By the end of the regular season the Patriots would drop to 26th in total yards (373.1), 18th in passing (239) and 30th for rushing defense (134). Amazingly they would still be in the top ten for points allowed with 21.1 per game.
When it comes to predicting how many yards the Patriots are going to give up, I don't really have a lot of confidence. My lack of confidence is not because of the defense, but due to the fact that we may score pretty quickly on offense giving opponents more possessions. Regardless I'll go out on a limb and say the Patriots will be in the top 15 for overall yards (315).
The other two defensive areas where I expect great things from this year's squad are 3rd downs and penalties. Last season the Patriots allowed their opponents to convert on third down 42% of the time. This season I see that dropping to 30% with most of the success coming on third and short.
Last season the Patriots had 110 defensive penalties which translated into 951 yards for their opponents. While I hope this number drops significantly, one really can't be certain with how the game is going to be called. Personally, I'll be happy if they avoid the dreaded "automatic first down" variety.
A few more random predictions:
- 23 interceptions
- 15 fumble recoveries
- 58 sacks