2023 Patriots Schedule Prediction: The Road to 12 Wins
The 2023 Patriots Schedule was announced on Thursday night, with the roadmap for the New England Patriots now in place for Bill Belichick’s team heading into the 2023 season.
New England has four prime time games in addition to their nationally televised game in Frankfurt Germany in Week 10, with the Patriots playing on Sunday night football in Week 2 against Miami, along with three straight prime-time games from Week 14 through Week 16. Over that span they’re set to face the Pittsburgh Steelers (Week 14, Thursday Night Football), the Kansas City Chiefs (Week 15, Monday Night Football), and the Denver Broncos (Week 16, Sunday Night Football).
That’s a fairly tough stretch, with the Patriots having to play in Denver coming off a short week on Christmas Eve.
A lot of that will likely depend on where the club is at that point in the season, which we saw last season after the Patriots were flexed out of their Sunday night match-up against the Raiders in Week 15.
Going through it week-by-week, it’s a pretty daunting schedule, but here’s a look at how things might play out.
Week 1: vs Eagles – 4:25pm ET – Record: (0-0)
This game is certainly going to be a big one to kick off the season. New England will be facing the defending NFC Champions in what should be a pretty electric environment, with future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady set to be honored by the club in the “Thank You Tom Game.”
After the pregame festivities are over, it’s going to be a tough battle. The biggest challenge is going to be trying to contain quarterback Jalen Hurts, who threw for 3701-yards last season along with 22 touchdowns and just six interceptions, as well as rushing for nearly 800 yards and 13 rushing touchdowns.
Yet, one of the biggest areas Bill Belichick has addressed has been adding speed to their defense, which should allow them to be a little better equipped to deal with him compared to last season.
However, the biggest difference should be on offense, with Mac Jones coming into this match-up with a pretty solid group of players around him along with new coordinator Bill O’Brien calling the plays this time around. Last year’s problems should be a distant memory, with O’Brien already demanding more accountability and attention to detail from all the skill players so far this offseason.
But one issue could be the fact that the Patriots have had a tough time in early games to start the season without much film to work with, and I’m not a fan of the fact Matt Patricia will be a factor in this one.
At the same time, they’ll, fortunately, have the edge playing at home. With that in mind, another thing that should be interesting is whether or not noise finally becomes a factor at Gillette Stadium following the offseason stadium renovations, which closed in the open end of the field. That could see the Eagles have problems with communication on offense, which will hopefully lead to mistakes as well as turnovers.
It may come down to the wire, but Belichick’s team should be able to pull this one out and get off to a good start.
Week 2: vs Dolphins – 8:20pm (SNF) – Record: (1-0) – WIN
It’s certainly nice to have this match-up being played in Foxboro rather than in Florida, which obviously turned out poorly last year. The biggest issue that plagued them in the previous match-up was ball security, which saw Jones get picked off on a tough play to Devante Parker on the opening drive, with the club also losing two fumbles, including a strip sack for a TD. They were also just 4-of-9 (44.4%) on third down in that game, which was also a big issue.
This time around, the offense should be a little more streamlined and hopefully, those mistakes won’t be repeated.
Meanwhile, defensively, the Patriots did a pretty good job last year with the personnel they had against Tyreek Hill (8 catches, 94-yards) and Jaylen Waddle (4 receptions, 69-yards, 1TD). While both players had productive games, the defense did a fairly decent job keeping Miami’s speedy receivers in check.
There was also some additional context involved that shouldn’t come into play. The biggest one was Waddle’s touchdown, which came late in the first half after safety Adrian Phillips went down with an injury on a 3rd-and-19. That left New England in a tough spot when the Dolphins elected to go for it on 4th down, and head coach Mike McDaniel saw the mismatch when Ja’Whaun Bentley slipped over to help with Jalen Mills, and that’s the spot they went after on 4th-and-7. Tua Tagovailoa hit Waddle on a pass that saw him slip past Mills and blow by Kyle Dugger, who took a bad angle on the play.
The Dolphins receiver then headed off to the end zone, which came just before the end of the half.
That sequence of events, coupled with the strip sack of Jones for a TD earlier in the quarter, dug the Patriots a 17-0 hole they couldn’t get out of.
Looking back, that game was a mess and coming off what should be a better-executed game the week before, this one should be different. With one game under his belt, it should be interesting to see what effect rookie cornerback Christian Gonzalez has in this match-up, along with a more experienced Jack Jones.
If Mac Jones is playing well, this could be a game where newcomer Mike Gesicki possibly makes life difficult on his old team. They pull this one out and get off to a 2-0 start.
