Every Tuesday on ESPNBoston.com, questions from Patriots followers are answered as part of a weekly mailbag. This week's mailbag has been posted and includes the following topics:
1. Defining the winning formula for the Patriots as they look ahead to the playoffs.
2. How the Patriots might approach the season finale from a personnel perspective.
3. How important is a first-round playoff bye?
4. Closer look at linebacker Dont'a Hightower's strong game against the Ravens.
5. Considerations for Bill Belichick (Coach of the Year) and Tom Brady (MVP) for postseason awards.
6. Big-picture view on rookie contributions.
7. When referees play a large role in the flow of the game.