots’ 2021 season.

In that game, the Colts jumped out to a 20-0 lead. The Patriots fought back a little, scoring 17 unanswered points to potentially set themselves up for a game-tying or game-winning drive. But Jonathan Taylor sealed the game on a 67-yard touchdown run, giving him 170 rushing yards on the day. The Colts looked like they would be able to walk into the playoffs at that point, but a late-season collapse caused them to miss it, leading to questions on starting quarterback Carson Wentz’s future.

The Ravens appeared to be on track to make the playoffs once again in 2021, holding the AFC’s No. 1 seed as late as Week 12. But they accumulated season-ending injuries to several starters throughout the season, with Lamar Jackson’s injury being the final nail in the coffin as they lost their last six games. Jackson, the 2019 NFL MVP winner, is 1-1 against the Patriots in his young career and if he’s back healthy in 2022, the Ravens should be among the teams to beat in the AFC.

Best matchup: @ Bills and vs. Bills. The game, or games, rather, that will be circled for every Patriots fan are their matchups against the Bills. Buffalo took out two decades of angst in its opening-round playoff win over New England, showing the Patriots whose the boss now in the AFC East.


The Bills should still be really good again in 2022, especially as Josh Allen matures and enters his fifth season. If the Patriots can get Mac Jones to have a similar leap Allen’s had in his career, we could be seeing an exciting QB divisional battle for years to come.

Here are all of the Patriots’ opponents for 2022:





















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