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The New England Patriots’ 2021 schedule has been revealed, and while there are no major surprises, one aspect stands out as potentially challenging for new head coach Jerod Mayo. This upcoming season will involve a significant amount of traveling for the Patriots, with one particular game catching attention.

In Week 7, the Patriots are set to face the Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley Stadium in London. While international games have become more routine for NFL teams in recent years, there is an intriguing twist in the Patriots’ schedule. Unlike other teams, who usually have a bye week following an international game to help players recover from the effects of travel, the Patriots do not have that luxury.

Although it is not mandatory for teams to have a bye week after an international game, it is generally considered beneficial due to the physical toll that travel can take on players. Mike North, NFL vice president of broadcast planning, shed some light on the reasoning behind the Patriots’ schedule during a conference call.

According to North, many teams now treat international games as routine affairs. They have streamlined their travel schedules, often departing on Friday or Saturday and maintaining their regular routines. Returning home for a game following the international trip allows players to stay in their familiar environment. While the Patriots’ schedule may not align with this convention, they will aim to overcome any challenges that arise.

In navigating a season with extensive travel and without a bye week after their London game, the Patriots will rely on their experience, coaching staff, and depth to maintain their competitive edge. Adjustments will undoubtedly be made to ensure player well-being and performance are not compromised. The real test will be how Jerod Mayo and his team adapt to this unique schedule and turn it into an opportunity for success.