The New England Patriots were one of the hardest-hit teams from players who decided to opt-out of the 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic.In 2021, the Patriots are back and re-energized. A fully loaded Patriots team could possibly surprise in the AFC East. But it’s going to be a bit difficult. Julian Edelman announced his retirement while Joe Thuney, Jason McCourty, Marcus Cannon and Ryan Izzo were among those to sign elsewhere.CLICK HERE FOR MORE SPORTS COVERAGE ON FOXNEWS.COMThe Patriots will likely start Cam Newton at quarterback for the team’s first few games of the season. Mac Jones is also waiting in the wings as the team selected him in the first round of the 2021 draft.It’ll take some heart for New England to truly compete in the division and get back to the playoffs.The Patriots start the season at home against the Miami Dolphins in Week 1. The team will also play the Dolphins in the last week of the season. The big matchup will be in Week 4 when the team welcomes Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to Foxborough. It will be the first time Brady steps foot into Gillette Stadium in anything other than

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