The New England Patriots are looking like one of the best teams in the NFL right now. Bill Belichick‘s squad has won five straight after a dominant performance over the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday Night Football. Defensive end Matt Judon is in his first season with the Patriots, and his attitude represents why the defense is clicking at the right time.
The Pro Bowler shared the secret to the imposing defense’s success in 2021.
Matt Judon has been a breath of fresh air for the Patriots
Matt Judon got a huge payday when he signed with the New England Patriots before the 2021 NFL season. The Patriots inked the two-time Pro Bowler to a four-year contract worth $56 million with $32 million guaranteed.
Judon spent the first five seasons of his career with the Baltimore Ravens, and he began to establish himself as a legitimate pass rusher. The Grand Valley State product recorded 34.5 sacks during his tenure in Baltimore.
The 6-foot-3, 275-pound defensive end has taken his game to another level in New England’s defense. Judon has already racked up 10.5 sacks through the first 11 games. He’s already reached his career-high with six games to play.
Judon’s sack numbers don’t tell the entire story, either. He’s causing havoc everywhere. The defensive end has notched 35 pressures, 22 quarterback hits, and 11 tackles for loss.
The Patriots had a disappointing 7-9 season in 2020, but this version looks like a different football team. Judon brings a confident swagger and energy, and it’s galvanized the defense.
New England boasts arguably the best defense in football right now.
The former Ravens Pro Bowler shares the secret to success
The New England Patriots are currently ranked No. 2 in the NFL in team defense. The unit is allowing just over 16 points and 313 yards per game to opposing offenses.
The defense is an opportunistic bunch, forcing 20 turnovers so far in 2021. New England is coming off a shutout performance against the Falcons. Ending an NFL game with a goose egg is a tough feat, no matter the team.
Matt Judon and company have provided a significant boost to the Patriots, who now look like legitimate Super Bowl contenders.
Judon recently revealed why this defense has been so good.
“We kinda wanna be a-holes on the field, but good guys off the field,” he told the Boston Herald. “Make sure we don’t get penalized. We play within the rules, but we’re a nasty group. So that’s how we like to play, and that’s how we gotta play in order for our team to win.”
Having that mean streak makes New England a team that no one wants to play.
New England will be a dangerous team down the stretch
Before the 2021 season began, it was unclear what to expect from the New England Patriots. However, Bill Belichick’s group is hitting its stride at the perfect time.
The Patriots are sitting at 7-4, good for second place in the AFC East behind the Buffalo Bills. They hold the fourth-best record in the AFC, but they are starting to separate themselves from the pack.
Former defensive coordinator Matt Patricia is back, and his return has helped the Patriots’ defense exceed expectations. The unit is a solid all-around group, led by guys like Matt Judon, Kyle Van Noy, and J.C. Jackson.
New England already has a defense that can win a Super Bowl. The rest will depend on Mac Jones’ continuing development at quarterback.
Jones has been the best rookie quarterback by far in 2021. But will it be enough to get this team over the hump?
There’s a lot of football left in the 2021 season, but the Patriots run the ball well and play outstanding defense. That’s a recipe for success.
New England is one of the most dangerous teams in all of football.
All statistics courtesy of Pro Football Reference.