The 2021 NFL schedule has been released and The Hall is taking a historical look at each opponent on the 2021 Patriots schedule. An interesting note is that Bill Belichick has a combined record of 188-72 (.723) against the 2021 opponents while the opposing head coaches that will face New England this season are a combined 8-17 (.320) vs. New England. Seven of the 14 coaches slated to face the Patriots are 0-0 against New England. Buffalo’s Sean McDermott has the most matchups vs. the Pats with 8 (2-6) while Tennessee’s Mike Vrabel has the only winning record (2-1) against the Patriots.
Week 1 – Miami at New England
Sunday, Sept. 12 at 4:25 p.m.
Week 18 – New England at Miami
Sunday, Jan. 9 at 1 p.m.
The New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins will square off in Week 1 and Week 18 of the 2021 regular season. The two teams have split the series in each of the last four seasons. The Patriots have swept the season series with Miami 10 times with six of those coming under Bill Belichick. The Patriots have had the upper hand at home against Miami, holding a 36-18 record in games played in New England in the regular season, including a 16-3 record at Gillette Stadium. But the Patriots are 17-39 all-time in Miami, including two postseason contests. Miami beat New England at Gillette Stadium for the first time in the final game of the 2005 season. The Dolphins and Patriots met for the first time in 1966 and began playing twice a year during the 1967 regular season, except in 1982 during a players’ strike. The two have played three times in the postseason with New England holding a 2-1 advantage. The Patriots enter the 2021 season with a 95-33 record vs. AFC East opponents since 2000 and they are 26-16 vs. Miami during that span.
Miami 57, New England 54
(Including New England 2, Miami 1 in Playoffs)
Record in New England 37-18 (Incl. 1-0 in playoffs)
Record in Foxborough 35-16 (1-0)
Record in Boston 2-2
Record in Miami 17-39 (Incl. 1-1 in playoffs)
Record at Dolphins / Hard Rock 13-21
Record at Orange Bowl 3-18 (1-1)
Record in Tampa* 1-0
Bill Belichick vs. Miami 26-18 (26-16 with New England)
Brian Flores vs. New England 2-2
*A Miami home game was played in Tampa in 1969.
Week 2 – New England at NY Jets
Sunday, Sept. 19 at 1 p.m.
Week 7 – NY Jets at New England
Sunday, Oct. 24 at 1 p.m.
The Patriots open the 2021 season with back-to-back AFC East contests. After hosting Miami in the opener, the Pats travel to East Rutherford, N.J., in Week 2. New England earned its 21st season sweep of the Jets in 2020 – the fifth straight season in which they have swept and the 11th under Belichick’s tutelage. New England leads the series, 69-54-1 overall. The Patriots are 37-25-1 all-time in home games against the Jets, including 17-4 at Gillette Stadium. The teams have played in the postseason three times – a 1985 Wild Card game, a 2006 Wild Card game and an AFC Divisional game in 2010. New England beat the Jets, 26-14, in 1985 at the Meadowlands en route to Super Bowl XX. In 2006, the Patriots defeated the Jets, 37-16, at Gillette Stadium and the Jets beat the Patriots, 28-21, in the 2010 Divisional playoff game in Foxborough. New England is 40-16 against the Jets since Robert Kraft purchased the team in 1994. New England’s 69 overall victories over the Jets (including two playoff wins) are the second most over any single opponent, trailing only the 76 all-time wins over Buffalo.
New England 68, NY Jets 54, 1 Tie
(Including New England 2, NY Jets 1 in Playoffs)
Record in New England 37-25-1 (incl. 1-1 in playoffs)
Record in Foxborough 33-19
Record in Boston 4-5-1
Record at the Jets 32-29 (incl. 1-0 in playoffs)
Record in New Jersey 25-13
Record in New York 7-16
Record in Birmingham* 0-1
Bill Belichick vs. N.Y. Jets 34-12 (33-11 with New England)
Robert Saleh vs. New England 0-0
*A New England home game was played in Birmingham, Ala., in 1968
Week 3 – New Orleans at New England
Sunday, Sept. 26 at 1 p.m.
Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft’s first game as owner of the team was a 1994 preseason game at Foxboro Stadium against the Saints. The Patriots won that game 24-6. The two teams will meet in Week 3 for 15th meeting ever and the first meeting since the Patriots 36-20 win against the Saints at in New Orleans on Sept. 17, 2017. The Patriots lead the all-time series, 10-4. The Patriots are 5-3 overall against the Saints in Foxborough. The two clubs first met in 1972 when the Patriots won, 17-10 in New Orleans. The first meeting in New England was also a Patriots win – 27-6 at Schaefer Stadium.
