The 2021 NFL schedule has been released … sort of. Actually, the schedule has been leaked for many teams, including the full slate for the New England Patriots. After a mediocre and disappointing 7-9 campaign, the Patriots are aiming to return to the playoffs in 2021.

With the leaks circling the Twittersphere, the Patriots’ 2021 slate was leaked, according to  The Patriots start the year with the Miami Dolphins and New York Jets. Some notable matchups on the schedule include a date with the Carolina Panthers in November as Cam Newton will return to his former stadium. However, it might not be him throwing passes for the Patriots after they drafted Mac Jones in the first round.

Perhaps the most notable matchup is Oct. 3 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Tom Brady will be making a return to New England and should receive a warm welcome from — hopefully — a full stadium of fans if everything plays out according to plans. Oh, and there’s an Atlanta Falcons Super Bowl rematch scheduled, and the world knows how many 28-3 jokes will be going around.

While the Patriots disappointed in 2020, they spent big in the offseason. They inked tight ends Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry, signed wide receivers Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne, and brought in Matthew Judon to anchor the defense.

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Bill Belichick even brought back former defensive coordinator Matt Patricia in a special assistant role, with rumors saying he could be next in line to take over the job whenever Belichick leaves.

The Patriots should be much improved than they were in 2020 and are hopeful they can make a return to the playoffs. The development and progress of Newton is a key point for the team, especially after veteran receiver Julian Edelman decided to retire in the offseason after being the main target for years in New England.

The Patriots’ schedule can be found here with the official NFL release pending.