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How good is Patriots defense? We'll find out Sunday night vs. Chiefs

Ryan Hannable
October 10, 2018 - 9:17 am

FOXBORO -- After struggling in Weeks 2 and 3, the Patriots defense has seemingly put things together to get back on track.

Overall, the unit is ranked 16th in the league, but ninth in points allowed, allowing an average of 21.6 points per game. There's no question the defense has gotten better as the year has gone on, but just how good is the defense?

Sunday night against the Chiefs will be a huge test, as Kansas City comes in with the No. 2 ranked offense in football, averaging 35 points per game only behind the Saints.

Speaking in the Patriots locker room Tuesday, linebacker Dont'a Hightower said it is fair to call Sunday's game a measuring stick for the defense.

"Absolutely," he said.

In the last two weeks the defense has allowed a total of 31 points, but 24 came in last Thursday's win over the Colts. It's hard to hold much against them for that performance as Thursday games are tough and are more about just doing whatever it takes to come away with a win.

"We're finally realizing what we're capable of whenever we're able to put all things together," Hightower said. "Obviously me personally, I still have a long way to go, and the mentality we have on defense is we want to be better than we were last week and everybody takes that mentality. So we're getting better on certain things, but it's obvious that  we all know we need to get better. So that's our main focus each week is to get better."

Kansas City's offense is loaded, as not only is there Patrick Mahomes at quarterback throwing to players like Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins, but there's also Kareem Hunt in the backfield. This will be the quickest offense the Patriots have faced so far this season, which will certainly test the speed and overall communication of the defense.

Given last week's game was on a Thursday, New England had an extra day to prepare, which it took advantage of Tuesday.

"We had a good day [Tuesday], [we'll] tie things in tomorrow and hopefully continue to have a good week and get ready for game day," Hightower said.

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