2020 NFL schedule: Best opposing players Patriots will face this season
The Patriots' 2020 schedule has been released and New England will face some pretty tough opponents.
We've compiled a list of the best opposing players the Patriots will face and many are familiar faces.
We'll start with New England's AFC East division rivals and include three players from each team the Pats will face:
Le'Veon Bell - RB, New York Jets
*The Patriots will face the Jets on Nov. 9 at MetLife Stadium and Jan. 3 in Foxboro*
Despite having a down season in 2019, Le'Veon Bell is still one of the best running backs the Patriots will face in 2020. Jets coach Adam Gase said he plans to lessen Bell's workload this season in hopes of receiving more production.
In six seasons, Bell has rushed for 6,125 yards and 38 touchdowns while adding 3,121 yards receiving and eight touchdowns.
Jamal Adams - S, New York Jets
Jamal Adams is turning into one of the best safeties in the NFL and he's improved each year since entering the league in 2017.
Last season in New York, Adams recorded 6.5 sacks, one interception, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and 60 solo tackles. He's primed to have a solid 2020 campaign and it wouldn't be surprising if he caused Jarrett Stidham and the Patriots some problems.
Sam Darnold - QB, New York Jets
Although Sam Darnold had a disastrous Week 7 performance against the Patriots last season, the young Jets quarterback is primed to have an improved 2020 after his numbers improved late last season (62 percent completion percentage, 14 TDs, 5 INT, a 92.3 QB rating after Week 9).
In 13 games last season, Darnold went 7-6 and passed for 3,024 yards, 19 TDs and 13 INT. With Tom Brady out of the AFC East, Darnold is arguably the best quarterback in the division.
The Jets may just have a chance to sweep New England in 2020 with Darnold at QB.
Stefon Diggs - WR, Buffalo Bills
*The Patriots will face the Bills in Buffalo on Nov. 1 and at home on Dec. 28*
The Buffalo Bills have a very good chance at winning the AFC East this season and acquiring Stefon Diggs via trade with the Minnesota Vikings only solidified that.
Diggs is one of the best wide receivers in the NFL and last season with Minnesota he had 63 receptions for 1,130 yards and six TDs. He may be particularly motivated in 2020 after being traded from the Vikings.
Tre'Davious White - CB, Buffalo Bills
Tre'Davious White was right up there with Stephon Gilmore as one of the best cornerbacks in the league last season.
White had six interceptions, two forced fumbles, one sack and 48 solo tackles in 2019 while also recording four tackles for a loss and a quarterback hit.
He certainly could cause Stidham some problems in his first year at the helm of the Patriots offense.
Ed Oliver - DT, Buffalo Bills
Ed Oliver had a fantastic rookie campaign in 2019 and he'll likely only get better in 2020.
The 22-year-old recorded five sacks, 24 solo tackles and one forced fumble last season while also recording five tackles for a loss and eight QB hits. If that's any sign of how he'll compete in 2020, then Stidham and the Patriots may be in trouble.
Kyle Van Noy - LB, Miami Dolphins
*The Patriots will open the 2020 season at home against the Dolphins on Sept. 13 and will play in Miami on Dec. 20*
Well, this is a bit awkward. Instead of playing for the Patriots, Kyle Van Noy is now a Miami Dolphin.
Van Noy had a fantastic four-year career in New England, recording 16.5 sacks, five forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries, two interceptions and 154 solo tackles. On top of that, the linebacker recorded 21 tackles for a loss and 35 QB hits.
Watch out, Jarrett Stidham.
DeVante Parker - WR, Miami Dolphins
DeVante Parker had a career year in 2019 with the Dolphins and it only seems like he'll continue to rise.
Parker reeled in 72 receptions for 1,202 yards and nine TDs last season -- his best season since being drafted in 2015. The 27-year-old is Miami's best receiver, so rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa will probably be aiming for him a lot in 2020.
Shaq Lawson - DE, Miami Dolphins
Shaq Lawson spent the first four years of his career with the Bills, but he's now on to what he hopes are bigger and better things with the Dolphins.
In 2019, Lawson recorded 21 solo tackles, 6.5 sacks and one forced fumble while adding 13 tackles for a loss and 18 QB hits. He'll likely continue that success under coach Brian Flores and wreak havoc on New England in 2020.
