Patriots

This stat shows just how dominant Stephon Gilmore was in 2018

This stat shows just how dominant Stephon Gilmore was in 2018

Stephon Gilmore was sensational for the Patriots in 2018.

The 28-year-old cornerback's performance on the field spoke for itself throughout the Pats' championship campaign, but a look at the numbers provides some context for just how dominant he was.

According to Pro Football Focus, Gilmore only allowed 44 percent of the balls thrown his way to be caught by opposing receivers. That's the lowest percentage of any cornerback in the league with 400 or more coverage snaps.

That amazing stat likely factored into Gilmore earning an "elite" grade from PFF back in February.

Gilmore's outstanding season ended on a perfect note with a game-sealing interception in Super Bowl LIII vs. the Rams. It'll be tough to top that, but he'll look to at least duplicate his success as New England's star DB again in 2019.

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Watch out, 2000 Ravens? Patriots defense still on pace to make history

Watch out, 2000 Ravens? Patriots defense still on pace to make history

Tom Brady admitted Monday morning that the New England Patriots' strengths are their defense and special teams.

He's not wrong -- especially about that defense.

The Patriots allowed just 10 points to the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, holding Carson Wentz and Co. scoreless in the second half to escape with a 17-10 win.

That's the sixth time in 10 games New England has allowed 10 points or fewer, dropping its points allowed per game to 10.8, easily the lowest in the NFL. (The San Francisco 49ers are second at 15.5 points allowed per game.)

The Patriots' defensive effort Sunday also means they're very much in the running to have one of the best defenses in NFL history, even after giving up 37 points to the Baltimore Ravens in Week 9.

Courtesy of Boston Sports Info on Twitter, check out how New England's defense sticks up with the 1985 Chicago Bears and 2000 Ravens -- widely considered the two best defenses of all time -- through 10 games.

The Patriots have allowed just three fewer points through 10 games than the Ravens, whose 165 points allowed during the 2000 season are the current NFL record.

And the 2019 Patriots -- led by All-Pro cornerback Stephon Gilmore and the "Boogeyman" linebacker corps of Dont'a Hightower, Kyle Van Noy and Jamie Collins -- lead both the '85 Bears and '00 Ravens in point differential, opponent passer rating and touchdown passes allowed.

New England has feasted on some subpar competition, and keeping this historic pace won't be easy: Their next three opponents -- the Dallas Cowboys, Houston Texans and Kansas City Chiefs -- all rank in the top 10 in points per game.

But the Patriots haven't had it much easier than either the '85 Bears or the '00 Ravens. Per Boston Sports Info, here's the combined winning percentage for each of these teams' first 10 opponents:

2000 Ravens: .440
1985 Bears: .420
2019 Patriots: .400

That data suggests the Patriots very much have a chance to make history if their defense keeps playing at this level. But here's the stat Bill Belichick and Co. probably care most about: The '85 Bears and '00 Ravens both won the Super Bowl.

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Patriots-Eagles Preview/Review: Defense and special teams carry the day

Patriots-Eagles Preview/Review: Defense and special teams carry the day

If you hadn't watched the game, Tom Brady's postgame demeanor might have been a sign that the Patriots lost to the Eagles on Sunday.

But Brady's dour mood notwithstanding, the Pats improved to 9-1 on the season with a 17-10 win, helped largely by strong performances from their defense and special teams.

While the Patriots offense struggled, the defense was back to its dominant ways, with the exception of a 95-yard TD drive from the Eagles.

So what went right and what didn't go as planned?

Click here for Tom E. Curran's Preview/Review from the Patriots' Week 11 victory.>>>>>

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