NFL schedule rumors: Possible Patriots-Bucs date; Week 1 opponent

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NFL schedule rumors: Possible Pats-Bucs date; Week 1 opponent originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

We'll know by Wednesday night what the New England Patriots' full 2021 schedule looks like. But who doesn't want a potential sneak preview?

As we await the NFL's official 2021 schedule release, the biggest question in New England is when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers come to town -- and when Tom Brady returns to Gillette Stadium for the first time as an opponent.

Thanks to former Patriots quarterback and 98.5 The Sports Hub's Scott Zolak -- via "Zolak & Bertrand" co-host Marc Bertrand -- we have a potential window for that Pats-Bucs game.

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Zolak believes Patriots-Buccaneers could happen in early October. That means either Week 4 (the weekend of Oct. 3) or Week 5 (the weekend of Oct. 10). Our Tom E. Curran predicts Pats-Bucs will be scheduled for Week 2 (Sept. 19), so it's possible New England's biggest game of the season happens very early in the season.

Curran: This would be Patriots' ideal schedule in 2021

Zolak also forecasts a juicy Week 1 matchup for the Patriots in the Buffalo Bills, who ended New England's 11-year run as division champions last season by winning the AFC East.

The Bills are expected to be one of the NFL's best teams in 2021, so drawing Buffalo and the defending Super Bowl champion Bucs in two of their first four games would present quite the challenge for the Patriots as they aim to bounce back from 7-9.

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The Jacksonville Jaguars and Falcons both will host games in London this season, per The Athletic, and while the Patriots have Atlanta as a road opponent in 2021, Zolak suggests they won't be traveling across the pond this season.

Here's everything you need to know about Wednesday night's schedule release.