Patriots Defense Has Locked Down When It's Counted

Christine Roy
January 02, 2012 at 09:27am ET

Patriots select Georgia OL Isaiah Wynn, RB Sony Michel
Mock draft: Patriots get defensive
Athleticism sets University of Pittsburgh offensive tackle Brian O’Neill apart
Lamar Jackson divulges Pats visit
Robert Kraft blindsides Donald Trump

The Patriots defense has been feeling the heat all season long. But today, fans can rest easy knowing the Green Bay Packers are worse off. A total of eight yards separates these two defenses.

Vince Wilfork and the defense have been great at keeping opponents out of the endzone this season. (FILE:Icon/SMI)
The Patriots' D gave up 6,577 yards this season and the Packers' gave up 6,585. But with the playoffs a week away, is it enough knowing your team's defense has rallied to finish 31st  in the league? They say defense wins championships, but the Patriots may need more than that.

It's no secret the Pats have become incredibly thin in the secondary. While Brandon Meriweather wasn't my favorite Patriot, I would have felt more comfortable with him on the field than players like James Ihedigbo. True fans always say, "In Bill We Trust" but there are obviously a lot of no-names in the lineup. There's also some role switching with Julian Edelman having moved over to the defensive side of the ball. Belichick clearly has a lot of tricks in his hoodie and he drafted these players for a reason. The hard part has been sitting back and watching the opposing team march down the field.

However, there is a light at the end of these defensive struggles. The Patriots defense has stood tall when they needed to. This season they allowed opponents, on average, to score 21.4 points per game. That's good enough for 15th in the league. For a team that gave up more yards than every team in the NFL except one, to sit in the middle of the pack in points allowed, says something. The big line centered by Vince Wilfork and pressure from Mark Anderson, has protected the goal line. It hurt to see Andre Carter get knocked out for the season in Denver but the defense has recovered. Anderson has stepped in and really contributed. He had two sacks in the game against the Broncos and one against the Bills this past Sunday.

Hopefully a bye week will be a blessing for the Patriots. Tom Brady can take the extra week to sure up his injured shoulder and the team can get very familiar with their potential opponent. We've seen all season long that their best shot at winning comes from scoring at least 30 points. If the defense can allow 21 points or less and more importantly, if Brady can continue having a career year, I think we'll finally see the Patriots win a playoff game for the first time since 2007.