The Patriots don’t need to be an offensive juggernaut in the upcoming NFL season in order to return to the playoffs.
New England made some necessary upgrades to its offense over the offseason, but its defensive adjustments were equally important. Bill Belichick and Co. honed in on the front seven, and the unit as a whole now is poised to be one of the best in football in 2021.
And if the Patriots live up to that expectation, ESPN believes New England will reclaim the division crown.
“The Patriots will win the AFC East if the defense — which has been stocked with a decisive upgrade in talent — finishes among the NFL’s top five in points allowed,” Mike Reiss wrote. “For all the focus that was on the team’s QB competition, the defense has the potential to be the backbone of the team — assuming a lack of depth in the secondary doesn’t come back to haunt it.”
The 2021 Patriots’ first defensive test will come Sunday when New England hosts the rival Miami Dolphins for a Week 1 tilt.
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