New England Patriots: 5 Questions on the Mind of Every Pats Fan in 2012

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New England Patriots: 5 Questions on the Mind of Every Pats Fan in 2012
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
Pats' fans are holding their breath to see how Rob Gronkowski's ankle holds up this season.

Charles Kettering, inventor of the electric ignition system, once said, "High achievement always takes place in the framework of high expectation."

There may not be a more apt test of his hypothesis than the 2012-13 New England Patriots' season.

Last year, in what was arguably the greatest non-championship season in his Hall of Fame career, New England Patriots coach/GM Bill Belichick took a fundamentally-flawed team and brought them to within minutes of a Super Bowl title. 

This offseason, Belichick strengthened his team's biggest weaknesses by signing deep-threat WR Brandon Lloyd and bolstering his defense through the draft and free agency.  Now, a team that came a few plays from the Lombardi Trophy is considered the prohibitive favorite to return to the Super Bowl. 

Still, the road from training camp to the championship is an arduous one, and the AFC competition has improved since last year.  If the Patriots hope to cement QB Tom Brady's (and Belichick's) legacy by bringing home a fourth Super Bowl title, they will need some dominoes to fall in their favor.  

With that in mind, take a look at five things that Pats' fans will be looking out for this season, in order for the hometown team to fulfill its lofty, Super Bowl-or-bust expectations.

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