The New England Patriots defense is scary good, and they can actually still improve. Playing good defense has become the team’s identity. They are starting to hit their stride, and they are vicious. When referring to how good they could be in the future, cornerback J.C. Jackson told reporters, “It’s going to get scary, it’s going to be scary.”
New England Patriots Defense Has Been Scary for Opponents
Coming off of a 25-0 win over the Atlanta Falcons, the Patriots have now outscored their opponents 175-50 during this five-game win streak and 70-7 in the last two games. They have improved their record to 7-4 and have the fifth seed in the AFC. Jackson believes they can get even better; he also told reporters, “We’re starting to build that chemistry defensively.” The players have bought into Bill Belichick’s way, and they are playing with physicality, awareness, and confidence. It is a vintage Belichick defense, and it feels like something special is brewing.
Thursday Night Game
It was another coaching mismatch, and Belichick is now 25-4 against first-year coaches since 2010. In a short week, coaching is even more critical, making the advantage even bigger. The Falcons are not a good team right now, but Matt Ryan is a good quarterback with capable receivers. It could easily have been a “trap game” with the Falcons at home on Thursday Night Football. However, Belichick did not let that happen; it was evident he had the team highly motivated. Good teams have to beat the bad teams on their schedule. They have to handle their business, and it’s not as easy as it looks on paper, just ask the Buffalo Bills.
Belichick Isn’t the Only One Who Is Scary Good
Belichick isn’t the only one who is scary good; Matt Judon is unblockable 1-on-1, and he is a nightmare for opposing quarterbacks. He now has a career-high 10.5 sacks with six games to go. Rookie Christian Barmore is a beast and a game-changer; another steal the Patriots made in the draft. Having to block Judon and Barmore is becoming a problem for teams. The pressure they can generate on a quarterback is overwhelming, which allows the secondary to play better too.
Stars are emerging all over this Patriots defense. Cornerback J.C. Jackson has been outstanding and safety Kyle Dugger is developing rapidly. Dugger is a throwback to hard-hitting safeties who can stuff the run, and he leads the team with 71 tackles. It says a lot that the coaches trusted him in single coverage on the freakishly athletic tight end, Kyle Pitts. It appears Dugger was a steal in last year’s draft by Belichick’s dog, Nike.
Massive Playoff Implications
The next four games will tell fans more about this Patriots team. They have a tough stretch of games, including two games against the Bills, which will have massive playoff implications. The team is now just a half a game behind the Bills for the division lead, and they will be watching closely when the Bills play the Indianapolis Colts this Sunday. But up next is the 8-2 Tennessee Titans, who are well-coached by former Patriot Mike Vrabel. After that battle, they will face the Bills, Colts, and Bills again. The Patriots will not be able to sit back and watch these teams implode because they won’t.
A Nasty Group
Nobody wants to play the Patriots defense right now. They are physical, smart, stingy, and built for bad weather. They are capable of improving each week and historically they do just that. If they can get even better, it is a scary thought for opponents. Matt Judon said it best; they are “a nasty group.”