Week 3: at Jets – 1:00pm – Record (2-0) – WIN
This one should definitely be interesting. With new quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the Jets are clearly a tougher team than in years past, and this match-up should certainly be a little more challenging.
Interestingly enough, Belichick has had success against Rodgers in the past, with New England nearly beating him in Green Bay last season with rookie quarterback Bailey Zappe after Brian Hoyer went down early in the contest, while also winning two out of their three match-ups prior to last year.
In that previous match-up in Green Bay, they got pressure on him and forced a pick-six, and in all likelihood, they should make his life difficult in this one. After two games, the club will also have some film on him, and the Patriots have the manpower to deal with the talent the Jets have on offense.
At the same time, this is a Patriots team that put up 22 points on the road against them last year, and they should be better this time around. Barring any turnovers or mistakes, I think the Patriots come away with this one, which will create a little bit of buzz as they improve to 3-0.
Prescott and the Cowboys will be tough. (PHOTO:David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports)
Week 4: at Dallas – 4:25pm – Record (3-0) – LOSS
This is a match-up I’m not a fan of. Playing in Dallas is never easy, and Dak Prescott had a field day the last time these two teams met.
The Cowboys quarterback threw for 445-yards and 3 touchdowns in a win over New England at Gillette Stadium in 2021, with CeeDee Lamb absolutely killing them after catching 9 passes for 149 yards and 2 touchdowns.
This time around, Prescott will have the home-field advantage, albeit he’ll be facing a deeper secondary and an overall more talented Patriots defense, which should make things interesting.
Still, I think this could be a game where the Patriots end up in a tight game early on before a mistake potentially allows Dallas to pull away.
Week 5: vs Saints – 1:00pm – Record (3-1) – WIN
Coming off a tough loss in Dallas, the Patriots are back at Gillette Stadium and this should hopefully be a bit of a wake up call for a team that is facing a critical game against New Orleans.
A loss here sets them up to potentially fall to .500 next week in Las Vegas, and potentially even below that with Buffalo coming in two weeks later.
Instead, I think this will be a solid bounce-back effort by Belichick’s club, and the defense will likely carry the day in this one, with Jones and the offense putting together a strong effort.
Week 6: at Raiders – 4:05pm – Record (4-1) – LOSS
I absolutely hate this match-up. With Josh McDaniels and Jimmy Garoppolo reunited, it’s likely that Garoppolo looks closer to his old self, and the odds are pretty good he’s going to put together a solid performance against a Patriots team that may struggle in this one.
Obviously, we know the history when it comes to Belichick facing former coaches, let alone former quarterbacks. Without getting too deep into it, this is just one of those match-ups that never seems to go their way, and it will likely be another one that we’ll be frustrated by when it’s over.
Hopefully, it doesn’t at least end in an embarrassing fashion like the last one.
Belichick’s defense should make life tough on Josh Allen. (PHOTO: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
Week 7: vs Buffalo – 1:00pm – Record (4-2) – WIN
Belichick’s club is back at Gillette Stadium in a battle against what will likely be either a 6-0 Bills team or a 5-1 club that is sitting atop the AFC East, and this could be an opportunity for New England to grab the lead within the Division.
This one should be interesting. Unlike last year, the Patriots should be in a different place offensively at this point in the year than they were in their previous early-season meeting against this team, and a lot of the problems that plagued them in 2022 shouldn’t be as big of an issue.
They’ve got the personnel on defense to be more competitive, and we could see both Josh Uche and rookie Keion White potentially in a good place at this point in the year. Coupled with Matthew Judon, they may be able to make life more difficult on Josh Allen, and that should create a tough environment for him.
Again, I think the crowd could also be a factor if the noise level is higher, and provided the offense is also handling its side of things, I like their chances to stun the Bills and send Sean McDermott’s club home extremely frustrated.
Week 8: at Dolphins – 1:00pm – Record (5-2) – WIN
This rematch may look a little different, as Tagovaoila could potentially be sidelined at this point, at least if history is any indication.
While the Patriots have had a tough time in the past down in South Florida, this late October match-up is a little less sweltering, and the Patriots will head into what could be a match-up against a .500 Dolphins team who, at this point, could be at a crossroads.
It’s also possible that Mike White is their quarterback at this point in the season, which might make things interesting. This could be a big game for the Dolphins, who have little margin for error after New England’s turnaround, as well as wherever the Jets are sitting at this point.
However, if it’s not White and Tagovaoila is indeed in there, I still think the Patriots manage to turn the tables and pull off a surprising sweep. Pulling that off against a team that had won four of the previous five match-ups prior to this season would be fairly impressive, especially if they come away with a win on the road in Miami.
