Patriots schedule 2017: New England will be tested, but not often

he Patriots’ regular-season schedule for 2017 does not appear too difficult for a team that arguably was better the day the schedule was released than it was months before, when it won Super Bowl 51. That said, perhaps no schedule would be too difficult for the defending champs.

New England, as champions do these days, will host the season-opening game. This year, the Chiefs will make the trip to Gillette Stadium on Thursday, Sept. 7 to kick off the 2017 regular season. Here’s a breakdown of the Patriots’ 2017 schedule in its entirety.

The Thursday night season-opener is the one Thursday night game teams want to see on their schedules. Not only does it mean the team is hosting the game as a Super Bowl champion, but it means a couple extra days of preparation for Week 2. In the Patriots’ case, that means more time before a tough road game in New Orleans, where newly-acquired wide receiver Brandin Cooks will make an early-season return to the Superdome. All that before a Week 3 home game against the Texans, who the Patriots eliminated in the playoffs last season. Tom Brady might still be sore from that game.

The Super Bowl 51 rematch was not scheduled as the season-opener as some had hoped. But the Patriots probably don’t mind a few weeks of warm-ups before their grudge match against the team from which they stole the title. It comes after a pair of games against always-tough NFC South teams in the Panthers and Buccaneers, with the latter being a Thursday night matchup and a short week; but also more prep for the Falcons game. The annual road game against the Jets is always fun.

“That’s fine. I guess that’s their business or whatever. But it kind of seems a little ridiculous to me. To act like Colin isn’t one of the top — let’s just call it 64 quarterbacks in the world right now is even more disingenuous. The fact that he’s not on a team right now, I think, kind of speaks to that. It’s kind of pretty silly.”

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