Another solid performance for the New England Patriots‘ defense in Week 3 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers helped carry the Pats to victory and a 3-0 record. The defense came out a little slow and allowed Tampa Bay to move the ball too easily in the first quarter but only allowed them to score three points, which would end up being the only points the Bucs would score. As the game went on, the defense tightened up on the receivers outside and was able to get pressure on Josh Freeman which would lead to poor decisions with the ball and key turnovers. Through three weeks, the Patriots have only given up 27 points on defense, which is one of the best in the NFL.
Chandler Jones had another solid performance rushing from his edge position. He would finish with three tackles and one sack. This might not be the greatest stat line for Jones, but he was in the backfield all day and was influencing Freeman who was hurried many times throughout the game. Jones, who is in his second year, is proving that he can be a top pass rusher in the NFL and a player teams need to game plan for every week. Jones looks to be in line for a huge season and could finish with more than 15 sacks which would be huge for a very good front seven in New England.
Jones is just one part of this young Patriots’ defense who looks like they are going to be the real deal this year. Through three weeks they have not played the elite of the NFL, but with the teams they have faced, they have had little trouble stopping them. The real test will be next week when the Patriots will face a high powered offense in the Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons just lost to the Miami Dolphins, but that was not in Atlanta. The Falcons do have some key offensive injuries in Steven Jackson and Roddy White, but they are still a very good offense and have weapons all over the field. This will be a real test for the Patriots’ defense who will have to try to contain Matt Ryan and Julio Jones. This will be no easy feat and something most NFL teams have trouble doing.
For a team who has struggled defensively for the last five years, the Patriots’ defense looks like they can win some games if the offense struggles. This is something that hasn’t happened since the Patriots’ glory days in the early 2000s. If the Pats’ defense can get back to that form and Tom Brady and this offense can get rolling, the Patriots could bounce back from an offseason many want to forget. The opponents are going to get harder, but with more time and some key players coming back on offense, this team is only going to get better. The Denver Broncos might have the crown for the best in the AFC, but the Patriots could be another team knocking at the door very soon.