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The Patriots defense of the early 2000s was a strong, hard-nosed, by-the-books defensive unit that found their identity from head coach Bill Belichick.
They were disciplined, hit you hard and made big defensive plays when it mattered most.
You could argue that no play came at a more opportune time than Ty Law’s famous pick-six against the Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI because it gave them all momentum heading into halftime.
The Patriots entered that game as 14-point underdogs and ended up holding the “Greatest Show on Turf” to only 17 points and promptly beginning their dominance as the best defensive unit in football for three or four years.
From 2003 to 2007, the Patriots defense finished in the top five in scoring defense in all but one year (2006), while also being the AFC leader in takeaways in 2003 and second in 2004.
For the Packers, defense was one of the main reasons they were successful Super Bowl champions in the 2010-11 season.
The 2010 Green Bay Packers led the league in total defense, only giving up 15.0 points per game, while also leading the NFC in turnover differential at plus-10.
The Packers of today are still a good defense, but they fit a little bit different of a mold.
In 2011, the Packers simply didn’t care if you scored on them. They knew they could outscore you on offense.
And while the defense wasn't as good as they were a year ago, they still were middle of the pack in defensive scoring but gave up a lot of yards.
They love to blitz off the edge with Clay Matthews but still have the ability to bait you into making mistakes and rightfully led the NFL in interceptions and were second in turnover differential.
In a comparison of the two defenses, it’s clear that on paper the Patriots were the better unit. They probably also passed the eye test, but you have to remind yourself of the day in age they played.
Nowadays it’s offense and passing the football that wins football games in the NFL, therefore easing a bit for pressure off of teams with dominant offenses.
Patriots win the comparison, but the Packers defense plays well enough to mesh with the changing times in the NFL today.