On paper, the 2018 season was business as usual for the Patriots, who have appeared in a whopping eight of the last 17 Super Bowls behind the perennially dominant pairing of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick.
It was a theme that resonated throughout the locker room after the Patriots' 41-28 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers in the divisional round of the playoffs.
Only a handful of teams have ever won the title game two years in a row.
Asked if it's sweeter when he's proving people wrong, Brady said, "I just like winning". "They're a good team. And this team follows Tom, and I thought he's done a great job of just leading us throughout the year". But immediately after the game, he shrugged off a question about next Sunday's AFC championship game against the Chiefs, telling a CBS reporter, "Everybody thinks we suck and can't win any games".
"We see it", McCourty said, via NESN.com's Zack Cox. Brady is a five-time Super Bowl champion and 14-time Pro Bowler.
The Patriots will now travel to Kansas City next Sunday for the AFC championship. He put on a vintage performance, completing 34 of 44 passes for 343 yards and one touchdown.
Despite their comprehensive victory over the Chargers, and a win earlier this season in Foxborough against the Chiefs, the Patriots are underdogs entering the Chiefs clash.