New England 10, New Orleans 4
Record in New England 5-3
Record in New Orleans 5-1
Bill Belichick vs. New Orleans 5-1 (4-1 with New England)
Sean Payton vs. New England 1-2
Week 4 – Tampa Bay at New England
Sunday, Oct. 3 at 8:20 p.m.
The highly anticipated return of long-time Patriots quarterback Tom Brady falls into Week 4 on the Patriots schedule in what will surely be an emotional night for all. Tampa Bay is the defending Super Bowl champions, and a Bucs win would give Brady a win against all 32 NFL teams. He would join Brett Favre, Drew Brees and Peyton Manning as the only QBs to beat all 32 NFL teams. The game will mark the 10th meeting between Tampa Bay and New England. The Patriots have won the last four in the series, including a 19-14 win in the most recent meeting on Oct. 5, 2017. The first meeting between the clubs was back on Dec. 12, 1976 – a 31-14 Patriots win in Tampa in the Buccaneers first NFL season. The Patriots are 7-2 against the Buccaneers all-time. Head coach Bill Belichick’s first game as head coach of the Patriots came against Tampa Bay on Sept. 3, 2000. Tampa Bay claimed a 21-16 victory in that game, one that marked Brady’s first game as a member of the Patriots, albeit as a fourth-string rookie QB. New England won the first three games in the series from 1976-88. Tampa Bay claimed the next two meetings, before a Patriots 28-0 shutout victory in a meeting between the two teams in 2005 got the Patriots back on the winning side. The Patriots beat the Buccaneers in 1988 and then went 17 years before their next win against the Buccaneers in 2005. The 17-year victory gap is the second longest for the Patriots, trailing only a 33-year win drought against Washington, which lasted from 1973-2006.
New England 7, Tampa Bay 2
Record in New England 3-1
Record in Tampa Bay 4-1
Bill Belichick vs. Tampa Bay 5-1 (4-1 with New England)
Bruce Arians vs. New England 0-2
Week 5 – New England at Houston
Sunday, Oct. 10 at 1 p.m.
The Patriots will face Houston for the seventh straight year in the regular season and for the third straight year in Houston. Last year the Patriots dropped a 27-20 decision in Houston on Nov. 22, 2020. The Patriots had an eight-game winning streak vs. the Texans snapped in a 2019 loss and will look to snap a two-game losing streak in 2021. The Patriots and Texans played twice in 2016 with New England taking a 27-0 victory on Sept. 22 and then a 34-16 win in the Divisional Playoffs. Both of those games were played at Gillette Stadium. Overall, the Patriots have met Houston 13 times and hold a 10-3 advantage since Houston entered the NFL in 2002, including 8-3 in the regular season and 2-0 in the postseason. The Patriots are 3-3 overall against the Texans when playing in Houston. Before the Texans joined the league, the Patriots and the Houston Oilers were foes dating back to the days of the American Football League, playing twice a year from 1960-69 and 33 times overall before the Oilers moved to Tennessee following the 1996 season.
New England 10, Houston 3
Record in New England 7-0
Record in Houston 3-3
Bill Belichick vs. the Texans 10-3 (all with New England)
David Culley vs. New England 0-0
Week 6 – Dallas at New England
Sunday, Sept. 17 at 4:25 p.m.
The New England Patriots and Dallas Cowboys will meet for the 14th time in team history and for the first since the Patriots beat Dallas, 13-9, on Nov. 24, 2019 at Gillette Stadium. The Cowboys appear on the schedule this year thanks to the NFL’s expanded 17-game slate. The Patriots play the NFC South, with Dallas – from the NFC East – being added as the 17th game. The Cowboys will visit Gillette Stadium for the fourth time. While Dallas leads the all-time series by a 7-6 margin, the Patriots have won the last six games, and Dallas is 0-4 in their last four visits to Foxborough, including 0-3 at Gillette Stadium. The Cowboys won the first seven games of the series from 1971-1996. The Patriots first win against Dallas was a 13-6 decision at Foxboro Stadium on Dec. 5, 1999. The series dates back to 1971, when the Cowboys beat the Patriots in the first game ever played at Texas Stadium in Irving, Texas – 44-21.
