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Patriots get only three primetime games for 2021

Mike Florio and Chris Simms predict what Cam Newton's second year in New England could look like as he tries to hold off Mac Jones for the starting QB job.

The Cowboys may no longer be “America’s Team.” The Patriots apparently aren’t, either.

An important tidbit from the 2021 schedule comes from the lack of primetime publicity the Patriots will receive. They play on a Sunday night (Week Four vs. Bucs), a Thursday night (Week 11 at Falcons), and a Monday night (Week 13 at Bills). They also have a big-spot 4:25 p.m. ET game in Week Six, when the original “America’s Team” comes to town.

It’s a significant reduction in profile for a Patriots team that went 7-9 last year. Fifteen teams have more primetime games than the Patriots.

Yes, flexing could result in more night games for the Patriots (and fewer for other teams). But the decision to give the Patriots only three primetime games amounts to a slap in the face, and it’s something that coach Bill Belichick can use to motivate his team.

Indeed, coaches use everything they can to motivate their teams. Belichick surely will be reminding his players that the networks and the league office thinks they’re going to suck this year.

That’s all the more reason to think that they won’t. The talent has improved significantly, and Belichick continues to be the best coach in all of football.