After completing another successful season on a high, the defense of the New England Patriots
did not play to their level best, especially in the opening quarter of the season.
Patriots at Jaguars
Sun, Jan 21 at 3:05 pm ET
Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, MA
However, they tightened their defensive lines in their 10 subsequent games in which their opponents usually managed to score 17 points or less. As such, it is important to compare Bill Belichick’s 2017 defense with the previous years using league rankings rather than raw statistics in order to have a clear picture of Patriots odds to win the Super Bowl.
Ranked 5th on Points Allowed
Belichick impressively managed to instill the Patriots to prevent opponents from scoring at all times. Except in the year 2007, the team has been ranked in the top five in all the previous years they have won the Super Bowl, including 2003, 2004, and 2016. Even with Patriots odds to win the Super Bowl in 2006 and 2009 favoring them, the teams that played in 2006 and 2009 also did not win the Super Bowl, but the defense attained a top-5 ranking on points allowed.
Belichick has also had a fair share of shaky squads under his management, with four squads failing falling below top ten ranking, including the years 2000, 2002, 2005, and 2011. Generally, the Patriots odds to win the Super Bowl is currently competitive when they are analyzed from a points allowed standpoint
Ranked 29th on Yards Allowed
When it comes to yards allowed, the Patriots were ranked in the bottom ten in 2001, 2002, as well as from 2010-2013. The lowest was in 2011 when the squad was ranked 31st. The 2001 and 2011 squads maneuvered their way to the Super Bowl and the 2012 and 2013 squads managed to play for the conference title. Only a bend in their defense can make the Patriots slip in the postseason it. The Pittsburgh Steelers
is one of the teams that can take full advantage of such mistakes on the red zone.
Ranked 25th on Takeaways
In comparison to the 2017 squad, the 2005 squad under Belichick were ranked 31st, which gives them a worse takeaway rate. Unbendable and unbreakable defenses usually capitalize on turnovers to reach the end zone quickly and the Patriots seem to underperform. However, the team has impressively managed to force a turnover in the red zone. Other Top 10 defenses include 2001, 2003, 2004, 2007, and 2011, with the 2014 and 2016 ranked 14th.
Ranked 20th on Yards per Pass Attempt
Only the 2015 and 2016 squads have occupied the top 10 positions, with the 2017 Patriots ranked 20th. The poorest was in 2011 when the pass defense was ranked 29th, 2001 (19th), and 2014 (16th). If the Patriots continue to play against teams that can throw extra balls, their ranking would drop significantly. Generally, they are currently in a good state.
Ranked 31st on Yards per Attempt
The 31st ranked run defense needs a lot of work because it fails to beat the 29th ranked in rushing yards per attempt. The top 10 Patriots squads are 2014, and 2016, while the 2004 Patriots placed 11th. The bottom 10 takes account of the 2007 and 2011 squads. Since the remaining AFC teams can run the ball, the Patriots must improve on their drills.
Generally, the Patriots defense can win the Super Bowl, but Belichick must polish them thoroughly. Any slip up in the playoffs means that the defense does not have the capability to finish their long drives due to poor run defense. Now let’s wait and see how the Titans
deal with the likes of Tom Brady on Saturday night.
Conference Championship Game