New England still the team to beat in the NFL 

Photo credit Christopher Hanewinckel/USA Today Sports

 

The New England Patriots will face some familiar foes as they bid to win their fourth Super Bowl championship in the past six years.

Anyone learning how to bet on the NFL could do worse than backing the Patriots to claim the title once again, with the schedule holding few fears for a team who know what it takes to win.

Their 13-3 victory over Los Angeles Rams in last season’s Super Bowl came about mainly because Bill Belichick delivered a coaching masterclass.

Belichick stifled the Rams’ prolific offense, preventing them from running a single play inside New England’s 26-yard line.

With Belichick pulling strings once again and legendary quarterback Tom Brady still in the fold, the Patriots will be tough to beat next term.

New England will begin the defense of the Super Bowl when they host the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, September 8.

The Patriots have twice hosted the Steelers in their opening game after winning the title, in 2002 and 2015, and they recorded victories on each occasion.

Bill Belichick’s side faces three of the next four weekends on the road, visiting Miami Dolphins, Buffalo Bills, and Washington Redskins.

Their only home game during that period comes on September 22 against New York Jets. The Patriots have dominated the Jets in recent times, racking up six wins on the bounce.

Their most recent meeting came back in December, with the Patriots romping to a comfortable 38-3 victory.

New England has successive primetime games during October, starting with a home match against New York Giants on October 10.

They hit the road again in Game Week 7 with a trip to face the New York Jets on Monday Night Football at the MetLife Stadium on October 21.

The Patriots return home to face Cleveland Browns on October 27, before traveling to meet Baltimore Ravens the following week.

New England will have a November bye week for the seventh time in eight seasons in Game Week 10, before heading out to Philadelphia to meet the Eagles on November 17.

Dallas Cowboys are next on the agenda at home the following Sunday, while another primetime game at Houston Texans awaits on December 1.

The Patriots go head-to-head with the Kansas City Chiefs on December 8 in what could be another thrilling encounter.

The two sides met in the 2018 AFC Championship Game, with the Patriots recording a 37-31 success. Games between the pair are generally high-scoring affairs, and this could be another match to savor.

New England rounds off the regular season with games against Cincinnati Bengals (A), Buffalo Bills (H) and Miami Dolphins (H).

The final two games pitch the Patriots against divisional rivals they have largely dominated in recent times. The Bills have won just one of their last eight meetings with the Patriots, while the Dolphins have lost six of their previous nine.

The Patriots have won AFC East for the past ten years, and it’s difficult to imagine them failing to make it 11 this time around.

Whether they can go on to win the Super Bowl is an entirely different matter, but they are certainly the team everyone will want to beat.

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