Dallas 7, New England 6
Record in New England 4-3
Record in Dallas 2-4
Bill Belichick vs. Dallas 6-1 (5-0 with New England)
Mike McCarthy vs. New England 1-3
Week 8 – New England at LA Chargers
Sunday, Oct. 31, at 4:05 p.m.
The New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Chargers will meet in Los Angeles for the second straight season following a blowout 45-0 Patriots win at SoFi Stadium on Dec. 6, 2020. The Chargers moved from San Diego back to Los Angeles in 2017 after previously playing the 1960 season in L.A. and then residing in San Diego from 1961-2016. The Patriots enter the game with six straight wins in the series including two on the West Coast. The Chargers last win over New England came back on Oct. 12, 2008 – a 30-10 victory. The Patriots are 19-3 vs. the Chargers dating back to 1973 and are 10-3 under Bill Belichick, including the postseason (3-0). New England leads the regular season series by a 22-14-2 margin. The teams have met four times in the postseason with the Patriots holding a 3-1 edge. The New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Chargers are old AFL rivals as part the original eight teams from the American Football League. The Patriots and Chargers met in the 1963 AFL Championship Game played on Jan. 5, 1964 in San Diego with the Chargers taking a 51-10 decision. The series dates back to 1960, the inaugural season for each team.
New England 26, LA Chargers 15, 2 Ties
(Including New England 3, LA Chargers 1 in Playoffs)
Record in New England 14-8-1 (incl. 2-0 in playoffs)
Record in Foxborough 12-1
Record in Boston 2-7-1
Record at the Chargers 12-7-1 (incl. 1-1 in playoffs)
Record in Los Angeles 2-0
Record in San Diego 10-7-1
Bill Belichick vs. LA Chargers 11-5 (10-3 with New England)
Brandon Staley vs. New England 0-0
Week 9 – New England at Carolina
Sunday, Nov. 7 at 1 p.m.
After a ballyhooed Tom Brady return to New England, the Patriots Week 9 road trip will feature Cam Newton’s first trip back to Charlotte in an opposing uniform. Newton was the 2015 NFL MVP while with the Panthers when he led them to an NFC Championship win. The game will mark the first meeting between the teams since Oct. 1, 2017, a game in which Newton led the Panthers to a final-second, 33-30 win over the Patriots at Gillette Stadium. The teams have only met seven times with Carolina holding a 4-3 edge, including wins in the last two meetings. The Patriots last win over Carolina came in a 20-10 win at Gillette back on Dec. 13, 2009. The Patriots most significant win over the Panthers came on Feb. 1, 2004 in a 32-29 Super Bowl XXXVIII win.
Carolina 4, New England 3
(Including New England 1, Carolina 0 in Playoffs)
Record in New England 1-2
Record in Carolina 1-2
Bill Belichick vs. Carolina 3-3 (all with New England)
Matt Rhule vs. New England 0-0
Week 10 – Cleveland at New England
Sunday, Nov. 14 at 1 p.m.
The Patriots and Browns will meet for the 26th time overall, including one postseason meeting, when the clubs square off on Nov. 14th. The teams last met on Oct. 27, 2019 with the Patriots taking a 27-19 win at Gillette Stadium. Cleveland leads the all-time series with a 13-12 edge, including the one postseason game when the Bill Belichick-led Browns claimed a 20-13 victory over the Patriots on Jan. 1, 1995 in a Wild Card Playoff game at Cleveland’s Municipal Stadium. Cleveland is 5-7 all-time against the Patriots in games played in New England, including 0-4 at Gillette Stadium following losses in 2003, 2007, 2013 and 2019. The Patriots have won the last four meetings in the series with Cleveland’s last win a 34-14 drubbing in Cleveland on Nov. 7, 2010. Overall, the Browns have lost six straight times in New England.
Cleveland 13, New England 12
(Including Cleveland 1, New England 0 in playoffs)
Record in New England 7-5
Record in Cleveland 5-8
Bill Belichick vs. Cleveland 7-2
Kevin Stefanski vs. New England 0-0
Week 11 – New England at Atlanta
Thursday, Nov. 18 at 8:20 p.m.
