While opponent after opponent tries to figure out who they need to be or what to do to defeat New England, the Patriots simply beat their foes. Sure, strategy, scheming, planning and all that factors in for New England.
Yet, at their most basic points, the Patriots complete passes, pressure the quarterback and do everything other teams want and try to do to them.
Against a very good Todd Bowles-coached Jets team, with the Patriots boasting just two healthy running backs and backup personnel across their battered offensive line, Tom Brady operated efficiently from the pocket, Danny Amendola delivered a standout performance and the defense stopped the Jets from doing what they do best -- running the ball.
They have to do more than theorize, though. Teams have to execute better than New England. Week after week, it doesn't happen. Some team might beat the Patriots, and in all likelihood, more than one will.
When it matters most, though, can they pull it off?
For more than three quarters, the Jets went toe-to-toe with the Patriots -- physically, mentally, execution-wise. Then, New England scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns while New York kicked two field goals in the final period. The Jets made it interesting but didn't show the poise the Patriots did.
And that was that.
There's nothing to indicate that's how things will play out over the course of the season and through the playoffs. Really, is there another team in the AFC that does what the Patriots do? Cincinnati looks legit, but that whole one-and-done in the playoff thing. ... Denver? Pittsburgh?
New York entered the game with the NFL's top defense and the league's top rushing attack.
Both were checkmated by the diminished Patriots, who didn't play a great game, but instead made no excuses for why it would be OK to lose.
However, Brady wasn't under a ton of pressure, and that allowed Amendola to come up with timely plays. And when New York took its eye off tight end Rob Gronkowski to pay even glancing attention to Amendola or Julian Edelman, Brady found his tight end, who finished with 11 catches for 108 yards and one touchdown (which was the decisive score).
"We have to make sure we don't make mistakes," Ferguson said Friday. "New England is very good at waiting for an opponent to break. If they turn the ball over or miss an assignment, they strike. They stay consistent with that. Every game. Every year."
Buffalo is 3-4 in the increasingly competitive AFC East, but they've become far less of a factor on the field than they've become off of it.
They're hot, and they have a shot Thursday in New England.