(TiqIQ/CBS) – The New England Patriots have been one of the best teams in the league since Bill Belichick took over as head coach. While they haven’t won the Super Bowl since 2004, they’ve only missed the playoffs once since then; have been to two Super Bowls, and five AFC Championship games. Last season they were the AFC’s second seed, and lost to the Denver Broncos in the AFC Championship game. While the New England Patriots schedule isn’t devoid of challengers they are, once again, expected to be on a short list of Super Bowl favorites.
With high expectations come high-ticket prices. Patriots tickets cost an average of $414.22, with the highest single game average $554.87 when they host the AFC Champion Denver Broncos in November. That game is the third highest single game average in the entire NFL. But that’s nothing new for Patriots fans, as tickets have been one of the most expensive in the league ever since the opening of Gillette Stadium in 2002.
Week 3 – 1PM Oakland Raiders | Avg. Price: $409.11 | Get-in Price: $118
Any game between the Patriots and Oakland Raiders is certain to bring back memories of the infamous ‘tuck rule’ game in the 2001 AFC playoffs. That postseason eventually culminated in the Patriots’ first Super Bowl title. But this year’s matchup doesn’t feature the same stakes. The Raiders haven’t been to the postseason since losing in the Super Bowl back in 2002. With tons of cap room they had a big offseason makeover, but even the most optimistic projections won’t put them in the same class as the Patriots. Despite it being the home opener, Patriots tickets have the cheapest get-in price of the season, but at $409.11 the average price is right around the season average.
Week 5 – 8:30PM Cincinnati Bengals | Avg. Price: $362.07 | Get-in Price: $130
The Cincinnati Bengals were ready to take the next step last season. After losing as a wildcard team each of the previous two years, the Bengals – led by their defense – looked like one of the top teams in the AFC. Unfortunately, a late season swoon opened the door for the Patriots to snag the second first-round bye and the number two seed. Even as the home team, the Bengals were upset in the first-round by the Chargers, their third-straight opening round loss. In the offseason they lost their offensive and defensive coordinator, as both coaches were signed by different teams to be head coaches. That doesn’t mean the Bengals should be counted out. The two teams met in Cincinnati last year, and the Bengals won 13-6. That hasn’t done much to excite Patriots fans. The average price and get-in price are both the second cheapest on the Patriots schedule at $362.07 and $130, respectively.
Week 7 – 8:25PM New York Jets | Avg. Price: $375.32 | Get-in Price: $138
The Patriots have dominated the AFC East, so it’s not surprising that some of the cheapest tickets you’ll find on this list are AFC East foes. Still, if there has been a team to give the Patriots problems, it’s been Rex Ryan and the New York Jets. While the Patriots will always have the ‘Butt Fumble’ over the Jets, New York did knock the Patriots out of the playoffs in 2010, a year they seemed likely to make the Super Bowl. The average price is nine percent lower than the season average, while the get-in price is the third most expensive on the list.
Week 8 – 1PM Chicago Bears | Avg. Price: $514.44 | Get-in Price: $168
This game with the Chicago Bears is the second of three-straight home games for the Patriots. It’s also the second most expensive game for both average price and get-in price. The Bears were a game away from making the postseason last year, and made the NFC Championship game as recently as 2010. This season marks the second with head coach Marc Trestman, as he looks to continue remaking the Bears into one of the top offenses in the NFL. Chicago might have the best pair of outside receivers in the league in Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffrey. Belichick will have his hands full figuring out a way to slow both receivers down.
Week 9 – 4:25PM Denver Broncos | Avg. Price: $554.87 | Get-in Price: $214
The marquee match on the calendar completes the Patriots stretch of three-straight home games. It also completes the three-week rise in ticket prices, with the most expensive average price and get-in price tickets on the Patriots schedule. The Peyton Manning-Tom Brady matchups have always been great, and this season should be no different. Last year the Patriots won after staging a furious second half rally at home during the regular season. But the Broncos got the better of them in the playoffs, winning 26-16.
Week 12 – 1PM Detroit Lions | Avg. Price: $485.07 | Get-in Price: $131
While the get-in price is one of the cheaper options on the Patriots schedule, the average price is third on this list. Seeing Detroit Lions receiver Calvin Johnson up close might be worth the price of admission, though. Overall, the Lions are one of the most talented teams in the league, but have underachieved the last few years. The hope in Detroit is that a switch to Jim Caldwell as head coach will help them reach expectations. Under Jim Schwartz the team was considered undisciplined, which many thought reflected the actions of Schwartz.
Week 15 – 1PM Miami Dolphins | Avg. Price: $363.67 | Get-in Price: $133
Just like last season the Patriots are facing the Miami Dolphins Week 15. Unlike last season, this starts a stretch of three-straight division games for the Patriots to end the season. It may be the NFL’s way of trying to keep the Patriots from clinching early this year. The Dolphins have been a close second to the Jets in terms of giving the Patriots problems in the division. While they have no postseason wins, the Dolphins are the only non-Patriots team to win the AFC East since 2003. That still won’t get the price to jump too high, the get-in price is $133 and the average price is down 12 percent to $363.67.
Week 17 – 1PM Buffalo Bills | Avg. Price: $302.13 | Get-in Price: $133
The Patriots are home for the final game of the season, facing the Buffalo Bills in the finale for the second straight year. The Patriots haven’t lost on the final game of the season since the NFL made all Week 17 matchups between division opponents. They’ve won those games by an average of just over 25 points. They’ve also completely dominated the Bills head-to-head the last decade. The Patriots usually don’t have much to play for on the last week either, and that all combines to make this game the cheapest in terms of average price. The average of $302.13 is just under $60 cheaper than the next lowest mark.
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