Longo: Smart and tough not enough for Patriots vs. Chiefs, but come January it just might be

(Adam Richins for BSJ)

FOXBOROUGH – This five-game regular-season stretch, an uninspiring 2-3 from the New England Patriots, has been quite defining for these defending Super Bowl champions.

One question should sum up this football team's future.

We know the Patriots are smarter and tougher than every opponent they will face in the AFC. We also know that they are slower. The Chiefs, Ravens, and Texans all demonstrated that to the entire football world. Speed, in those three cases, killed.

But can smarter and tougher be enough to win the Super Bowl?

Even in defeat on Sunday evening, 23-16 to Kansas City, the Patriots proved that, yes, it could happen.