NFL Fans are About to Get a Heavy Dose of the New England Patriots, Whether They Like It or Not

If you happen to be a fan of a struggling offense that has a defensive-minded coach calling the plays, the NFL has a treat in store for you. Thanksgiving is just the beginning of a heavy dose of the New England Patriots that the NFL will thrust upon NFL fans.

The Patriots (6-4), fresh off an underwhelming 10-3 victory over the New York Jets that featured zero offensive touchdowns, have a quick turnaround. New England travels to Minnesota to face an 8-2 Vikings team that was thumped by the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, losing 40-3. The Patriots/Vikings matchup is the third of three Thanksgiving Day games. If you’re too tired to stay up and watch it, don’t worry because the NFL has a plan to make sure you’ll get your Patriots fix.

Thanksgiving is the first of four straight prime-time games for the New England Patriots

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick chats with QB Mac Jones, while backup QB Bailey Zappe looks on.
| Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images.

It’s clear the Patriots aren’t what they used to be when Tom Brady was running the show at quarterback. The NFL schedule-makers might feel otherwise.

Thursday’s game against the Vikings kicks off a stretch of four straight prime-time games for the Patriots. While it might be great for New England fans, it might not be as appealing to the rest of the football world.

The Patriots have an impressive record, but it’s been ugly how they’ve gotten there. Last week’s win over the New York Jets was as boring as they come. The defense played outstanding, limiting the Zach Wilson-led offense to two yards in the second half. Offensively, it was another story.

Although quarterback Mac Jones put up some decent numbers, the Patriots never scored an offensive touchdown. Jones completed 23 of 27 passes for 246 yards, but the Patriots needed an 84-yard punt return from Marcus Jones with five seconds left to snap a 3-3 tie.

It’s been ugly for the New England offense, led by new play caller Matt Patricia. Patricia had been the team’s defensive coordinator before he left and took a head coaching job with the Detroit Lions.

After Thanksgiving, the Patriots host the Buffalo Bills in a Thursday nighter. After that, New England’s next two road games will be played in prime time — a Monday nighter at the Arizona Cardinals followed by a Sunday nighter at the Las Vegas Raiders.

The Patriots head into a tough part of their schedule

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According to Patriots.com, New England is the third team since 2000 to play four straight games in prime time. The Dallas Cowboys did it in 2016, while the Pittsburgh Steelers had four straight in 2017.

The Patriots are coming off the softest part of their schedule, playing games against the Detroit Lions, Cleveland Browns, Chicago Bears, Indianapolis Colts, and two games against the Jets. The 8-2 Vikings are New England’s biggest test since a Week 3 matchup against the Baltimore Ravens.

After Minnesota, New England faces the Bills twice, the Cincinnati Bengals, Miami Dolphins, along with the prime-time road games at Arizona and Las Vegas.

The Patriots need to get the offense in gear if they want to compete against quick-striking teams like the Bills and Dolphins. Yes, New England’s defense hasn’t allowed a touchdown in the last two weeks, but they’ve gone up against a woeful Jets offense and a Sam Ehlinger-led Indianapolis Colts team.

Whether or not the Patriots offense can find a way to turn things around remains to be seen. We do know, however, that plenty of eyes will be on them.