Vote: Aside From Vince Wilfork, Which Defensive Player Can the Patriots Least Afford to Lose?


Chandler Jones NST PollAhead of his team’s Week 1 matchup with the Patriots, Bills receiver Stevie Johnson sounded pretty confident when he said that the Pats’ defense had some weaknesses. Johnson claimed the Patriots don’t have anyone who can stop him and that his team could take advantage of New England’s defense.

Whether that’s true or not will be determined on Sunday, but one fact remains: the Patriots have 11 returning starters on defense this season despite the young look of the team, and the Pats’ success will hinge on those experienced players. Barring any injuries, the Patriots will have the ability to show more complex looks because of their experienced defensive corps.

They have one of the best trio of linebackers in the NFL in Jerod Mayo, Brandon Spikes and Dont’a Hightower, and Vince Wilfork has long been the face of the Patriots’ defense. Defensive end Chandler Jones has picked up right where he left off during his impressive rookie season in 2012 before being limited because of injuries. Jones recorded a sack in each of the Patriots’ first two preseason games, and he hasn’t been alone in providing steady pressure all preseason.

The regular season is finally upon us, and the Patriots will have the chance to show everyone what they’re made of on Sunday. It may seem morbid to think in negatives so early, but who on the Patriots’ defense is the most indispensable?

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