Consistency is key: New England Patriots' defense has shown strong performance over past two months

AP Photo | Winslow Townson

Okay, so the first month of the season was a little rough for the New England Patriots' defense.

But now, what was once the worst defense in the league currently stands in good company - as the defense just recorded its eighth straight game of holding its opponent to 17 points or fewer.

MassLive took a further look into the superior consistency that the Patriots' defense has shown over the past two months. As it turns out, only six other teams since the 2000 season have limited to opponents to 17 or fewer points in eight consecutive games. And that includes the 2001 Patriots defense.

Streak of 17 points or fewer: 8 games (and counting)
PPG during stretch: 11.9

Streak: 9 games
PPG: 12.3

2009 JETS
Streak: 8 games
PPG: 9.4

Streak: 8 games
PPG: 9.9

2005 BEARS
Streak: 8 games
PPG: 8.5

Streak: 8 games
PPG: 10.4

Streak: 9 games
PPG: 13.8

Throughout this current stretch of games, the Patriots' defense has faced two top-10 offenses in scoring and yardage (the Atlanta Falcons and Los Angeles Chargers) and a strong offensive unit in the Oakland Raiders.

Although they were extremely subpar in the beginning of the season, McCourty, Flowers, Butler and company never lost faith in themselves. They knew they had to make a huge turnaround and ended up making themselves a top-10 defensive unit.

This defense seems to be on the right track; and if they keep improving on what they already have, we could see them as one of the top forces in the league.

Follow Megan on Twitter: @carnahanmegan