As the National Football League regular season continues to chug along in the COVID-19 era, the results of the latest Courier Publications/VillageSoup sports poll reflect the belief the New England Patriots will miss the playoffs.

Thirty-point-three percent of voters chose the "miss the playoffs" option, while 21.2 percent of participants believe the Patriots will lose in the Wildcard or Divisional round of the playoffs. Another 18.2 percent believe New England will go on to win the Super Bowl, while 9.1 chose "lose in the AFC Championship game," while no votes were cast for the Patriots to lose the Super Bowl.

Currently, New England holds a 2-2 record, and also has battled COVID-19 infections, which resulted in the Patriots' game against the Denver Broncos, originally scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 11, to be moved to Monday, Oct. 12, only to be postponed again to Sunday, Oct. 18.

The sports poll's topic stays with the NFL in its newest edition, but this time focuses on COVID-19, and how the league has handled its response to the disease, and asks: What should the NFL do to mitigate the growing number of positive coronavirus tests?

Click here to vote.

Through the first few weeks of the 2020-21 season, the league has had to deal with positive tests for players and staff members, which, as a result, has forced a reshuffle of its schedule like a deck of cards.

Early on, Patriots' players who are or were sidelined with COVID-19 include reigning defensive player of the year, and cornerback, Stephon Gilmore, starting defensive tackle Byron Cowart, quarterback Cam Newton and practice squad defensive tackle Bill Murray. Newton and Gilmore were back at practice on Thursday, Oct. 15 and played in Sunday's game.

In recent days, a handful of other New England players, as well as others in the league, have tested positive for the virus.

Courier Publications' sports staff can be reached by email at or by phone at 594-4401.