FOXBOROUGH, Mass — After the most active and anticipated free agency period and draft in recent memory, the New England Patriots now have a Week 1 opponent.
The Miami Dolphins, led by second-year quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and head coach Brian Flores, make the trip to Foxborough to take on the Pats in Week 1 of the NFL season.
The Patriots announced the Sept. 12 game is scheduled for 4:25. The two teams met in last year's season opener, also played in New England. The Pats won that game 21-11 and lost to the Dolphins in Miami in Week 15, 22-12.
New England finished the season with a 7-9 record and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2008.
While the official schedule release won't be announced until Wednesday night, fans already know the opponents for this season.
As always, the Pats will play a game at home and on the road against AFC East opponents which include Miami, the Buffalo Bills, and the New York Jets.
In Foxborough, the Pats will host the Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Jacksonville Jaguars, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Tennesse Titans.
On the road, New England will travel to the Atlanta Falcons, Indianapolis Colts, Carolina Panthers, Houston Texans, and the Los Angeles Chargers.
This year, teams will play 17 regular-season games, a one-game increase from years past.
The most appealing matchup on the schedule for Patriots fans is when Tom Brady, Robert Gronkowski, and the Bucs come to Gillette Stadium.
According to Bleacher Report, the anticipated return of the now seven-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady is slated for Week 4 of the NFL season. The October 3 game is expected to be the Sunday Night Football matchup that week.
With schedule leaks expected to continue throughout the day, Patriots fans will have some idea of how the season will look before all the matchups are officially announced.
In the offseason, the Patriots acquired plenty of offensive weapons for quarterbacks Cam Newton and newly drafted Mac Jones from Alabama. Tight Ends Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith along with Wide Receivers Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne were needed additions after the Patriots passing attack struggled under Newton in 2020.
Offensive lineman Trent Brown, who played for New England until leaving in 2018, and Ted Karras were signed in free agency as well.
On the other side of the ball, Linebacker Kyle Van Noy resigned with his former team after a brief stint in Miami. Matt Judon will join Van Noy in the linebacker room and former Eagles Defensive Back Jalen Mills was added to the Pats' secondary.
With plenty of acquisitions to help the offense in free agency and the draft, will it be enough to get New England back into the playoffs? On schedule day, all the fans can do now is speculate.