If the Patriots fall short of expectations, which absolutely should be a Super Bowl title, it won't be because of their defense.
Sure, the numbers say something quite different. The New England defense finished the season 31st in yards allowed per play, 31st in rushing yards allowed per play, and 30th in passing yards per game. Even the advanced analytics at FootballOutsiders.com have the Patriots 31st in the league.
But right now, as the Patriots prepare to enter the postseason next week, their defense is better than all of those numbers.