Here Are the 16-Game Pace Stats for the Patriots' Top Defensive Performers

Mike Constantino

The New England Patriots defense has played a major role in the team's hot start and have heavily contributed to New England's point differential, which currently stands at +172, best in the NFL. As a whole, the Patriots defensive unit has been spectacular thus far; however, in large part due to these following players, opposing offenses know they're in for a tough matchup vs. the navy blue, white and silver.

Let's take a look at how the team's top defensive performers are projected to finish the season stat-wise. 

1) Jamie Collins Sr. 

  • 84 tackles 
  • 11 sacks 
  • 4 interceptions 
  • 3 forced fumbles 

Through the first half of the season, Collins Sr. has been one of the best defensive players in the entire league. He currently leads the Patriots in tackles and sacks, and is tied for second in interceptions. With the ability to rush the passer, drop back into coverage and have the ability to tackle from sideline-to-sideline, Collins Sr. has proven to be the engine of the Patriots defense. As he goes, the team goes.

2) Dont'a Hightower

  • 76 tackles 
  • 5 sacks 
  • 1 interceptions 
  • 2 forced fumbles 

Hightower has been a staple of New England's defense since he was drafted out of Alabama in the 2012 NFL Draft. He has proven to be a player that delivers in the biggest moments, which is perfectly fine when you are surrounded by such great defensive talent. Similar to Collins Sr, Hightower can do it all from the linebacker position, and by the end of the regular season, his stats will round out to prove he had quite a year. 

3) Devin McCourty 

  • 50 tackles 
  • 8 interceptions 
  • 12 pass deflections 

McCourty currently leads the Patriots in interceptions, with five. The secondary has given opposing quarterbacks nightmares so far this season (figuratively and literally, i.e, Sam Darnold). New England will be facing better quarterbacks for the remainder of the season, but that won't suddenly stop McCourty and his fellow defensive backs from taking the ball away. 

4) Stephon Gilmore 

  • 48 tackles 
  • 6 interceptions 
  • 18 pass deflections 

Gilmore, the quiet assassin, has been a monster through the first nine games. He is often matched up vs. the opposing teams best wide receivers, and more times than not, Gilmore makes it a long night for them. The intriguing statistic with Gilmore is his pass deflections, as he is always in the right spot. If he can't intercept it, he at least gets his hands on it. Gilmore is going to have a huge second half of the regular season.

5) Kyle Van Noy 

  • 52 tackles 
  • 9 sacks 
  • 1 interceptions 
  • 5 forced fumbles

When you not only have players such as Collins Sr. and Hightower on your team, but in your direct position group, one would be inclined to think that someone would get the short end of the stick when it comes to accumulating statistics. Van Noy, however, does not take that short end. He is just as good as the others. As another player who seems to come up big in the biggest moments, Van Noy plays an intricate role in New England's defense. As the stage gets bigger this season, as will Van Noy. 

6) Jason McCourty 

  • 70 tackles 
  • 2 interceptions 
  • 11 pass deflections 

The identical twin brother of Devin, Jason has delivered some crucial plays so far this season. Devin McCourty and Gilmore have taken most of the interceptions thus far, but Jason McCourty has proven to be a tremendous tackler, especially in the open field. Most defenses have a weaker side of their secondary, an area that an opposing quarterback will often try to exploit. With the Patriots, there really isn't a weaker side and most weeks it's pick your poison. 

Comments (3)
No. 1-2
Max McAuliffe
Max McAuliffe

Devin McCourty has really gone quiet. The interception streak he was on feels like ages ago.

Sarah Weisberg
Sarah Weisberg

The boogeymen are the very definition of do your job

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