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Are the Patriots Super Bowl contenders again?

Super Bowl LI - New England Patriots v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images

The New England Patriots are headed to the playoffs once again, with a chance to repeat as Super Bowl champions. Can they make it back to the league title game? I asked Bernd Buchmasser, the managing editor of SB Nation’s Patriots team site, Pats Pulpit, for his expectations of the Patriots this postseason.

If the Patriots can get more consistent and play like they did in Week 16 against the Buffalo Bills, then this team is certainly capable of winning another Super Bowl. With that being said, it is hard to project whether or not they can do that moving forward. I have learned never to bet against Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, but from an offensive perspective this team certainly seems more vulnerable than others — especially when it comes to keeping pace with teams like the Ravens or Chiefs.

All in all, though, I think the expectation has to be the same every year with the two future Hall of Famers leading the organization: winning the Super Bowl. Whether or not this goal is realistic remains to be seen — and at this point in time a championship would be as unsurprising as a first-round exit. It all comes down to consistent performance.

Today’s game against the Miami Dolphins could go a long way toward deciding the postseason fate of the Patriots. If Miami can play spoiler and come away with the upset win, the Patriots could drop to the third seed in the AFC, meaning they would lose the bye week and have to host a Wildcard Weekend game next week. Will Miami be able to pull off that upset?