This could be a pretty good statement game for a Patriots team who, at 6-2, would suddenly be emerging as a more formidable team than many expected within the Conference.
Week 9: vs Washington – 1:00pm – Record (6-2) – WIN
The Patriots return home in an early November game against the Washington Commanders, who should be a fairly fascinating match-up. Early reports this offseason has the Commanders favoring Sam Howell as their quarterback, although it’s tough to say where they’ll be at this point given how things have worked out the last couple of seasons.
They also have former Patriots QB Jacoby Brissett on their roster, so it’s possible that he’s potentially the starter in this one. This is also a fairly talented Washington team who, with Ron Rivera as head coach, might make things difficult for them.
However, the Patriots will be in front of a Gillette Stadium crowd, which should give them an edge. This should also be a Patriots team that is playing well on both sides of the football and since good teams tend to beat up on inferior teams, this should – in theory – be another one New England comes away with.
Week 10: vs Indianapolis (in Frankfurt, Germany) – 9:30am – Record (7-2) – WIN
With the Patriots playing over in Europe, it’s going to be interesting to see who is at quarterback for Indianapolis at this point in the season. The Colts drafted Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson in the first round, and the biggest question is going to be whether or not they’ll start him to begin 2023, or if he’ll sit behind either Gardner Minshew or Sam Ehlinger until they’re comfortable with putting him out there.
That being said, it’s probably safe to say, by Week 10, Richardson should be in the line-up as both of those two quarterbacks probably won’t have done enough to prevent the Colts from being below .500. However, the Colts do have former Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator Shane Steichen, who could potentially have them playing a little better football.
Fortunately, for New England, even if that is the case, Steichen’s club is still in transition with a young quarterback. Belichick’s had pretty good success against young quarterbacks and it’s possible that Jones is in a good place at this point with an offense that is putting up points, while New England’s defense is continuing to play well.
I think they force a bunch of turnovers, and the Patriots head into the bye sitting at 8-2, which should set up two weeks of “Are the Patriots back?” talk.
Week 12: at NY Giants – 1:00pm – Record (8-2) – LOSS
Coming off the bye week the Patriots will head down to MetLife Stadium in what should be another game that could go either way.
The Patriots come into this one facing Brian Daboll, who gave them fits in Buffalo and has done a good job turning around his football team while putting together a pretty good nucleus of players.
While Daniel Jones isn’t Josh Allen, he’s likely been good enough to this point for the Giants and this might end up being yet another odd game where he simply makes a few plays he’s not supposed to, while the Patriots offense comes up a little short.
This late November game could just be one where it comes down to a couple of field goals and the Patriots end up on the wrong end in what might be one of their first real disappointing losses of the season. It also ends what had been a four-game winning streak.
Week 13: vs LA Chargers – 1:00pm – Record (8-3) – WIN
It’s likely been a long week for the players, who, after losing against the Giants, head into this one with some urgency. Last week’s loss might have put Buffalo back in the driver’s seat within the Division, which could make this game even more critical.
For the Chargers, they could also be in the mix in the AFC West at this stage of the season, which makes this match-up one that should be fun to watch. Quarterback Justin Herbert’s progress to this point is going to be a key factor, as he’ll likely present a pretty good challenge after throwing for almost 5,000 yards in 2022 while completing 68.2% of his passes.
This one will likely come down to the wire, but the edge goes to the Patriots, who are at home and win this one by a field goal.
Week 14: at Steelers – 8:15pm (TNF) – Record (9-3) – WIN
In the first of three straight night games, the Patriots come into Pittsburgh off a short week in what’s really a big game for them. Getting a win allows them to continue putting pressure on the Bills, as well as giving them some momentum heading into a mini-bye with a showdown against Kansas City at Gillette Stadium looming in 11 days.
For the Steelers, they’re likely sitting above .500 at this point, and it should be interesting to see how far along quarterback Kenny Pickett is by Week 14, given that Mike Tomlin, love him or hate him, has seemed to have pretty good luck regardless of who is back there at quarterback.
I expect this one to probably be one of those games where it’s not pretty, especially since New England is probably dealing with some guys being a little banged out and missing this one. But the Patriots do just enough to get the win, and now they’ll at least get some additional time to hopefully get healthy ahead of their meeting against the Chiefs.
New England should be up for this challenge against Mahomes. (PHOTO: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports)
Week 15: vs Chiefs – 8:15pm (MNF) – Record (10-3) – WIN
Chalk this one up to the fact that the Patriots are well-rested, having had an extra day thanks to this being a Monday Night game, along with the fact they’re playing at home.