Chandler Jones - OLB, Arizona Cardinals
*The Patriots will face the Cardinals at home on Nov. 29*
Former Patriot Chandler Jones has spent the past four seasons with the Arizona Cardinals, and in 2019 he put together a monster season.
Jones recorded a whopping 19 sacks, eight forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and 42 solo tackles. On top of that, he recorded 11 tackles for a loss and 26 QB hits.
If he can even come close to those numbers in 2020, the Patriots are going to have a difficult time handling him.
DeAndre Hopkins - WR, Arizona Cardinals
DeAndre Hopkins has been one of the best receivers in the NFL since breaking in with the Houston Texans in 2013. After being traded from the Texans to the Cardinals in the offseason, Hopkins will look to continue his successful career in the NFC.
The 27-year-old reeled in 104 receptions for 1,165 yards and seven TDs last season. Although his numbers are down from 2018, Hopkins may see a resurgence in Arizona as he teams with QB Kyler Murray and veteran receiver Larry Fitzgerald.
Kenyan Drake - RB, Arizona Cardinals
Kenyan Drake put together the best year of his career in 2019 and that likely won't stop in 2020.
The versatile Drake rushed for 817 yards and eight TDs last season while adding 345 yards receiving. He truly flourished in Arizona last year and he'll only be a problem for opposing defenses as he continues to improve.
Lamar Jackson - QB, Baltimore Ravens
*The Patriots will face the Ravens on Nov. 15 at Gillette Stadium*
What can we say about Lamar Jackson? The man does it all.
The 2019 MVP threw for 3,127 yards and 36 TDs in 2019 while adding 1,206 yards and seven TDs rushing. He also completed 66.1 percent of his passes last season while leading the Ravens to a 13-2 record in the 15 games he started and a playoff appearance.
Jackson is turning into one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL and the dual-threat will look to duplicate his spectacular 2019.
Mark Ingram II - RB, Baltimore Ravens
In his first year with the Ravens last season, Ingram was quite impressive.
The 30-year-old rushed for 1,018 yards and 10 TDs while adding 247 yards and five TDs receiving. The three-time Pro Bowler is sure to cause opposing defenses some trouble... especially alongside Jackson at quarterback.
Matthew Judon - OLB, Baltimore Ravens
Matthew Judon put together a strong 2019 campaign with the Ravens.
The 27-year-old forced four fumbles, recorded 9.5 sacks and 43 solo tackles while also adding 14 tackles for a loss and 33 QB hits. He was selected to his first Pro Bowl last season and will look to help shut down the Patriots offense when Baltimore visits Foxboro.
Von Miller - OLB, Denver Broncos
*New England will face the Broncos at home on Oct. 11*
Broncos linebacker Von Miller has been a staple in Denver's defense for a long time.
The eight-time Pro Bowler recorded eight sacks and 33 solo tackles last season while adding 10 tackles for a loss and 20 QB hits. While those numbers are some of the lowest in Miller's career, the 31-year-old is still effective for the Broncos.
Phillip Lindsay - RB, Denver Broncos
As an undrafted running back, Phillip Lindsay has been absolutely spectacular since joining the Broncos in 2018.
The 25-year-old rushed for 1,011 yards and seven TDs last season while adding 196 yards receiving. He was named to the Pro Bowl in his rookie season in 2018 - highly impressive for an undrafted player.
Courtland Sutton - WR, Denver Broncos
Like Lindsay, Courtland Sutton had a great 2019 campaign for the Broncos.
Sutton reeled in 72 receptions for 1,112 yards and six TDs last season which ended up being good enough for a Pro Bowl appearance. The 24-year-old is an underrated receiver and could be Drew Lock's favorite target in 2020.
Cory Littleton - LB, Las Vegas Raiders
*The Patriots will face the Raiders at home on Sept. 27*
After four years with the Rams, Cory Littleton is on to a new venture with Las Vegas.
In 2019, Littleton recorded 3.5 sacks, two interceptions, two forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries and 78 solo tackles. On top of that, he added six tackles for a loss and five QB hits.
