FOXBOROUGH, Mass — Players may come and go, but there are some things in the NFL that stay the same. Four was the magic number last week as the New England defense racked up four interceptions and Nick Folk made four field goals. The outcome was never in doubt as the Patriots beat the New York Jets for the 11th straight time, 25-6 was the final score.
The Patriots only racked up 260 yards of offense but had great field position for most of the game. Zach Wilson is the latest rookie quarterback to struggle against a Bill Belichick defense.
The Patriots will now turn their attention over to a more formidable side when they welcome the New Orleans Saints to Foxborough for a 1:00 game.
This week, "Locked On: Patriots" podcast host Mike D'Abate shares his thoughts with NEWS CENTER Maine's Sam Rogers on the Week 2 win and gives a scouting report on the Saints.
The Saints look a little different this season on offense. After being a backup to Drew Brees last year, Jameis Winston gets the nod as starting quarterback. He has faced New England once in his career, a 19-14 loss back in 2017. The Saints are also missing star receiver Michael Thomas, who continues to recover from an ankle injury from last year.
The Saints, like the Patriots, come into the game with a 1-1 record. New Orleans crushed Green Bay 38-3 in their opener. The team then fell flat and lost to the undefeated Panthers 26-7.
Week 4 vs. Tampa Bay
No shocker here. Tom Brady and the Super Bowl Champion Bucs come to Foxborough for what could likely be the most-watched regular-season game in NFL history. Tampa Bay started off the season with a thrilling Week 1 win over Dallas and if Patriots fans know anything, it’s that Brady gets better as the season goes on. New England will have three weeks to bring their game up to Tampa’s level to give the tilt a fitting display of competitive play that can match the hype leading up to the game.
Weeks 13 & 16 against Buffalo
The betting favorite to win the AFC East is the Buffalo Bills. The team led by Josh Allen made it to the AFC Championship game last season and is expected to make it to that point again, if not advance to the Super Bowl. For that reason, beating Buffalo at least once would give New England a huge lift in its goal to reclaim the division throne or make the playoffs as a wildcard. Both teams will have plenty of time to prepare for their first meeting on Monday, Dec. 6. New England enters its bye week after the game and will see the Bills in Foxborough again the day after Christmas.
Weeks 6 & 12 hosting Dallas and Tennessee
The game against Brady will bring all the attention, but another good offensive team will come to town a few weeks later when the Cowboys play the Patriots on Oct. 17. If Thursday’s game showed anything to the NFL, it’s that Dallas's offense will be one of the best units in the league and could make this matchup for New England one to circle in the first half of the season.
The Titans come to Gillette on Nov. 28 and will bring yet another impressive collection of offensive weapons. Running back Derrick Henry and wide receivers Julio Jones and A.J. Brown will give steady quarterback Ryan Tannehill enough weapons to return to the playoffs and give the Patriots defense all they can handle in week 12.
Week 10 vs. Cleveland: Hype around the Browns has been a consistent trend this preseason. Quarterback Baker Mayfield and wide receivers Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. give defensive coordinators a lot to game plan for if they're on their game. The storyline of this Browns team might be the defensive play, led by Defensive Player of the Year candidate Myles Garret. It will be another test for the Patriots in the middle of the season.
Week 18 @ Miami.
The Patriots' Achilles heel in recent memory has been playing on the road against the Dolphins. With a divisional race that is expected to be closer than years past between Miami, New England, and Buffalo, this season finale could give the Patriots a playoff spot with a win, or even clinch the division. Potentially.