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Ranking Patriots’ must-see games for 2023: Tom Brady homecoming, first bout vs. Aaron Rodgers among top games

Bill Belichick intends to return for 24th season as Patriots head coach

The Patriots do appear to be at a crossroads as they look forward to the 2023 season. The franchise has missed the playoffs in two of the three seasons following Tom Brady’s departure, including an 8-9 season in 2022 where it seemed like the arrow was pointing in the wrong direction, particularly on the offensive side of the ball with former first-round pick Mac Jones.ย 

New England has since used this offseason to try and bolster the club and get the train of this post-Brady rebuild back on the tracks. They’ve brought in Bill O’Brien to run the offense and added high-upside pieces like wideout JuJu Smith-Schuster and Mike Gesicki, while also injecting some youth on defense with corner Christian Gonzalez, who was taken in the first round.

With the major periods of offseason roster building now in the rearview mirror, the focus now shifts to getting this collection of players ready to embark on the 2023 season, which came into clearer view last week when the NFL unveiled its full regular-season schedule. The Patriots have one of the toughest schedules in the NFL next season, so the road could be treacherous, but there are several notable games that you won’t want to miss. Below, you’ll find the top must-see games for New England in 2023.ย 

5. Week 15 vs. Chiefs (“Monday Night Football”)

Patriots vs. Chiefs has lost its juice in recent years with New England taking a step back. In the past, this was billed as a potential AFC Championship preview of two of the conference’s most powerful teams. While the Patriots may not be at that Super Bowl-contending apex at the moment, this “Monday Night Football” matchup is still worthy of your attention.

For the Patriots, this game comes at a critical point in their season. They’ll be in the thick of a three-week primetime window that starts in Week 14 against the Steelers on Thursday night and concludes on Christmas Eve in Denver. While facing Patrick Mahomes is never an easy task, New England will be well rested for this game as they’ll play on “Thursday Night Football” in Week 14 and then have an extended break as this game with K.C. falls on the back end of Week 15 on Monday night.ย 

At that point in the year, each game could seesaw them in or out of the playoffs as a wild card candidate, if we are to work under the assumption that Buffalo or New York are atop the division standings. Upsetting the Chiefs would be a remarkable feat, but…

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