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Patriots 2024 schedule release: 7 storylines to watch

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By: Brian Hines

Photo by Kara Durrette/Getty Images

The NFL 2024 schedule is out. For the Patriots, here are eight things to keep an eye on this upcoming season.

The NFL officially announced the entirety of the 2024 season schedule Wednesday night and there are plenty of exciting storylines upcoming.

For the New England Patriots, here are 7 things to keep an eye on on this year’s schedule.

Maye Watch

The biggest question regarding the Patriots at this time is when will rookie quarterback Drake Maye start? But with the schedule now released, it did not get much easier to project when we’ll see the rookie (assuming he doesn’t earn the Week 1 job out of training camp).

Immediately looking towards the bye week, a Week 14 slot seems to far to wait to hand the keys over to the Maye. The only other timeframe to then give Maye an extended period of prep would be after Thursday Night Football in Week 3, which would leave his first start against a top ranked San Francisco defense from last season.

On to Cincinnati

New England will start their 2024 season on the road with a trip to Cincinnati to face Joe Burrow and the Bengals. The matchup comes as both teams are coming off last place division finishes. For Cincinnati, however, that had more to do with injuries that held Burrow to just 10 (limited) games.

With their QB now healthy, the Bengals are back to being a projected top contender in the AFC — making them a strong opening test for the new-look Patriots.

Overseas

After a trip to Germany last season, the Patriots will be back overseas in 2024 as they take on the Jacksonville Jaguars in London in Week 7. Unlike last year, however, the game will count as an official road matchup for New England.

The Patriots will hope their luck in Wembley Stadium continues, as they have won each of their two matchups their in 2009 (vs. the Tampa Bay Buccaneers) and in 2012 (vs. the St. Louis Rams).

Despite having no back-to-back West Coast trip, the journey to London highlights the Patriots traveling the fourth most miles (25,071) among any team this season.

Bye Week

With the aforementioned bye week in Week 14, the Patriots opted not to have their bye following their international travel to London in Week 8. That is a change from last year as they did have their bye week following the Week 10 Germany game.

The Week 14 bye is the latest possible week teams can have a bye, which they also had in Mac Jones’ rookie season in 2021. Entering the week off at 9-4, New England than dropped three-of-their-last-four to finish 10-7 and in a Wild Card spot.

Prime Time

After having four scheduled prime time games — their fewest amount since 2016 — to start each of the last two seasons, New England enters 2024 with just one of their schedule: a Week 3 Thursday Night Football match against the Jets.

It’s a result of their 4-13 record from last season, where they a primetime matchup flexed out of a stand alone spot for the second straight year. With that said, a positive season could result with them being flexed back into a primetime slot at some point this year.

Top Picks

After taking Drake Maye with the third overall pick in this year’s draft, New England will get a first-hand look at the No. 1 overall pick, quarterback Caleb Williams, in a Week 10 date in Chicago (and potentially No. 2 pick Jayden Daniels to conclude the preseason).

The Bears new signal caller is not the only recent top pick the Patriots will be forced to slow down, as they’ll see three-of-the-last-four quarterback’s selected No. 1 overall in addition to Williams: Jacksonville’s Trevor Lawerence, Cincinnati’s Joe Burrow and Arizona’s Kyler Murray.

The one QB selected No. 1 overall since 2019 they won’t matchup against is Carolina’s Bryce Young, but they will instead see reigning offensive rookie of the year C.J. Stroud, who went No. 2 behind Young in the 2023 Draft.

New Coaches

For the first time in over two decades, the Patriots will have a new head coach, Jerod Mayo, roaming the sideline. Mayo’s squad will take on two other team’s with first-year head coaches, starting with Mike Macdonald’s Seahawks in Week 2 before matching up with Brian Callahan’s Titans in Week 9.

New England will also take on the Chargers in Week 17 who are led by new head coach Jim Harbaugh, who is back in the NFL after spending the last nine years at the University of Michigan.

Originally posted on Pats Pulpit