In a move that comes as no surprise, the NFL is reportedly cutting the preseason in half from four games to two. According to Pro Football Talk, the league will cancel Weeks 1 and 4 and is expected to make the official announcement on Thursday.
Amid concerns stemming from an offseason that has been greatly impacted by the coronavirus, which has caused teams to conduct their entire programs online and away from their facilities, the league decided to give coaches more time to work with their players on the field at practice.
The preseason games feature less and less frontline players to start with, particular the first and last games, so the move would seem to make some sense. With training camps set to open as expected at the end of July, coaches will now have an additional week of practice before worrying about potential travel and preparing for games.
Also, with the final game scrapped, teams will get extra time to prepare for the start of the regular season, which almost certainly will feature some different protocols as league officials and medical staffs try to determine the best course of action during these unprecedented times.
For the Patriots, that means the August 13 home opener against Detroit and the September 3 trip to New Jersey to take on the Giants are off. That leaves a home date with Carolina on August 20, followed by a road trip to Philadelphia August 27 a week later as the lone preseason games scheduled.