New England enters this week with a 7-3 record, so clearly, the Patriots have had some success, and it's in large part to a few surprise performances on defense.
Bill Belichick brought in Andre Carter as part of a bit of a defensive line overhaul. Albert Haynesworth got much of the publicity, but he's since been cut while Carter remains as one of the team's top defensive players. Carter has really turned it on as of late, too, as the veteran has 4 1/2 of his nine sacks in the last two weeks.
Fellow D-lineman Mark Anderson is right there with Carter in terms of production lately. The former Bear and Texan has come into New England and registered seven sacks, with 2 1/2 of them coming in the last couple of weeks.
Kyle Arrington has also produced as a member of the New England defense. The cornerback leads the league in interceptions after hauling in two picks on Monday night, and as things change around him, Arrington remains in the lineup playing in all of the team's 10 games.
Linebacker Rob Ninkovich continues to step up as well, especially given recent injuries to linebackers Jerod Mayo and most recently Brandon Spikes. The Purdue product has 28 in the last five weeks, and he turned in his best game a couple of weeks ago against the Jets where he picked off two Mark Sanchez passes, one of which Ninkovich took back for a crushing touchdown.