Patriots schedule 2023: Ranking New England’s toughest opponents

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Ranking the Patriots' Toughest Opponents for the 2023 Season originally appeared nbc sports boston

The New Patriots are working hard to make a comeback in 2023.

They will enter the season with the fourth toughest schedule in the NFL based on opponents' 2022 winning percentage. Nine of their 17 games would come against playoff teams, including games against the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs and the runner-up .

2023 Patriots schedule: Dates for all 17 regular season games

The Patriots will play one of their home games in Germany against the Indianapolis Colts as part of the NFL International Series. As far as their division, the AFC East improved in the offseason with Aaron Rodgers joining the New York Jets. Overall, this sets up a challenging season for a team looking for better results after missing out on the playoffs.

Here are all 14 teams the Patriots will face next season, ranked in order of difficulty from easiest matchup to toughest.

2022 record: 8-8-1, 4th in NFC East

The Patriots will welcome the Commanders to Gillette Stadium in Week 9. If Washington doesn't fix its QB and O-line issues, New England's defense should feast. As of today, it's up to 2022 fifth-rounder Sam Howell to lead the offense and Jacoby Brissett could also get some starts under center. It's hard to imagine any alternative to the Patriots defense being better than Belichick and Foxboro.

13. Indianapolis Colts

2022 record: 4-12-1, 3rd in AFC South

The Patriots will play one of their “home” games in Week 10 against Indy in Frankfurt, Germany. This is one of their easier matchups on , but playing overseas rather than at Gillette Stadium ups the ante a bit.

In Week 9 of the 2022 season, the Patriots' defense had a field day against Indy's rookie quarterback Sam Ehlinger, resulting in a 26–3 victory. Another rookie signal-caller will be tasked with going up against Bill Belichick and the Pats in 2023.

The Colts selected Florida star Anthony Richardson with the fourth overall pick of this year's NFL Draft. It's hard to imagine Ehlinger doing any worse than last season, but Indianapolis is still one of the easiest games on the schedule. First year QBs don't have a high success rate against Belichick.

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The Patriots sacked Sam Ehlinger nine times in their 26–3 victory over the Colts.

2022 record: 7-10, 3rd in NFC South

The Patriots will visit the Saints in Week 5. new orleans reformed Signing X-Raiders QB Derek Carr to a four-year deal during the offseason. This should be a significant boost for a team that managed wins last season despite Andy Dalton starting 14 games.

2022 record: 5-12, 4th in AFC West

To call the 2022 Broncos a dumpster fire would be a huge understatement. He was the laughing stock of the NFL with Russell Wilson looking like a shell of himself and then head coach Nathaniel Hackett looking unimpressive. Perhaps Sean Payton will be able to get Denver back on the right track, but we'll believe it when we see it.

The one caveat here is that this will be a road game for the Patriots. Even if the Broncos' offense remains spotty, this could be a strange Christmas Eve game at Mile High against a tough Denver D. I wouldn't call it a win just yet.

2022 record: 6-11, 3rd in AFC West

Jimmy Garoppolo will replace Derek Carr and be reunited with Josh McDaniels in Las Vegas for an intriguing Week 6 showdown at Gillette Stadium. Along with superstar wideout Davante Adams, Garoppolo will get to throw to Jacoby Meyers as the ex- wideout signed a three-year, $33 million contract. Get ready to see that infamous Meyers going lateral again and again in matchups.

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Jacoby Meyers' lateral landed in the hands of Chandler Jones, returned it for the Raiders' game-winning TD.

2022 record: 9-8, 3rd in AFC North

The Patriots will travel to Pittsburgh for the second consecutive season, and they can expect a tougher matchup than last year's 17-14 win. The Steelers would get a full season from the Pickett/George Pickens connection that propelled them to seven wins in their last nine games. A healthy TJ Watt is also a major factor as he could make for a long day for New England's offensive line. This week's Showdown 14 will be a sneaky tough game.

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Mitch Trubisky was under center for the Steelers when the Patriots won last year's matchup, 17–14.

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2022 record: 9-7-1, 3rd in NFC East

The Giants will host the Patriots in Week 12. It could be a challenging journey for the Patriots. New York, led by franchise QB Daniel Jones (signed to a four-year, $160M contract in the offseason), took a significant step forward in 2022 under head coach Brian Dabol.

2022 record: 10-7, 2nd in AFC West

The Chargers will head to Foxboro in Week 13 for the first time since 2019, aiming for their first win at Gillette Stadium since 2005. New England has won seven straight games against the Chargers since 2010.

Justin Herbert has been able to end that streak, but LA has no shortage of holes in its roster to fix. If this matchup happened today, Ramondre Stevenson will have the time of his life against the Chargers' weak run defense.

2022 record: 9-8, 2nd in AFC East

The Patriots split their season series with the Dolphins in 2022, though their win was a narrow one against third-string QB Skylar Thompson. A healthy Tua Tagovailoa could make life difficult for Belichick and company. He is 4-0 against the Patriots in his career and if he carries over his 2022 success into 2023, Miami's offense will be a problem.

The Buffalo Bills are the class of the AFC East, but the Dolphins could once again stand in the way of the Patriots' playoff spot in 2023.

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The Patriots split the 2022 season series versus Miami, but Tua Tagovailoa is 4-0 against New England in his career.

5. New York Jets

2022 record: 7-10, 4th in AFC East

Aaron Rodgers gives the Jets their best chance to end the current losing skid against the Patriots. Not only that, but the Jets currently have the second best odds to win the AFC East on DraftKings at +230. Both of last season's games against New York were nail-biters and with the offense much improved, this year's meetings won't be a cakewalk either.

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The Patriots haven't lost to the Jets since 2015.

2022 record: 12-5, 2nd in NFC East

The Patriots will travel to Dallas in Week 4. If they don't fix their offensive line problems before the new campaign, Micah Parsons and the Dallas defense will dominate.

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The Patriots hosted the Cowboys in 2021 and fell 35–29 in overtime.

3. Philadelphia Eagles

2022 record: 14–3, first in the NFC East

Jalen will visit the Patriots in Week 1 after Hurts and the Eagles came just inches away from a Super Bowl title. they will test Mack Jones and company are right out of the gate with one of the league's best defenses and an MVP-caliber quarterback who has multiple weapons at his disposal.

2. Buffalo Bill

2022 record: 13–3, first in the AFC East

The tables have turned in the Patriots-Bills rivalry. after dominating the entire bill In the Tom Brady era, the Patriots have lost six of their last seven games against their AFC East foe. Their one win was a December 2021 matchup in which Mc Jones completed two passes in the air that went 50 mph. As long as Josh Allen is the man under center in Buffalo, the Patriots will face an uphill battle trying to reclaim the top spot in the division.

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The Bills have defeated the Patriots in four straight matchups.

1. Kansas City Chiefs

2022 record: 14–3, first in the AFC West

The defending Super Bowl champions will travel to Foxboro in Week 15. It doesn't need much explanation to keep him at the No. 1 spot. Even if the Patriots' offense improves in 2023, it's hard to envision them having enough firepower to keep up with Patrick Mahomes. This game will show how far away the Patriots still are from competing with the top dogs in the AFC.