At least before the season, that was the common belief. A mediocre defense is fine, just so long as the offense is excellent. The Saints and Colts proved that to be true by making it to the Super Bowl last year. And so, the belief was that the Patriots, with the powers of Tom Brady, Randy Moss and Wes Welker, would score 30-40 points per game and be able to pull off 12 or 13 wins.
The bad news is that the offense has fallen short of expectations. The good news is that it's only Week 3.
Through two games, the Patriots' offense ranks 13th in the NFL in yards per game (335.5), ninth in passing yards per game (248.5) and 24th in rushing yards per game (85.0). Most importantly, though, they rank fifth in points per game with 26.0.
That number, however, is a bit skewed, as one touchdown came on an interception return and another on a kick return. With the offense scoring just 38 points in two games, and with Brady looking a bit un-Bradylike against the Jets, there is some concern with the offense.
Then again, there's more than enough reason for hope on that side of the ball, and there are more question marks on defense.
Coming off the loss in New York, Darius Butler was in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. The second-year corner out of UConn looked bad, worse and even worse when covering Braylon Edwards, as highlighted by the receiver's catches for a touchdown and a two-point conversion as well as a needless pass interference call on Butler. In short, it wasn't Butler's finest hour.
Across the field, rookie Devin McCourty has looked solid thus far. But rookie corners in the NFL get exposed at one point or another over the course of a season, so Patriots fans aren't exactly breathing easy when the ball leaves the opposing quarterback's hand.
The rest of the defense has had some ups and downs, with the aforementioned interception return for a touchdown from Gary Guyton serving as a highlight. The team's four sacks have the Pats in the middle of the pack, but the 382 yards allowed per game has them ranked 26th in the NFL. Plus, they just made Mark Sanchez look like Peyton Manning.
Still, the football season isn't defined in the first two weeks of the season, and with the Buffalo Bills in town, Pats fans shouldn't be short on optimism this weekend. But when looking at the long haul and assessing this team's strengths and weaknesses, what concerns you more — the offense or defense?
Share your thoughts below.