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After a slow start, Patriots now rank 16th on defense

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They’re average again!!

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at New England Patriots Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Patriots allowed the most points in the NFL through the first three weeks of the season and ranked second-worst for weeks four and five, ahead of only the hapless Indianapolis Colts. They were panned as the worst defense on a contender and named the most likely reason for why the Patriots would not be able to win a Super Bowl.

It’s funny how quickly things change.

Those criticisms were all fair at the time, and it’s impressive how much the defense turned around after the first four weeks of the season. The Patriots moved from 31st in points allowed in week 5, to 30th in week 6, 23rd in week 7, 18th in week 8, and they’re currently ranked 16th in week 9.

There’s potential for the Green Bay Packers (18th) or the Detroit Lions (23rd) to pass the Patriots after Monday Night Football, but the fact remains how much the Patriots defense has improved from a production standpoint.

After ranking 31st or 32nd in points allowed, passer rating allowed, yards allowed per rush, yards allowed per game, and most other defensive stats over the first four weeks, the Patriots rank 3rd in points allowed per game since week 5, behind only the Jacksonville Jaguars and Los Angeles Rams and they rank 14th in passer rating allowed. They’re still a below-average 22nd in yards allowed per game and 31st in yards allowed per rush.

While they’re not perfect by any means, the Patriots defense is finally average and that should be enough to make the Patriots competitive enough in any Super Bowl match-up.