Patriots

Patriots

The New England Patriots find themselves in a familiar position entering the 2019 NFL season: defending Super Bowl champions.

The Pats will try to become the first team to repeat as champs since they accomplished the feat in 2003 and 2004, and that journey begins Sunday night when New England hosts the rival Pittsburgh Steelers at Gillette Stadium. It will be the third time the Patriots have played against the Steelers at home in Week 1 after winning the Super Bowl, and Tom Brady and Co. won both of the previous two matchups.

The reigning champs will have plenty of competition for the Lombardi Trophy in 2019, beginning with the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs, led by 2018 NFL MVP-winning quarterback Patrick Mahomes, figure to be the toughest opponent for the Patriots on the way to Miami for Super Bowl LIV in February. Oddsmakers actually have pegged the Chiefs as the new favorite to win Super Bowl LIV, according to the latest betting lines.

Several teams in the NFC, including the New Orleans Saints, Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles, also pose a serious threat to the Patriots' chances of winning back-to-back titles.

Where do the Patriots stand enter Week 1 of the new season? Here's a roundup of the latest expert NFL power rankings:

Scott Bair, NBC Sports Bay Area: No. 1
Dan Hanzus, NFL.com: No. 1
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: No. 2
MMQB Staff, Sports Illustated: No. 1
Nate Davis, USA TODAY: No. 1
NFL Staff, Bleacher Report: No. 1

 

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