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The New England Patriots can win the Super Bowl in New England, according to a major CBS poll released Tuesday.
The Patriots are leading the NFL in Super Bowl expectations, and if they can win the biggest party they’ve owned in recent years, they’ll take home the Lombardi Trophy. The rest of the AFC can still get a trip to Canton, but only if they can beat Denver and New England. For AFC East, it could be all or nothing for New England and the Patriots.
The Patriots have been the NFL’s favorites for most of the year, although they haven’t had as much success in January, when they’ve had just two wins. The Super Bowl will come down to the wire if the Patriots want to get a trip to New York, New Jersey or Boston.
The Patriots had a 10-point lead over the Ravens last week in the poll. The poll was taken between Monday and Wednesday, after the Patriots blew a 20-point second-half lead on Baltimore at the end of the first half of Sunday’s win over Houston.
There’s no more room for error with the Patriots than there was with the Ravens last season after Ray Lewis retired. If they can upset the Patriots, they’ll go all the way to the Super Bowl.
Here’s the rest of the top 10, according to the CBS poll.
1. New England Patriots (11 points): The Patriots rank first and will go all the way.
2. Pittsburgh Steelers (11 points): The Steelers are tied with the Colts for the AFC North lead and lead this matchup of first-place teams.
3. Atlanta Falcons (9 points): The Falcons’ chances are still alive with just four games left in the regular season. Plus, they’re the Falcons, and they’re always in the thick of the playoff race.
4. Green Bay Packers (8 points): The Packers will need to improve on the 29 points they scored Sunday. They need to avoid the Lions (4/8), the Dolphins (7/8) and the Bengals (3/3) to avoid the bottom of the NFL postseason pack. Green Bay has the best shot of any team in the NFL to make the playoffs with their own win over Indianapolis.
5. Jacksonville Jaguars (6 points): The Jaguars will need to win Sunday against Houston to avoid a 1-7 finish and make the playoffs.