The conventional wisdom has been that "defense wins championships," but New England's has been a thorn in Tom Brady's side all season.
While No. 12 surpassed Dan Marino's single season passing record this year, his defense ranked among the bottom of the league, allowing an average 411.1 yards per game.
But there is reason to believe that New England's D will improve next year.
The Pats have two first round and two second round draft picks in the 2012 draft.
New England should use these picks as an opportunity to build an outstanding defense for the upcoming season.
In addition to their ability to add solid players, the Patriots have several young defenders who look promising.
Despite Devin McCourty's sophomore slump, his performance in 2010 shows that he has the potential to become a staple in the Pats' D.
Sterling Moore, who was not invited to the NFL Scouting Combine last February, is largely responsible for the Patriots' trip to Super Bowl XLVI after he made a game-saving play in the end zone against Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Lee Evans. Expect to see more out of him in the coming years.
Rookie cornerback Ras-I Dowling, New England's second round pick in the 2011 draft, looked to be a promising player until a season-ending injury placed him on injured reserve. His return will certainly make this defense stronger.
Ultimately, the Pats' D will get better for Brady in the 2012 season as it cannot get much worse.