A 14-2 record alone would tell you the Patriots had a pretty good regular season. But of course, that's only part of the story.
According to Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston, the Pats finished in the top 10 of every major NFL stat category. How's that for consistency?
The list is as follows:
Turnover differential: third Plus-12 (23 takeaways, 11 giveaways)
Red-zone offense: eighth (38 touchdowns scored on 60 opportunities)
Red-zone defense: tied for eighth (23 touchdowns allowed on 44 opportunities)
Points scored: third (27.5)
Points allowed: first (15.625)
Third-down offense: fourth (104 conversions made on 227 attempts, good for 45.8 percent)
Third-down defense: seventh (76 conversions allowed on 206 attempts, good for 36.9 percent)
Honestly, I thought their third-down defense was worse than that. There were games were I thought they just couldn't get off the field on third down to save their lives, but I digress.
The most telling stat to me aside from the third-down defense is points allowed. Even though the points allowed stat has been thrown around a number of times in the last few weeks, it's still a little weird to think about considering how everyone freaked out when Chandler Jones and Jamie Collins were traded. There were also games where the defense couldn't stop anyone.
But it appears they've peaked at the right time and are getting contributions from everyone, as Bill Belichick-coached defenses tend to do. Some of this may have to do with some of the inept offenses they've played (the Jets twice, Rams, 49ers, etc.), but it's still very impressive nonetheless.
There were some questions about how the offense was going to perform without Tom Brady for the first four games of the year, but they really didn't miss much of a beat besides Week 4 against Buffalo. Questions arose again after Rob Gronkowski went down for the season with a back injury, but they've been able to withstand his loss to this point.
In the end, everyone knew the offense would put up big numbers. It's the defense that has really impressed over the last month or so. The Patriots are firing on all cylinders, which is what you want to see happening heading into the playoffs.
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