New England Patriots: Four Takeaways From 16-9 Win Over Oakland Raiders

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2. Defense steps up

I am not going to say the Patriots’ offense is going to suck all year, but for now, the obvious strength of this team is the defense. On a day where they didn’t even put forth their best effort against the Raiders, the Pats still only gave up 243 yards of offense, and nine points. And more importantly, when it was time for them to step up and win the game, they did just that, in the form of a Vince Wilfork interception.

When everything is gelling in the front seven, it is pretty special to watch. Wilfork dominated the middle all game long, Chandler Jones continued his hot play, and Dont’a Hightower and Jerod Mayo combined for 18 total tackles. The secondary was good as well, but let’s remember, they are still awaiting Brandon Browner‘s return from suspension, as well as Alfonzo Dennard‘s return from a shoulder injury. Logan Ryan and Darrelle Revis both struggled against Derek Carr, but they will bounce back next week against the Chiefs.

The bottom line is the Pats have a defense once again. It has been awhile since that unit was a strength of the team, but it is nice to have the luxury of leaning on someone other than Tom Brady to secure a victory.