He made a Pro Bowl appearance in 2018 and has proven to be an effective linebacker.
Derek Carr - QB, Las Vegas Raiders
Derek Carr is an underrated quarterback. Year after year he manages to put up solid numbers with a questionable offense around him.
In 2019 Carr threw for 4,054 yards, 21 TDs and eight interceptions while completing 70.4 percent of his passes. The three-time Pro Bowler is set for another solid campaign in 2020, and is hoping Vegas' top draft pick Henry Ruggs III, the receiver from Alabama, will help him on offense.
Henry Ruggs III - WR, Las Vegas Raiders
The Raiders selected Henry Ruggs III in the first round draft, and although he has yet to play a game in the NFL, he'll likely be Las Vegas' best receiver.
Last season with Alabama, Ruggs reeled in 40 receptions for 746 yards and seven TDs, which led to him being the first wide receiver selected in the 2020 draft.
Jimmy Garoppolo - QB, San Francisco 49ers
*The Patriots will host the 49ers on Oct. 25*
Jimmy Garoppolo led the 49ers to the Super Bowl last season and Tom Brady's former backup will make his return to Gillette Stadium in 2020.
Garoppolo helped guide the Niners to a 13-3 season in 2019 with 3,978 yards and 27 TDs while completing 69.1 percent of his passes. Jimmy G's return to Foxboro promises to be one of the most talked-about storylines for Patriots opponents in 2020.
George Kittle - TE, San Francisco 49ers
We had to include a tight end, and George Kittle is the best of the best.
In 2019, Kittle reeled in 85 receptions for 1,053 yards and five TDs. He was extremely effective for San Francisco and is a two-time Pro Bowler. The 26-year-old was selected in the fifth round of the 2017 NFL Draft and that's now looking like a steal for the 49ers.
Nick Bosa - DL, San Francisco 49ers
Nick Bosa had a phenomenal rookie campaign in 2019 with the 49ers.
The 22-year-old recorded nine sacks, one interception, one forced fumble, two fumble recoveries and 32 solo tackles. He also had 16 tackles for a loss and 25 QB hits. Simply put, he was a beast. Bosa will only continue to improve and build upon his rookie campaign, which should scare opposing offenses around the NFL.
Brandin Cooks - WR, Houston Texans
*The Patriots will travel to Houston to play the Texans on Nov. 22*
Old friend Brandin Cooks has had an up-and-down NFL career, but he's still a fantastic receiver.
Although Cooks only had 42 receptions for 583 yards and two touchdowns in 2019, the former Patriots receiver has put together four 1,000-plus yard seasons in six years. He's by no means an upgrade from DeAndre Hopkins, but the Texans got a good one in Cooks if he can stay healthy.
Deshaun Watson - QB, Houston Texans
Deshaun Watson is considered to be one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL and he'll certainly cause the Patriots some trouble in 2020.
Watson threw for 3,852 yards and 26 TDs last season while adding 413 yards and seven TDs rushing. He completed 67.3 percent of his passes in 2019 and is a two-time Pro Bowler.
While he no longer has his favorite target in DeAndre Hopkins, Watson still has some pretty talented players to work with in 2020.
J.J. Watt - DE, Houston Texans
J.J. Watt played just eight games in 2019 before suffering a season-ending injury, but he's still one of the best defenders in the NFL.
In nine seasons with the Texans, Watt has recorded 96 sacks, 373 solo tackles and 23 forced fumbles. He's a five-time Pro Bowler and was the 2017 Walter Payton Man of the Year.
If he remains healthy in 2020, he'll again be scary to line up against.
Travis Kelce - TE, Kansas City Chiefs
*The Patriots will head out to Arrowhead Stadium on Oct. 4 to face the Chiefs*
Travis Kelce has been one of the best tight ends since coming into the NFL in 2013.
In 2019, Kelce reeled in 97 receptions for 1,229 yards and five TDs en route to a Super Bowl championship. He's a five-time Pro Bowler and should continue to play a large role in the Kansas City offense.
Tyrann Mathieu - S, Kansas City Chiefs
Tyrann Mathieu had a solid year in 2019.
The safety recorded four interceptions, 63 solo tackles, three tackles for a loss and two QB hits. Mathieu is highly underrated and he played a large role in helping Kansas City win the Super Bowl last season.