By this point in the season, their defense should be playing its best football, and by now, the offense should also be peaking. If everything has gone to plan with O’Brien, Jones should hopefully be putting up numbers that have him back closer to or even a little better than the player he was in 2021.
The stadium will likely be electric at this point, with New England potentially battling with the Chiefs for the top spot in the Conference. Anyone who remembers the previous match-up with Brian Hoyer and Jarrett Stidham under center likely recalls that the Patriots actually matched up pretty well against the Chiefs, despite the fact that game was played on the road in Kansas City. Unfortunately, mistakes and miscues ultimately cost them, but that won’t be the case this time around.
They’ve got enough speed on defense to keep up with Patrick Mahomes and company, with the defense likely forcing a couple of mistakes that allows the Patriots to surprise people and grab the top seed in impressive fashion. If that happens, expect a fun week of discussion on talk radio, which should get even more interesting, given how the next two games might play out.
Week 16: at Broncos – 8:15pm (SNF) – Record (11-3) – LOSS
Nothing like having to play in Denver on Christmas Eve, but that’s what the Patriots are up against this week.
One of two things will have happened for the Broncos at this point. Russell Wilson will either be back to his old self with new head coach Sean Payton, or Jarrett Stidham could be starting in this match-up. It’s literally a toss-up.
For the Patriots, I feel like at this point in the season, if they’re playing well they should be the better team. At the same time, I’m not a fan of the match-up against Sean Payton, who has seen his teams play well in the past, including a Saints team that beat the Patriots pretty handily (28-13) back in 2021.
I do believe that Wilson will have potentially returned to form at this point, with the Broncos forcing a couple of fluky turnovers that leave the Patriots frustrated.
Unfortunately, that likely means that Belichick’s club will get on a plane coming off a loss as they get set for a critical road game in Buffalo on New Year’s Eve.
Week 17: at Buffalo – 1:00pm – Record (11-4) – LOSS
Buffalo remains a tough place to play, and this is a game that likely ends up being incredibly aggravating. There’s probably an injury factor coming into play defensively this late in the season, which likely complicates their postseason hopes due to this loss.
I think this is likely a game where New England keeps it close, but I think the Bills come away with one big play that keeps this one just out of reach for Jones and the offense on what should be an extremely cold, windy day in upstate New York.
The Patriots end up experiencing their first back-to-back losses of the season thanks to this one, which now makes the finale against the Jets even more important.
Week 18: vs NY Jets – TBD – Record (11-5) – WIN
With everything on the line for the Patriots in this game, along with the fact it’s being played at Gillette Stadium, this will be the biggest game of the season for a team that, despite still having won 11 games, is a team many will have written off coming off of back-to-back losses.
It’s also entirely possible that the Jets need this game themselves to get into the postseason, with Rodgers likely having an uneven season where, along with his defense, he’s been able to do just enough to keep them in the mix.
If this game has any serious playoff-seeding implications, the crowd is likely going to be extremely loud, and having watched Rodgers fold in big games in recent years, I like New England’s chances in a match-up like this, especially at Gillette Stadium.
This could also be a game where Jones puts up some solid numbers and applies an exclamation point on what will have hopefully been a pretty solid redemption year for him, which is obviously good news for everybody if it works out that way. And if it bounces Rodgers and the Jets from the postseason, it’s probably safe to say that the fans at Gillette are going to go absolutely bonkers watching him walk down the tunnel with his head hanging down, especially since he likely thought he was good enough to replicate what Brady did three years ago down in Tampa Bay.
Pulling off a sweep of the Jets in this fashion would certainly be a great way to finish the season, as the Patriots would close out the year at 12-5 while also presumably returning to the postseason.
FINAL RECORD: 12-5
How will things go from there? It’s tough to say. Then again, this is being written on May 12th, with far too much still left to happen. Just like last year’s preseason prediction, which didn’t turn out well, it’s all riding on things going to plan, which clearly didn’t happen last year. For the Patriots to even have a shot, the offense needs to get back to or above 2021 levels, with an already talented defense taking a step forward.
Either way, it’s a critical year for both Jones and Belichick, with each needing this story to play out the right way. Regardless of how they get there, let’s hope it also includes playing meaningful games into next January.
Posted Under: 2023 Patriots Offseason
Tags: 2023 Patriots Predictions
A touch of home team blinders and living in yesteryear. As a prognosticator, until proven otherwise, every road game (a win in Miami) should be projected as a loss as should each game against elite teams – Bills, Eagles, Chiefs. Silly exercise anyway. Just like Mock Drafts. Or early 53 man projections.
I’ll have whatever Ian’s drinking.
The last time I checked the over-under for Patriots wins is 7.5.
We’re picked to finish last in our division.