The Patriots will travel to Atlanta for the first time since their 13-3 Super Bowl LIII win over the Los Angeles Rams at Mercedes Benz Stadium. The Patriots won the last matchup vs. Atlanta, 23-7, on Oct. 22, 2017 at Gillette Stadium just a few months after staging the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history to beat the Falcons in Super Bowl LI. New England trailed the Super Bowl, 28-3, with 2:12 left in the third quarter before rallying to a 34-28 overtime win. This year’s Week 11 matchup will be the first against the Falcons in Atlanta since a Sept. 29, 2013 trip to the Georgia Dome when the Patriots emerged with a 30-23 win. New England has won the last six meetings between the clubs with its last loss coming back on Nov. 8, 1998 – a 41-10 blowout at Foxboro Stadium. The teams first met on Sept. 24, 1972 with the Patriots earning a 21-20 home win. After another Patriots win in 1977, the Falcons won six of the next seven, including four in a row between 1989 and 1998. New England holds a 9-6 series edge.
New England 9, Atlanta 6
(Including New England 1, Atlanta 0 in Playoffs)
Record in New England 4-2
Record in Atlanta 4-4
Bill Belichick vs. Atlanta 6-1 (6-0 with New England)
Arthur Smith vs. New England 0-0
Week 12 – Tennessee at New England
Sunday, Nov. 28 at 1 p.m.
The New England Patriots and Tennessee Titans (formerly the Houston Oilers) will square off for the 45th time since the two charter members of the American Football League began play in 1960. The Patriots and Oilers played twice each year from 1960-1969, and have played 24 times since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970. In those 24 post-merger games, the Patriots are 15-9, including 2-2 in the postseason. Tom Brady’s last game as a Patriot ended in a 20-13 playoff loss to the Titans at Gillette Stadium on Jan. 4, 2020. The Patriots and the Tennessee franchise met three other times in the postseason. In 1978, the Houston Oilers beat New England, 31-14, in an AFC Divisional matchup at Shaefer Stadium in Foxborough, the Patriots first ever home playoff game. The Patriots beat Tennessee, 17-14, in a 2003 AFC Divisional Playoff game and then again, 35-14, in a 2017 AFC Divisional Playoff game. Both of those games were played at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots have lost the last two meetings with Tennessee, including a 34-10 road loss on Nov. 11, 2018. That game snapped a seven-game Patriots winning streak in the series. Former Patriots linebacker Mike Vrabel, who won three Super Bowls in New England, has done an excellent job since taking over as the Titans head coach in 2018. He has led Tennessee to the playoffs in each of the last two seasons. New England leads the overall regular season and postseason series, 25-18-1.
New England 25, Tennessee 18, 1 Tie
(Including New England 2, Tennessee 2 in Playoffs)
Record in New England 18-7-1 (incl. 2-2 in playoffs)
Record in Foxborough 11-5
Record in Boston 7-2-1
Record at the Titans 7-11
Record in Tennessee 2-2
Record in Houston 5-9
Bill Belichick vs. Tennessee 11-9 (7-3 with New England)
Mike Vrabel vs. New England 2-1
Week 13 – New England at Buffalo
Monday, Dec. 6 at 8:15 p.m.
Week 16 – Buffalo at New England
Sunday, Dec. 26 at 1 p.m.
The Patriots have more wins against the Bills than any other NFL team with a 76-45-1 all-time series advantage over the Buffalo. The Patriots enter the 2021 season with a 95-33 record vs. AFC East opponents since 2000, including a 35-7 record against Buffalo. Despite being dominated for most of two decades, the 2020 Bills became the first AFC East team to sweep the Patriots since the Dolphins and Jets did so in 2000. New England lost 24-21 in Buffalo on Nov. 1, 2020 and then got hammered, 38-9, at Gillette Stadium on Dec. 28. The two teams will meet for the 123rd and 124th times when they face off in Weeks 13 and 16. The Patriots are 39-22 in home games against Buffalo, including 16-3 at Gillette Stadium, and 37-23-1 in Buffalo. This season’s Week 13 meeting will be the sixth Monday Night matchup between New England and Buffalo and the second straight (1995, 2009, 2015, 2018 and 2020). The Patriots are 4-1 against Buffalo in Monday Night games. The series between the AFC East rivals began in 1960. After seven straight series sweeps and 15 consecutive Patriots wins from 2003-10, Buffalo ended the streak with a 34-31 victory at Ralph Wilson Stadium in the first meeting between the teams in 2011. The 15-game win streak is tied for the fourth-longest winning streak over a single opponent in NFL history. The Patriots avenged that loss in the 2011 regular-season finale by overcoming a 21-0 first-quarter deficit and scoring 49 unanswered points en route to a 49-21 victory. The teams have had many memorable matchups over the years, including a span from 1999 to 2001 where four-of-five contests were decided in overtime. The Patriots first-ever playoff game was a 26-8 win over the Bills at Buffalo on Dec. 28, 1963.
