With the NFL releasing its schedule on Wednesday night, the New England Patriots learned that the Jerod Mayo era officially kicks off on Sept. 8 in Cincinnati against the Bengals.

Mayo’s first game as the Patriots’ head coach will see his defense tested against quarterback Joe Burrow and receivers Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins. Mayo’s first game inside Gillette Stadium will be in Week 2 when the Patriots take on the Seattle Seahawks on Sept. 15.

Following opponents’ over-under win totals set by Vegas oddsmakers, the Pats have the league’s second-most difficult schedule. Throw in trips to London, Arizona and San Francisco, and it’s easy to feel weary just looking at this schedule. The 25,701 miles they’ll fly, as calculated by the Boston Herald’s Bill Speros. is the fourth-most in the league.

The Patriots are on the road for three of the first four weeks of the season. After their home opener, they take on the New York Jets in a Thursday night matchup in Week 3 followed by a trip to San Francisco in Week 4.

This year, they have another international game as they’ll take on the Jacksonville Jaguars in London on Week 7. That’ll be played inside Wembley Stadium.

This Patriots’ 2024 schedule also features the latest bye week in the NFL. The Patriots won’t get a break until Week 14, which is the latest week NFL teams can have a bye. Last season, the Patriots had the week off after their trip to Germany in Week 11.

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This Patriots’ schedule features a laundry list of talented quarterbacks with Burrow (Week 1), Aaron Rodgers (Week 3 and 8), Tua Tagovailoa (Week 5 and 12), C.J. Stroud (Week 6), Trevor Lawrence (Week 7), Caleb Williams (Week 10), Matthew Stafford (Week 11), Anthony Richardson (Week 13), Kyler Murray (Week 15), Josh Allen (Week 16 and 18) and Justin Herbert (Week 17).

The Patriots wrap up their season playing the Buffalo Bills in two of their last three games, in Buffalo in Week 16 and at home in Week 18.

DAVID ANDREWS and the Patriots agreed to a 1-year contract extension Thursday that will run through the 2025 season, a source confirmed to the Boston Herald.

The contract carries a base value of $12 million over the next two seasons, including $8 million guaranteed with a maximum total value of $13 million. Andrews, 31, is the team’s longest-tenured player on offense and a seven-time captain.

The New England center weighed his future in the league this past offseason, following a difficult 4-13 campaign. He elected to return for 2024, which had been a contract year prior to Thursday’s new deal. Andrews explained the decision to continue playing last week.

“(It’s) just making sure I can do all the things I need to do to prepare and be ready to go on Sunday,” he said. “I took some time and got away and spent some time with my family, much needed. That desire was still down in there, to wanna get up and go train and do all the things I need to do to take care of myself.”

Long snapper Joe Cardona is the only current player who’s been with the organization longer than Andrews. Cardona was a fifth-round draft pick in 2015, when Andrews signed with the team as an undrafted free agent out of Georgia.

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