The highly-anticipated NFL schedule release has given us the New England Patriots’ official road map for the 2022 regular season.
The Patriots will begin with a familiar foe as they’ll face the Dolphins for the third-consecutive season to kick off the 2022 season on the road at Hard Rock Stadium in Week 1.
New England will open on the road for the first time since 2016, and won’t play its first home game until the Ravens visit Gillette Stadium in Week 3.
Although the Patriots could face record temperatures in Miami in September, the feeling here is that it’s a better draw than traveling to South Beach late in the season.
Speaking to players over the years, New England struggles at Hard Rock Stadium because of the drastic temperature change’s effect on the body. With the Pats practicing in New England winters, late-season games in Miami are a shock to the system.
The Patriots shouldn’t have as hard a time adjusting after participating in training camp and preseason games in the summer heat. Since 2000, the Pats are 2-2 in September compared to 2-9 in December or January at Miami. To extend it further, the Pats are 4-4 in trips to South Beach in the first half of the season. In the second half, that record drops to 4-9.
Last season, Miami beat the Patriots in bookend matchups to start and end the regular season under former head coach Brian Flores. The Dolphins are now led by first-year head coach Mike McDaniel and, including Tyreek Hill, made several major offseason additions to their roster.
Following the season-opener against Miami, the Patriots have a showdown with Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field slated for Week 4 (4:25 p.m. ET) and make their first appearance in primetime against Justin Fields’s Chicago Bears in Week 7.
The contest that pits two 2021 first-round quarterbacks against one another will see Mac Jones take on Fields on Monday Night Football at 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.
New England’s hosting the Bears on Monday night in Week 7 is far from their only primetime game, though, as the Patriots will play four-straight primetime games starting with a return to the Thanksgiving slate for the first time since 2012.
The Patriots will travel for the holiday to take on the Minnesota Vikings in the primetime slot on Thanksgiving (8:20 p.m. ET). New England’s matchup against Minnesota is the Patriots’ first Thanksgiving game since the infamous Butt Fumble game against the Jets.
Arguably, New England’s most anticipated game comes late in the season when the Patriots travel to take on Josh McDaniels and the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 15 on Sunday Night Football (flex scheduling).
Lastly, the Patriots will have to wait until Week 10 for their bye week, which they’ll take in the middle of the season.
Although the Patriots will be working on the holidays this season, New England ranks in the middle of the pack in terms of total mileage and time zones on their road schedule this season.
But three of the first four games on the road and four-straight prime time games, including a road Thanksgiving night contest late in the season, were tough breaks for the Patriots with the schedule makers.
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