Patriots defense: Not too shabby

Jerod Mayo has been a leader on the improving Patriots defense.

So, the Patriots defense is going to blow this team’s chance at a fourth Super Bowl title, eh?

They’re going to give up 500 passing yards, 40 points, and blow the last goal-line stand of the game against the Ravens?

Based on the way the national media portrays the Pats D, you’d have every reason to think those things. Heck, Troy Aikman said the Patriots had the worst defense to ever make the playoffs.
Come. On.

Listen, the Pats defense isn’t going to break any records anytime soon, but worst ever? Not even close. In fact, there are a lot of stats that would prove the Patriots defense is satisfactory. And with an offense like the one they possess, satisfactory is more than enough.

Let’s get this out of the way right now: They ranked 31st in total yardage allowed. Big whoop. Teams threw on the Patriots 619 times in the regular season, fourth most in the NFL. Eventually those yards will add up.

But did yards given up translate to points? Nope. When it came to points allowed, the Patriots gave up 21.4, putting them in the top half of the league. In fact, the Patriots have only given up more than seven points in the second half once in the last nine weeks.

“Each week we are getting better,” Vince Wilfork said. “That’s our goal to get better, and each week we have. It’s something that we work for and that’s what we’ll continue to do. The better we can be prepared, the better we’ll be on Sunday. That’s where we’re at right now.”

Wilfork is having arguably his best season as a Patriot. On top of the 52 tackles, he had two interceptions and one forced fumble during the regular season. That’s three takeaways out of an AFC-leading 34.

And when it comes to run defense, the Pats are relatively stable. They’ll have to be on Sunday because of Ray Rice.

“I think it all starts with [Rice],” Wilfork said this week. “After him, it starts with the quarterback. … We have to do a good job of slowing [Rice] down and hopefully everything else will fall in place for us.”

The Cold, Hard Football Facts
A look at the NFL’s conference title games through the eyes of the stat experts at ColdHardFootballFacts.com.
 
The importance of Defensive Hogs
The Cold, Hard Football Facts measure the performance of every defensive front in football each year with our Defensive Hog Index. It’s proven that teams with great defensive lines are built to win playoff football. The 2007 Giants were No. 1 in the DHI. They won the Super Bowl. The 2008 Steelers were No. 1 in the DHI. They won the Super Bowl. The statistic is an incredible 37-15 (.712) picking playoff winners since it was introduced in 2007, including 6-2 here in the 2011 playoffs. Here’s how the NFL’s Final Four stack up on the Defensive Hog Index
 
Baltimore Ravens – No. 1
San Francisco 49ers – No. 2
New York Giants – No. 13
New England Patriots – No. 25



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Mayor announces public housing improvements

Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke at the Lincoln Houses in East Harlem on Wednesday, calling for the scaffolding to come down at NYCHA complexes across…

National

Peter Theo Curtis: American released by Syrian militants…

An American writer freed this week from two years in the captivity of insurgents in Syria spoke briefly outside his family's Cambridge home Wednesday of…

Local

Bratton defends 'broken windows' work as NYPD support…

Sixty percent of those polled said they support the "broken windows" theory approach popularized by Commissioner Bratton since his first term in the 1990s.

Local

Transit changes for Labor Day weekend

The MTA is adding additional service Friday for New Yorkers getting out of the city for the long weekend. On Friday, Aug. 29, 27 additional…

Television

'Full House' might be relaunched with some of…

A new "Full House" might be in the works.

Movies

Review: 'The Congress' is a crazy, unwieldy sci-fi…

Robin Wright is the center of gravity in "The Congress," which turns from a live-action Hollywood satire into an animated spectacular on a downer future.

Movies

Review: 'The Last of Robin Hood' is a…

Dakota Fanning plays Errol Flynn's (Kevin Kline) teenage gal pal in "The Last of Robin Hood," which takes a scandal and makes it dully empathetic.

Movies

Review: The uneven 'Life of Crime' mostly gets…

Elmore Leonard's "The Switch" becomes the new indie crime dramedy "Life of Crime," with Jennifer Aniston as a kidnapped woman whose husband won't pay up.

Sports

Serena Williams leaving legacy of talented American women…

It seems only a matter of when, not if, Serena Williams will win her 18th career grand slam championship.

College

When are 2014 college football playoffs? (Schedule, date,…

When and where are 2014 college football playoffs? A look at the schedule, date, TV, time for the semi-finals at championship game.

NFL

Dimitri Patterson suspended only for rest of preseason…

Dimitri Patterson ended up getting just a slap on the wrist.

Sports

Eugenie Bouchard excited for 'rowdy' fans at US…

Eugenie Bouchard is sure to endear herself to New York's tennis faithful as she tries to win her first grand slam title across the next two weeks.

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…

Sex

The 10 types of people you meet online

Does it ever seem like online dating profiles tend to get a little repetitive? It turns out you are not the only one to have…

Home

Labor Day essentials

Whether you’re soaking up the sun on the beach or barbecuing in the park here are some must-haves for your end-of-summer bash.

Education

Does the school day start too early?

As thousands of high schoolers get ready to head back to class, health experts say it may be time to push back the start of…