The 2000 schedule for the New England Patriots was released late Tuesday, providing a glimpse of the tough road new Head Coach Bill Belichick faces.
New England will face three 1999 playoff teams in the first four weeks. The only non-playoff team the Patriots face during that stretch will be on the road against the arch-rival New York Jets in a Monday Night Football game.
The schedule includes a pair of Monday night games and a Thanksgiving Day match-up in Detroit against the Lions. The Turkey Day game is the first Thanksgiving game for the Patriots in 16 years and just the second such game in team history. The first Monday night game is in New York in Week Two, and the second is at home against Kansas City on Dec. 4.
New England will face six of last year's 12 playoff teams. The Patriots play division opponents Indianapolis, Miami and Buffalo twice each, and Tampa Bay, Minnesota and Detroit from the NFC Central.
One break for the Patriots is the placement of the bye week. For the second straight season, New England's bye will be in Week Nine, which is the midway point of the year. The Patriots also host their season-opener for the first time in three years when they start off the season against the Buccaneers.