The Patriots' biggest strength, their most valued asset over the last 20 years, six Super championships and 11-straight division titles, has been coaching.
That line may have been blurred a bit with Tom Brady's elite play at the quarterback position, but football is a team game and Bill Belichick's groups have routinely been the better-prepared team from top-to-bottom for the better part of two decades.
In his first season as a Patriot, Cam Newton has taken notice of Belichick's coaching prowess that was evident in a Sunday night win over Lamar Jackson and the Ravens.
"Everything that [Belichick] coaches throughout the week tends to come up," Newton said after the game. "I'm beginning to think he either has like a Staples 'easy button' or a Buffalo Wild Wings button, or just a straight-direct line to the football gods."
New England made life incredibly difficult for the Ravens offense. The Patriots held Baltimore to 4.1 yards per rushing attempt and forced Jackson to throw the ball 34 times in the pouring rain, resulting in a measly 6.7 yards per pass attempt.
"He's like a football whisperer when it comes to anticipating what the game's gonna be like, how we need to win and things like that, I'm extremely impressed with that," Newton said.
The Patriots had a less-than-inspired start to the 2020 season after letting Brady go to Tampa Bay, losing a few key players who opted out of playing this year and a coronavirus outbreak that made Newton's transition at quarterback in a relatively talentless offense even more difficult.
But now after two straight wins, the Patriots are 4-5 and threatening in the AFC playoff picture. Belichick's resume speaks for itself, so it'd be hard to find a team seeded toward the top of the conference who'd be excited to see the Patriots in the playoffs if it came to that.
Especially if Belichick has a few magic buttons in his back pocket.