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Patriots 2022 international game options narrow

With the NFL's announcement of 2022's international host teams, the Patriots' chances of playing outside of the United States have narrowed.

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On Monday, the NFL announced which teams would be hosting international games this season, narrowing the Patriots opportunities to play outside of the United States in 2022.

The Pats were recently awarded as a home market team for the country of Germany, but it looks like New England will have to wait until 2023 to potentially make their debut in the country as Tampa Bay was deemed the first team to host a game there, coming in Munich. The Patriots are not slated to play the Bucs this year, and because New England's 17th game in 2023 will be a home game, they could be the host team in Germany next season.

As noted in the NFL's press release as part of the League's expansion of the regular season to 17 games in 2022, up to four of the teams from the conference whose teams were eligible for a ninth regular-season home game would instead be designated to play a neutral-site international game each year.

The other 2022 international host teams include the Arizona Cardinals in Mexico City, and the Packers, Saints and Jaguars in England, bringing the NFL's international slate in 2022 to five total games.

Both the Cardinals and Packers are set as away games for the Patriots this fall so a tilt against Arizona in Mexico City, or the Packers in London, remain possibilities. However, the Patriots are one of a handful of teams to already have played in Mexico back in 2017, in which they defeated the Raiders.

The Pats have played twice in London, defeating the Bucs 35-7 in 2009 and then following that up with a 45-7 win over the Rams in 2012. It's been a decade since then, as the Patriots could miss out on a trip to historic Lambeau Field if they were to face the Packers internationally.

The full 2022 NFL schedule is expected to be released later this spring after the draft, sometime in mid-May.

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