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2020 Patriots Questions: Will Pats Make The Playoffs, And How Far Will They Go?

BOSTON (CBS) -- We have finally reached Week 1 of the 2020 NFL season, which is the beginning of a new era for the New England Patriots. In addition to all the unknown that will go with teams playing football during a pandemic, the Patriots are going through quite the change in personnel with Cam Newton taking over for the departed Tom Brady.

No one really knows what to expect in 2020, from both a Patriots standpoint and a league standpoint, but we're going to take a crack at it anyways. The WBZ-TV and CBS Boston Sports team will be answering a handful of questions regarding the Patriots as we count down to kickoff Sunday afternoon against the Miami Dolphins.

The Patriots making the playoffs was a foregone conclusion for much of the last 20 years. Usually the only question was if they would get the No. 1 seed or  -- at the very least --- a first-round bye. This year? Just a little different.

Will the Patriots make the playoffs, and if they do, how far will they go? Our sports team weighs in.

Steve Burton, WBZ-TV Sports

The Patriots will make it to the AFC Championship Game.

Dan Roche, WBZ-TV Sports

Won't bet against Bill Belichick. With no preseason games, the month of September really is the Pats preseason -- not the usual "extension of the preseason." Even when Tom Brady was here we saw the Pats struggle in September. In fact, since Belichick arrived in 2000, the Pats have gone 0-4 once (2000), 1-3 once (2001) and 2-2  six times. I think the same thing will happen this season. I expect this team to be much, much better in November and December than they will be in September and October. I see them as a third or fourth seed with a possible trip to the AFC Title game on tap. 

Levan Reid, WBZ-TV Sports

Pats make the playoffs and win a couple of games but fall on the road in the AFC Championship game to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Michael Hurley, CBS Boston

They're making the playoffs. Will they win there? It will depend so much on the matchup. The 2019 Patriots weren't so bad, but the Titans – with a bruising, humongous running back and a gutsy head coach – were a terrible matchup in the wild-card round. The Patriots have a chance to make a deep run, but it's not like the old days when that was considered a guarantee.

Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston

I think the Patriots will make the playoffs, but I don't feel great about it. I can see the team struggling early in the season before putting it together late and making a run as a wild-card team. Then it all depends on their matchup. If they make it to the Divisional Round, I think that's as far as they go.

More Patriots Questions: Who Will Be MVP? | Who Will Break Out On Defense? | Who Will Leading Receivers In Yards, Touchdowns? | Who Will Lead Charge Out Of The Backfield? | Whose Progress Interests You Most? | Which Rookie Excites You Most?

You can watch the Patriots kick off their 2020 season Sunday on WBZ-TV — the home of the New England Patriots! Coverage begins Friday night at 7 p.m. with Patriots All Access and kicks off Sunday at 11:30 a.m. with Patriots GameDay. The Patriots and the Dolphins square off at 1 p.m., and stick to WBZ-TV after the game for Cam Newton's first postgame press conference on Patriots 5th Quarter!

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