The defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots will begin the upcoming season without Tom Brady for the first four games.
Brady was suspended four games by the NFL on Monday for his involvement in the Deflategate scandal. Independent investigator Ted Wells found that "it is more probable than not that New England Patriots personnel participated in violations of the Playing Rules and were involved in a deliberate effort to circumvent the rules" and that Brady "was at least generally aware of... the release of air from Patriots game balls" during the AFC Championship Game victory over the Indianapolis Colts.
Brady has the right to appeal his suspension, but barring a reduced suspension, he will miss games against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Buffalo Bills, Jacksonville Jaguars and Dallas Cowboys. The games against the Pittsburgh and Jacksonville are home games for New England, while the Buffalo and Dallas games will be played on the road. The Patriots also have their bye week between the Jagurs and Cowboys games.
The Patriots last played the Steelers on Nov. 3, 2013, in a 55–31 win for New England. Brady went 23-of-33 in that game for 432 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions.
The Patriots had a six-game winning streak snapped against the Bills last season when Buffalo pulled out a 17–9 win at Gillette Stadium. Brady played only the first half and went 8-of-16 for 80 yards.
In 10 games, the Patriots have lost to the Jaguars only once, on Jan. 3, 1999.
The Patriots have won four consecutive games against the Cowboys, although the two teams haven't met since Oct. 16, 2011, when Brady went 27-of-41 for 317 yards, one touchdown and one interception in a 20–16 Patriots win.
Here is New England's full schedule for the 2015 season:
Sept. 10: vs. Pittsburgh Steelers, 8:30 p.m. EST
Sept. 20: at Buffalo Bills, 1:00 p.m. EST
Sept. 27: vs. Jacksonville Jaguars, 1:00 p.m. EST
Oct. 11: at Dallas Cowboys, 4:25 p.m. EST
Oct. 18: at Indianapolis Colts, 8:30 p.m. EST
Oct. 25: vs. New York Jets, 1:00 p.m. EST
Oct. 29: vs, Miami Dolphins, 8:25 p.m. EST
Nov. 08: vs. Washington Redskins, 1:00 p.m. EST
Nov. 15: at New York Giants, 4:25 p.m. EST
Nov. 23: vs. Buffalo Bills, 8:30 p.m. EST
Nov. 29: at Denver Broncos, 8:30 p.m. EST
Dec. 06: vs. Philadelphia Eagles, 4:25 p.m. EST
Dec. 13: at Houston Texans, 1:00 p.m. EST
Dec. 20: vs. Tennessee Titans, 1:00 p.m. EST
Dec. 27: at New York Jets, 1:00 p.m. EST
Jan. 03: at Miami Dolphins, 1:00 p.m. EST
- Mike Fiammetta