By the Numbers: Patriots' Defense Improving

The New England Patriots’ first three games defensively were a horror show, while the last three games appear to show improvement. While the eye test suggests the defense is improving, I wondered if the numbers supported that claim, so I did some stat-checking. I compared the first three games of the season to the previous three games in five statistical categories: points per game, third down efficiency, total net yards allowed per game, total net passing yards allowed per game, and total net rushing yards allowed per game.

Here’s what I found.

Points Per Game

First 3 games: 26.3

Last 3 games: 18.7

Third Down Efficiency

First 3 games: 16-37, 43%

Last 3 games: 15-36, 42%

Total Net Yards Allowed Per Game

First 3 games: 468.7

Last 3 games: 378.7

Total Net Passing Yards Allowed Per Game

First 3 games: 377

Last 3 games: 267.3

Total Net Rushing Yards Allowed Per Game

First 3 games: 91.7

Last 3 games: 111.3

The numbers clearly show huge defensive improvements. They’ve dropped the points allowed per game by almost 10 and dropped the total net passing yards per game by nearly 100. The net passing yards allowed per game dropped by a little over 100, which was, and still is, the clear weakness of the defense. The amount of rushing yards have bumped up, but that is more of a reflection of the opponents the Pats have played. The Raiders and the Jets, two of the teams the Patriots have played the last two games, emphasized their running games, so that may also help bring down the passing yards allowed.

The most encouraging sign is the point drop and the total net yards drop. If the defense continues to come together and improve, the Patriots could become a much scarier team as the season progresses. We know the Pats have a championship offense, and if you add in a championship defense, we could see the first playoff victories in New England since 2007.

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Tags: New England Patriots NFL Patriots Defense

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