UPDATE (1:30 p.m. ET): It appears those "schedule leaks" have been coming from a fake account.
It's time. as many of you guys probably already know, this account is fake. i just wanted to spark some conversation and get people excited for football this fall. and it worked, i started at 0 followers and now im almost at 5k! just shows how gullible people can be.— NFL Schedule Leaks 2020 (@nflschedule2020) May 6, 2020
However, Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer reported the possibility of a "collapsible" NFL schedule in which teams play their out-of-conference games early in the season.
-- End of update --
The 2020 NFL schedule leaks have begun, and if you believe them, the New England Patriots will have a must-watch matchup right off the bat.
According to the "NFL Schedule Leaks 2020" Twitter account -- which claims to have correctly reported every 2019 NFL game last year -- Jimmy Garoppolo's San Francisco 49ers are set to visit the Patriots in Week 2 of the 2020 season.
Week 2:— NFL Schedule Leaks 2020 (@nflschedule2020) May 6, 2020
4:25 - San Francisco 49ers @ New England Patriots (FOX)
Week 2 would mark Garoppolo's first game back in New England since the Patriots traded him to San Francisco in October 2017. If the Patriots are on the road in Week 1, their matchup with the defending NFC champion 49ers also would be their first home game in the post-Tom Brady era.
Download the MyTeams app for the latest Patriots news and analysis
How's that for appointment television?
Of course, there's no guarantee this game will be played as the coronavirus pandemic leaves the NFL in limbo. Per @NFLSchedule2020, the league may structure the 2020 schedule to allow for contingency plans.
Expected format for 2020 schedule:— NFL Schedule Leaks 2020 (@nflschedule2020) May 5, 2020
Week 1-4: Out-of-Conference games
Week 5-6: Equal-place Conference games
Week 7-10: Divisional games/Bye weeks
Week 11-14: Inter-conference games
Week 15-17: Divisional games
As Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer reported Monday, this format would allow the league to cancel the early-season, out-of-conference games first in the event it needs to "collapse" the season to 12 or 14 games.
So, what would this format look like for the Patriots, who are playing the NFC West and AFC West in 2020 in addition to the 2019 AFC division winners and the AFC East?
(Third time's the charm)— McGarvin (PatsPOV) (@PatriotsPOV) May 6, 2020
If true, the Patriots schedule would look like this (not in order):
Week 1-4: Cardinals, 49ers, Rams, Seahawks
Week 5-6: Ravens, Texans
Week 7-10: Jets, Bills, Dolphins, BYE
Week 11-14: Raiders, Broncos, Chargers, Chiefs
Week 15-17: Jets, Bills, Dolphins https://t.co/QNjDZBs9PD
If these games stay on the schedule, that'd be a brutal opening stretch for New England, especially considering Seattle and Los Angeles (Rams) are both road games.
This schedule also means the Patriots may have to make three separate West Coast trips: One to Seattle and two separate cross-country flights to L.A. to play the Rams and Chargers. That's a tall task for 23-year-old quarterback Jarrett Stidham.
The NFL is set to drop the official schedule on Thursday night, but keep an eye out for more leaks in the meantime.
2020 NFL Schedule: Could Patriots host Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers early in season? originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston