Here are some facts:
The Patriots are the only team to go 8-0 in the second half of the season.So how has the Patriots defense played as a unit in the second half of the season? You’d be surprised at how well they stack up to the rest of the league.
Six of those victories came against teams who finished the season 4-4 or greater, meaning the Patriots had success against strong teams.
The Patriots have such a terrible “yards against” defense because they score so much- the opposing team always gets the ball back with lots of yards in front of them.
Patriots Defensive Rankings
|Passing Completions||182||26th, or 6th most completions|
|Passing Attempts Against||317||2nd|
|Completion Rate Against||57.4%||9th|
|Passing Yards Against||1985||28th|
|Yards Per Attempt||6.26||10th|
|Passing Touchdowns Against||12||17th|
|Rushing Attempts Against||182||5th fewest|
|Rushing Yards Against||787||8th|
|Rushing Yards Per Attempt||4.32||15th|
|Rushing Touchdowns Against||3||4th|
The Patriots, if all of the factors are averaged out, are tied with Green Bay for the second best defense in the league. Let me repeat: The New England Patriots have had the second best defense in the league for the second half of the season. That includes games against five playoff teams: the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Indianapolis Colts, the New York Jets, the Chicago Bears, and the Green Bay Packers. This defense has been simply dominant.
Couple the second best defense with the best offense and the Patriots appear to be set for the playoffs. The mediocre run defense (which still ranks 9th over the last half of the season) is helped by the offense forcing opposing teams to throw the ball to keep up. The secondary edges out the New York Jets for the third best pass defense in the league (only behind the Steelers and the Packers), which says a lot of this young unit. Looking at the playoff teams, only the Seahawks and the Colts didn’t finish in the top half of the league in these rankings. Eight of the playoff teams were in the top twelve and ten were in the top fifteen. The hot defenses all belong to the best teams in the league- and the Patriots have one of the hottest.
(statistics courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.com)