ESPN ranks Patriots strength of schedule among the easiest in the NFL

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The 2020 season was daunting for a number of different reasons.

Not only did the New England Patriots lose Tom Brady, have a league-high eight opt-outs and lose Cam Newton early for a game due to COVID-19 — the team also had the most difficult schedule. Kyle Van Noy, Jamie Collins, Elandon Roberts and other key players left the team that offseason also and the Patriots still finished with a 7-9 record.

This season, the Patriots have a revamped roster and Brady’s departure is no longer a surprise. There’s a full offseason to learn and train as a team and order appears to be back in Foxborough. Fortunately for the Patriots, they have the sixth easiest schedule in 2021 as well, according to ESPN’s Mike Clay.

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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Atlanta Falcons, Buffalo Bills, New York Jets and Miami Dolphins all sit before New England on the list. The only disadvantage for the Patriots’ playoff hopes is the fact the other three AFC East teams sit ahead of them on this list.

Regardless, the Patriots are in a much better position to win games and redeem themselves following last season.

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