The dates have not been determined yet, but the Patriots opponents for the 2001 season are now set.
In addition to home and away games against each of its AFC East rivals, New England will also see teams from the NFC West. Next season the Patriots will host St. Louis, New Orleans, Cleveland and San Diego. The road games will be at Carolina, Atlanta, Cincinnati and Denver.
The 2001 season will mark the third time New England plays the NFC West since the league instituted the rotational schedule in 1994. The results have not been great thus far, as the Patriots went 0-4 in 1995 and 2-2 in 1998.
Next year the Patriots will play against five teams that made the postseason this year. The Saints won the NFC West and defeated St. Louis in the first round of the playoffs. Denver made it as a wild card, but without injured quarterback Brian Griese the Broncos bowed out early. From the AFC East was division champion Miami and the Indianapolis Colts.
On the other end of the spectrum, New England will play games against four of the five teams that finished with a worse record than the Patriots. They will face Cleveland, Cincinnati, Atlanta and San Diego, four teams that combined for a 12-52 record this year. New England played the Browns and Bengals in 2000, losing at Cleveland and struggling to beat the Bengals at home.