New England 76, Buffalo 43, 1 Tie
(Including New England 1, Buffalo 0 in Playoffs)
Record in New England 39-22
Record in Foxborough 33-17
Record in Boston 6-5
Record in Buffalo 37-23-1 (incl. 1-0 in playoffs)
Bill Belichick vs. Tennessee 35-8 (35-7 with New England)
Sean McDermott vs. New England 2-6
Week 15 – New England at Indianapolis
Saturday or Sunday, Dec. 18 or 19 at TBD
The New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts will meet for the first time since the 2018 season when New England captured a 38-24 victory at Gillette Stadium on Oct. 4, 2018 in a Thursday Night Football game. The two teams share a long-time rivalry, as the Patriots and the Baltimore/Indianapolis Colts played twice each year from 1970 to 2001 as members of the AFC East, with the exception of the 1982 strike season. Since realignment in 2002 with the Colts moving to the AFC South, the two teams played in the regular season in every season for 10 straight seasons from 2003 through 2012 with New England winning six of the 10 games. While they did not play in the 2013 regular season, breaking a streak of 10 regular-season meetings, they did face each other in the postseason with the Patriots claiming a 43-22 win at Gillette Stadium on Jan. 11, 2014. The rivalry was rekindled with two meetings in 2014, a regular season game at Indianapolis and the AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium, both of which were won by the Patriots. Then the teams met again in 2015 with New England taking a Sunday Night Football victory at Indianapolis. Overall, the Week 15 game will be the 82nd meeting between the two teams. The Patriots lead the series with a 48-28 record in the regular season and a 4-1 record in the postseason. New England holds an overall record of 22-17 when playing at the Colts, including a 16-9 mark in Indianapolis. The clubs have clashed in the playoffs following the 2003, 2004, 2006, 2013 and 2014 seasons. The Patriots beat the Colts in the 2003 AFC Championship Game, 24-14, at Gillette Stadium (1/18/04), won 20-3 at Gillette Stadium in a 2004 AFC Divisional game (1/16/05), lost in the 2006 AFC Championship Game, 38-34, at Indianapolis (1/21/07), won in the AFC Divisional meeting, 43-22, at Gillette Stadium (01/11/14) and won, 45-7, in the 2014 AFC Championship Game.
New England 52, Indianapolis 29,
(Including New England 4, Indianapolis 1 in Playoffs)
Record in New England 30-12 (incl. 4-0 in playoffs)
Record in Foxborough 30-11
Record in Boston 0-1
Record at the Colts 22-17 (incl. 0-1 in playoffs)
Record in Indianapolis 16-9
Record in Baltimore 6-8
Bill Belichick vs. Indianapolis 18-8 (16-6 with New England)
Frank Reich vs. New England 0-1
Week 17 – Jacksonville at New England
Sunday, Jan. 2 at 1 p.m.
The Jaguars will visit Foxborough in 2021 with their rookie head coach, Urban Meyer, and their rookie quarterback, 2021 first overall pick Trevor Lawrence. The two clubs have met 13 times since the Jags entered the league in 1995 with New England holding a distinct 11-2 advantage. The teams have met in the postseason on five occasions, including twice in the AFC Championship Game. New England is 4-1 in those postseason matchups with wins in 1997, 2006, 2008 and 2018 and a loss in 1998. The Patriots have won seven of the eight regular-season games between the clubs, but Jacksonville won the most recent, 31-20, on Sept. 16, 2018. The first playoff game between the two teams was the 1996 AFC Championship Game at Foxboro Stadium. In that contest, the Patriots beat the Jaguars, 20-6, to advance to Super Bowl XXXI. The Jaguars claimed a 25-10 win in the 1998 wild card playoffs — the Jaguars only postseason victory against New England. The Patriots won, 28-3, in a 2005 Divisional Playoff game, 31-20, in a 2007 Divisional Playoff game and rallied from 10 points down in the fourth quarter to win the 2017 AFC Championship Game, 24-20. The first meeting came back on Sept. 22, 1996 with New England claiming an overtime, 28-25 win at Foxborough Stadium. New England won the first seven regular-season meetings between the two until the 2018 loss.
New England 11, Jacksonville 2
(Including New England 4, Atlanta 1 in Playoffs)
Record in New England 8-0 (incl. 4-0 in playoffs)
Record in Jacksonville 3-2 (incl. 0-1 in playoffs)
Bill Belichick vs. Jacksonville 8-2 (8-1 with New England)
Urban Meyer vs. New England 0-0