The New England Patriots will open the 2019 NFL season as Super Bowl favorites (+700), according to FanDuel Sportsbook. As the reigning champs, the Pats also have the highest over/under win total at 11, and may once again benefit from playing in what is arguably the worst division in football.
There are some tough matchups on the Pats schedule, however, as they will take on a trio of AFC division winners from 2018, as well as two tough divisions in the AFC North and NFC East.
Here are three teams on New England's 2019 docket with a strong case to beat the six-time champs this upcoming season.
1. Cleveland Browns (Week 8, at New England)
In one of the more anticipated games of the 2019 season, the Patriots will host the Cleveland Browns in Week 8. It will be curious to see where the much-hyped Browns stand at the season's midpoint, but they do present an imposing challenge for New England on paper. The Pats gave up the 11th most passing yards per game last season (246.4) and will be facing a potential breakout second-year QB in Baker Mayfield, who now has Odell Beckham Jr. at his disposal. The Browns also have a loaded front seven, led by Myles Garrett, and could give Tom Brady fits in the pocket. The Pats are usually great at home, but the Browns possess the talent to give New England a run for its money. The Pats will also be coming off a short week, as they are playing the Jets on Monday Night Football in Week 7.
2. Baltimore Raves (Week 9, at Baltimore)
If the Browns are unable to get the job done in Week 8, the Baltimore Ravens will be waiting to pounce in Week 9. After Lamar Jackson took over as the starter, Baltimore won six of its last seven regular-season games in 2018. The Patriots are usually good at stopping an opposing team's best offensive weapon, but it may be tricky against a talent as unique as Jackson. As Baltimore is a hostile place to play, if Jackson can dictate the flow of the game on the ground, the Ravens have a good shot to knock off the Pats.
3. Philadelphia Eagles (Week 11, at Philadelphia)
The Pats will face some old ghosts coming off their bye in Week 11, as they go on the road for a rematch of Super Bowl LII against the Philadelphia Eagles. This time around, the Eagles will likely have Carson Wentz starting at QB. The Eagles also reloaded on offense, signing DeSean Jackson and Jordan Howard in free agency while drafting a few buzzy players in Miles Sanders and JJ Arcega-Whiteside. The Eagles' front seven is capable of disrupting Brady, as the team was tied for eighth in sacks last season. With what looks to be an explosive offense and a dominant defense, the Eagles certainly have a shot at beating the Patriots at home in Week 11.
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