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The New England Patriots won't be playing a first-place schedule during the 2021 NFL season, which is a big change from many of the previous 20 seasons.
For example, the Patriots had won 11 consecutive AFC East division titles before finishing 7-9 last season. As a result, they played a first-place schedule throughout the 2010s decade.
The benefit of a third-place schedule doesn't mean the Patriots will definitely win 10 games again next season and/or return to the playoffs, though. One of the reasons for that is the Patriots will actually play against a bunch of really good quarterbacks in 2021.
Let's take a look at the list, which has become more clear following the 2021 NFL Draft last week.
Jameis Winston/Taysom Hill
That's an impressive list, and a few names stand out above the rest.
The most obvious one is Tom Brady. The former Patriots quarterback who won six Super Bowl titles in New England will be making his much anticipated return to Foxboro with the defending champion Buccaneers.
Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert will get his second look at the Patriots after losing 45-0 to New England as a rookie in 2020. It was one of Herbert's worst games in an otherwise fantastic debut campaign.
The new-look Jaguars also will come to Gillette Stadium with 2021 No. 1 overall draft pick Trevor Lawrence under center. The former Clemson star was one of the best QB prospects to enter the draft in the last 25 years.
Overall, the Patriots will be facing a bunch of quarterbacks drafted high in the first round. Eleven of the quarterbacks listed were taken in the top 10 of their respective drafts. This group also includes three No. 1 overall picks (Lawrence, Winston and Mayfield).
We will finally learn when exactly these teams and quarterbacks will play the Patriots when the 2021 regular season schedule is revealed May 12.