Patriots' defense is improving

Statistically, the New England Patriots have the worst defense in the NFL. They rank 32nd out of 32 teams after five games.

But New England's defense showed signs of improvement in last week's, 30-21, win over the New York Jets. The Patriots set new season-lows in yards allowed (255) and third-down defense (3 of 11). New England also ended its two-game sackless streak with a pair against Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez.

The Patriots are Super Bowl contenders because their Tom Brady-led offense is No. 1 in the NFL. But anytime Brady struggles, which was the case in Week 3 against the Buffalo Bills, the Patriots can be beat.

That is why it's important for New England's defense to turn things around. The team can't expect Brady to be lights out every game, particularly in the playoffs when it faces elite competition.

It's only one game. But it appears the Patriots' defense is heading in the right direction. New England will host the Dallas Cowboys Sunday at Gillette Stadium.