Patrick Mahomes - QB, Kansas City Chiefs
You can't talk about the Chiefs without mentioning QB Patrick Mahomes. He's one of the best.
In 2019, Mahomes threw for 4,031 yards and 26 TDs while adding 218 yards and two TDs rushing en route to a Super Bowl championship. Mahomes is one of the most talented QBs in football and he'll continue to cause the Patriots problems.
With Brady now off to Tampa Bay, Mahomes will likely be unmatched when he rolls into Gillette Stadium.
Joey Bosa - DE, Los Angeles Chargers
*New England will face the Chargers on the road on Dec. 6*
Of course, the other Bosa brother is on this list, too.
In 2019, Joey Bosa recorded 11.5 sacks, 47 solo tackles and one forced fumble while adding 18 tackles for a loss and 31 QB hits. Bosa is a two-time Pro Bowler and has helped solidify the Chargers defense for the future at just 24.
Hunter Henry - TE, Los Angeles Chargers
Hunter Henry has been pretty good since being drafted by the Chargers in 2016.
Last season, he reeled in 55 receptions for 652 yards and five TDs. The 25-year-old still has plenty to prove but has been a solid addition in Los Angeles.
Melvin Ingram III - DE, Los Angeles Chargers
Melvin Ingram III has been very consistent since breaking into the league in 2012.
Ingram recorded one interception, one fumble recovery, seven sacks and 39 solo tackles last season. On top of that, he added 11 tackles for a loss and 12 QB hits. The three-time Pro Bowler is set up for continued success in 2020 and could cause the New England offense some difficulty.
Aaron Donald - DT, Los Angeles Rams
*New England will travel to Los Angeles to face the Rams on Dec. 10*
Aaron Donald has been a major part of the Rams defense since being drafted by the team in 2014.
Last season, Donald recorded two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, 12.5 sacks and 29 solo tackles while adding 20 tackles for a loss and 24 QB hits. He's a six-time Pro Bowler, and although the Rams have a lot of money locked up in Donald, he's arguably their best overall player.
He causes opposing offenses to have nightmares.
Cooper Kupp - WR, Los Angeles Rams
Cooper Kupp was Jared Goff's favorite target in 2019.
Last season, he reeled in 94 receptions for 1,161 yards and 10 touchdowns for his first 1,000-yard season in three years with the Rams. The 2017 third-round selection is proving to be pretty reliable for the Rams and it'll be interesting to see if he can match his 2019 performance in 2020.
Jalen Ramsey - CB, Los Angeles Rams
Sure, Jalen Ramsey has a big mouth, but he's also one heck of a football player.
In 2019, Ramsey recorded one interception, two forced fumbles and 44 solo tackles between the Jaguars and Rams. It was a down season for the 25-year-old, but he also had to learn an entirely new system in L.A.
Chris Carson - RB, Seattle Seahawks
*The Patriots will head to Seattle to take on the Seahawks on Sept. 20*
Chris Carson is proving to be a seventh-round steal for the Seattle Seahawks.
In just three seasons, Carson has recorded two 1,000-plus yard campaigns. In 2019, he rushed for 1,230 yards and seven TDs while adding 266 yards and two TDs receiving. He's a nightmare for opposing defenses and is hard to catch.
D.K. Metcalf - WR, Seattle Seahawks
D.K. Metcalf had a great rookie campaign last season.
Metcalf reeled in 58 receptions for 900 yards and seven TDs. Pretty impressive for the 22-year-old out of Mississippi. He's poised for a 1,000-yard season in 2020 and could be matched up against Patriots' All-Pro cornerback Stephon Gilmore when New England visits Seattle.
Russell Wilson - QB, Seattle Seahawks
Russell Wilson is still one of the best QBs in the NFL, and that won't change in 2020.
In 2019, Wilson threw for 4,110 yards and 31 TDs while adding 342 yards and three TDs rushing. He's a six-time Pro Bowler and a Super Bowl champion, so he knows a thing or two about winning. The Seahawks have been Super Bowl contenders since Wilson took over in 2012 and the Patriots will try and find a way to contain him when they visit CenturyLink Field.