With the world facing a pandemic and the cancellation of multiple sporting events, this week we want to take a glimpse into the future, past the uncertainty of the coming weeks, especially as they pertain to the NFL offseason. Hopefully, by this fall COVID-19 will be in our rearview mirror, in time for the game of football that we love to go on unabated. Surely those will be exciting times after spending a spring without much, if any, sports competition.
We don't know how the 2020 Patriots will look at that time or when they'll be playing, but we do know who they'll be playing and that is reason enough to look forward to the days of fall. The team-building process will begin at some point this spring but until then we're left to imagine a team that may or may not have Tom Brady leading them.
The top choices are obvious – the Pats will face their biggest AFC rivals that made for some of the most exciting games of the 2019 season. The Patriots will travel to Kansas City and Houston, while welcoming Baltimore and San Francisco to Gillette Stadium. Trips to Seattle and Miami are never easy either, and the team will also see both franchises in Los Angeles in their new stadium.
It's a daunting year of playoff teams and travel no matter how it stacks up when the schedule is officially released.
This week's Samsonite Make Your Case question of the week is…
What will be the toughest game of the Patriots 2020 season?
Mike Dussault says…
Last season the Ravens hung 37 points on a Patriots defense that until that point was in the conversation for one of the best ever. The Ravens provided a unique attack, with the deadly combination of Mark Ingram and Lamar Jackson combining for 176 rushing yards.
This is the toughest game this season because the Patriots defense has so many questions about their front seven at this point and while they have a good base in the secondary to face the explosive passing teams like Kansas City, their ability to stop Baltimore's potent ground attack is a much harder question to answer. No to mention they'll have to do it with a number of new faces on defense.
Can the team find a balance of speed and physicality needed to keep pace with the Ravens? Perhaps the bigger questions are whether a) Tom Brady has upgraded weaponry or b) whether a new quarterback like Jarrett Stidham can withstand the defensive pressure the Ravens love to bring.
The Ravens are a well-run team with enough wrinkles to keep most opponents guessing and they should once again give the Patriots problems no matter how they're constituted.
Paul Perillo says …
At Kansas City
The 2020 Patriots schedule is filled with difficult opponents. Baltimore, KC, Seattle, San Francisco … lots of difficult matchups to choose from. To me it's easy, though. The Chiefs are the defending champs and they play in a venue that has proven to be a problem for virtually all visitors over the years.
Kansas City has the weapons on offense to create a track meet, led by Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes. He's fully capable of lighting up the scoreboard and forcing opponents to keep pace. Meanwhile, the Patriots offense is coming off a season that saw Tom Brady struggle to put points up most weeks. And now there's a possibility that Brady will no longer be here to spearhead the attack at all.
The Patriots could very well be in rebuilding mode if Brady leaves while the Chiefs figure to remain among the best teams in football. So, the Chiefs talent and style coupled with the raucous atmosphere of Arrowhead Stadium make Kansas City the most difficult opponent on the Patriots schedule in 2020.