Sports | May 13, 2021 8:44 pm

The Patriots May Have the Worst 2021 NFL Schedule. Here’s Why.

Yes, even playing the Jets twice doesn't make up for this weird scheduling quirk

FOXBOROUGH, MA - DECEMBER 28: Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots talks to an official during a game against the Buffalo Bills at Gillette Stadium on December 28, 2020 in Foxborough, Massachusetts.
Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots talks to an official during a game against the Buffalo Bills at Gillette Stadium on December 28, 2020
Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

“No days off!” as New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick once … cheered?

It’s good to own that mantra, because the Patriots will have one major disadvantage for the 2021 season: well-rested opponents.

As noted by ESPN’s Mike Reiss (and reported by NBC Boston), the Patriots are the only team in the league facing three teams coming off a bye. And that’s quite a contrast with the other 31 teams.

Football Perspective also noted that the team has the “worst rest schedule.”

Also not helping matters? In 2021 the Pats play Tampa Bay (with Tom Brady), New Orleans, Miami (twice), Buffalo (twice), Cleveland, Atlanta (very belated Super Bowl revenge game?), the Chargers, Tennessee and Indianapolis. That may make up for playing the Jets (twice) and Jacksonville. And the team doesn’t get their bye until week 14, the last possible bye week on the schedule.

Schedule aside, some people seem to be already considering New England less of a threat, including certain parents with ties to Tampa Bay. As Tom Brady Sr. bragged on the Boston-based Zolak & Bertrand radio show: “I saw the schedule come out last night and I started salivating when I saw that we play the Patriots in the fourth game of the season, and that we’re coming up here to make our record 4-0,” he said. “We expect to beat the Patriots handily.” (Also: Who’s “we”?)

Former New England and current Tampa Bay quarterback Tom Brady has a less controversial take on that week four matchup.

Our prediction? A Mac Jones-led NE team will overcome any rest inequities and be in the fight for the seventh playoff spot by week 17 — and that late bye, at that point, might do them some good.