2. Matt Judon
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Matt Judon has been a virtual non-factor in the Patriots’ last two games, both of which were losses.
During that span, the star edge rusher has managed just eight tackles, two total pressures and, improbably, zero sacks, ending the little hope he had of being involved in the Defensive Player of the Year discussion.
In the Week 13 win on the road in Buffalo alone, Judon accumulated four pressures, a sack, two hurries and a handful of run stops.
The Patriots desperately need the game-wrecker version of Judon to return over the next two weeks and into the playoffs because there isn’t a more influential member of the team’s second-ranked defense.
Unfortunately, Judon landed on the COVID-19 list at the start of the week and will have to jump through hoops in order to get cleared for this Sunday vs Jacksonville, even with the NFL’s updated protocols.
For the season, Judon ranks first on the team in sacks (12.5), pressures (61) and quarterback hits (25). He’s even fifth in tackles, which is pretty impressive for a player who plays the majority of his snaps rushing the QB.
Simply put, Judon is the lifeblood of the Pats’ defense and he would’ve taken the top spot on this list If not for the recent struggles of the next player.