It may have been lost on the chicken little types around here, but the Patriots are currently 2nd place in the most important defensive metric: scoring. And as we all know, it's not a result of the offense shielding them from danger; they also rank 2nd in opposing points per drive. Still, many on this site remain unconvinced that this is anything more than just a solid defense because of the lackluster offenses they've faced. With that being said, what kind of performance do you need to see against New Orleans to be convinced that this is a good or even elite defense? And no cop outs please... (e.g. "a win"). Personally, if they allow only 17 points or less I'll be confident in calling this group elite (i.e. Top 3). Anywhere from 18-27 I'll consider them "very good". Between 27-38, I won't write them off, but I'll pump the brakes on my enthusiasm. If they let up over 38, it'll be hard not to chalk up past performances to weak competition. Of course, key game-winning situational plays or drives could force me to abandon any points-based team assessment, given how good New Orleans is on offense.