Could this extra wild card team hurt the Patriots? Sure. If the Patriots pull off the two seed this season, this extra wild card team means no bye week for New England. Additionally, should the extra team get hot at the right team or be a matchup problem, facing them could put an end to the season.
As usual, the Patriots won the AFC East last season and are therefore given a number one schedule. That number one schedule is only a small reason for why their 2020 schedule is so tough. This year the AFC East plays both the AFC West and the NFC West. While playing the west always has its challenges, the teams in both divisions are no slouches.
In case you forgot, the NFC Super Bowl representative has hailed from the west the past two seasons. Additionally, the always formidable Seattle Seahawks play in that division as well. The Patriots first trip west will come in week 2 when they play Seattle on Sunday night. The reigning Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs get to host the Patriots during week 4. Coming off their week 6 bye, the Patriots will get to host Jimmy G and the 49ers. It is worth noting that the Patriots will play 2 night games on the west coast. I previously looked into the advantage of night games when there is a significant time zone difference between teams.
So won't this tough schedule hurt the Patriots? I don't think so. As a matter of fact, it may help them.
Everyone in the AFC East is going to have a tough schedule as they all will be facing all of the teams from the west and each other. The Patriots have to face the Ravens and Texans as the other #1 teams. The Bills get the number 2 schedule and will have to face the Steelers and Titans. That might not be much easier than the Patriots opponents. The 3rd place Jets get the Browns and Colts this season. The Dolphins are the only team that look like they may get two easy games as they matchup against the Bengals and Jaguars.
While most places including the SportsBettingDime have the Chiefs as favorites to win Super Bowl LV, I wouldn’t overlook the Patriots.