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Tom Brady revels in perception that Patriots are washed up

Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady were the quarterbacks that shined the brightest in their teams' victories in the Divisional Round.

Consecutive losses to the Dolphins and Steelers prompted many to conclude that it was finally over for the Patriots. And that may be exactly what the Patriots wanted.

After consecutive wins to end the regular season and a not-as-close-as-the-score-would-suggest 41-28 chewing up of the Chargers, the Patriots are back. And they’re on to Kansas City.

But they’re clinging to the perception that they’re no good, even if that perception no longer exists.

“You know, everyone thinks we suck,” Brady told Tracy Wolfson of CBS after the victory. “You know, can’t win any games. So we’ll see. It’ll be fun.”

They definitely don’t suck, as evidenced by their eighth straight berth in the AFC title game. But they underachieved just enough down the stretch to squander the chance to host the Chiefs, forcing the Patriots to return to the site of a September 2014 shredding that resulted in the coinage of “on to Cincinnati” by Bill Belichick and a run that culminated in a Super Bowl win.

This time, a win in Kansas City puts the Patriots in the Super Bowl. While the Chiefs may have more talent and home-field advantage, the Patriots have what no other team does -- extensive postseason experience. It will benefit them next Sunday.