1. The New England Patriots are prone to big plays
This New England defense is not the same elite New England defense that we have seen in years past. The team lost some impact players, such as Kyle Van Noy, in free agency while also suffering the most COVID opt-outs in the league.
However, Belichick has still done his magic and has created an above-average defense. The Patriots rank 12th in the league in total points allowed and 16th in the league in total yards allowed. Not elite, but serviceable.
There are some holes on this defense that can be exposed though and one of the biggest holes is the tendency to allow big plays. We saw Joe Flacco of all people slicing and dicing this defense a few weeks ago on Monday Night Football and the numbers are not favorable for the Patriots.
According to Sharp Football Statistics, the Patriots have the second-highest explosive pass rate on defense. An explosive pass is one that gains at least 15 yards and the Patriots allow these explosive plays 11% of the time.
Only the Atlanta Falcons are worse. Now, this is concerning for the Pats as they are coming up against a QB in Justin Herbert that has a rocket arm and has set the bar for deep completions in the NFL this season.