New England Patriots, NFL Schedule

New England Patriots 2020 NFL schedule: 5 must-win games

MIAMI, FLORIDA – FEBRUARY 02: Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers looks to pass against the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV at Hard Rock Stadium on February 02, 2020, in Miami, Florida. The Chiefs won the game 31-20. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

The New England Patriots will be looking to defend their AFC East crown without Tom Brady, so these five games are must-wins for them.

The AFC East has been the New England Patriots’ kingdom for the better part of two decades, but that could all change now. Tom Brady is now a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, making the Patriots significantly worse entering 2020.

The core of New England’s roster is very good, but it doesn’t necessarily have the 12 or 13-win upside it did with Brady under center. That makes each and every win more valuable for the Patriots as they look to get back to the playoffs once again.

Let’s take a look at five games the Patriots have to win in 2020, beginning with a home date against the defending NFC Champions.

5. Home: San Francisco 49ers

This game should be one of the highlights of the 2020 schedule as Jimmy Garoppolo returns to New England for the first time since being traded out west. Garoppolo was drafted to be Brady’s successor but was dealt to the 49ers when it became clear that Brady still planned on playing well beyond 2017.

The 49ers are the reigning NFC Champions so this game could be a huge one for divisional tiebreakers. If New England can top San Francisco and the Buffalo Bills can’t it would be a big edge for them in the common games tiebreaker.

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