The Pats' defense has given up an NFL-high 477.5 yards per game and 368.8 passing yards per game. It's also given up 24.5 points per game, which is toward the bottom of the league.
The unit improved a bit in Week 4, holding the Raiders to 19 points — the lowest point total that they've given up so far this season. But there's some that wonder whether the Pats will be able to grind out wins, which is something most playoff teams will have to do at one point or another.
Still, despite a less than impressive start by the team's defense, there's still reasons to be optimistic.
There's a lot of talent on the Pats' defense, which means that the early-season woes could simply be a case of the unit not quite gelling yet.
Also, the defense has showed that it can often provide a "bend but don't break" type of effort. The Pats have created some turnovers when teams have moved the ball into the red zone, and the defensive line has been quite stingy near the goal line.
The Pats have struggled to stop opponents at times, but the defense has still showed that it has big-play capability.
Cornerback Devin McCourty, who is coming off a very impressive rookie season, hasn't played up to his full potential thus far, which can be looked at in one of two ways. It's either concerning or it's reason to believe the defense will only improve once he does get back on track.
The same can be said for injuries that have hampered Albert Haynesworth, Patrick Chung, Leigh Bodden and Ras-I Dowling at points this season. Injuries are always concerning, and Jerod Mayo's knee injury could hurt the defense, but they also show that better days could be on tap once everyone is at 100 percent — or as close to it as possible.