Patriots Defense Might Be Smoke & Mirrors: In a Good Way

Bramley JohnsonContributor IJanuary 29, 2012

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 22:   Vince Wilfork #75 of the New England Patriots celebrates after defeating the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium on January 22, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The New England Patriots defeated the Baltimore Ravens 20-23.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

Firstly, I have to say what a waste of time the Pro Bowl is. What a complete joke that whole show was.  What an insult to true NFL fans. Right now, on to the actual point of this article. 

I was motivated to write this because all I’ve heard all season long is about how terrible the Patriots defense is. I’m not about to start saying they have a killer defense. Not even a great defense. But a good defense? A solid defense? Let’s just take a look and you can be the judge yourself.


What Everyone Knows 

Everyone knows that the Patriots rank second-to-last in defensive rankings this season right behind Green Bay (and they were dead last through the whole season till Detroit handed the trophy to the Packers). The Patriots give up yards—a lot of yards. Some will call this a bad defense, some call it the bend-but-don’t-break strategy.

Either way, two of the supposed worst defenses in the league made it to the playoffs and one of those teams is in the Super Bowl. Now let’s take a look at what all those ‘light’ NFL fans don’t read when they only look at the ESPN headlines.


What Defense Is Really About 

The Patriots are one of the best teams out there. That’s why they’re in the Super Bowl. And their defense actually shows it if you look past the yards and into the meat of the numbers. The Patriots might be second-to-last on yards given up, but when it comes to points surrendered, they are 15th. 

In my book, that’s better than average, and better-than-average wins games. But wait, there’s more!  The Patriots are tied for third in takeaways and second for interceptions. I might be alone here, but what wins games is winning the turnover battle. 


What This All Means 

Well I’ll leave you to make up your own mind, but in my humble opinion, I couldn’t care less how many yards my team gives up as long as they don’t give up the points, they create the turnovers and they continue to score 20 or more points a game.  

If your team can do that, rest assured they’ll probably end up on the big stage and, as we’ve seen, the Patriots are right where they belong.


What This Means to the Super Bowl

When the New York Giants faced off with Patriots in 2007, they were coming in as the real underdog. Most saw the Patriots blowing the Giants off the field. The game was closer than most and a real heartbreaker to Pats fans and maybe the most memorable win to Big Blue fans.

This time, everything is different. The Patriots only have seven members remaining from that '07 season. They're running a whole new offense and a whole new defense—a defense, I might add, that has stepped up in the postseason too. You can rest assured New England isn't going to take the Giants high powered defense lightly at all.  

If the Giants go into Indy thinking they're facing a second-to-last-placed defense that they can just walk all over, they're in for a real surprise—a surprise that might end in them going home empty-handed.