Hot Button: Which side is more critical?

November, 18, 2011
11/18/11
7:00
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The New England Patriots need their offense and defense to step up the rest of the way, but which is more critical to their Super Bowl hopes? ESPN Boston's Mike Reiss and Chris Forsberg offer their insight in to which area of the team is more critical to the team's overall success in this week's Hot Button. Check out a snippet of their argument, then cast your vote:

REISS: IF PASS DEFENSE DOESN'T IMPROVE, PATS GOING NOWHERE
The biggest downer this season has been how the Patriots have fared against top aerial attacks. In three losses this season, the pass defense has been a primary reason for the final result. The Bills spread the Patriots out and gashed them. The Steelers had success doing the same, dominating time of possession with a ball-control passing attack. And the Giants, when the game was on the line, moved the ball through the air with ease.
 
FORSBERG: IF OFFENSE IS OFF, PATS ARE IN BIG TROUBLE
The real problem has been turnovers, particularly Tom Brady's 10 interceptions this season (six more than all of last season and just four short of a career-high). Eight of those came over three games against the Bills, Cowboys and Giants. The Patriots lost two of those games and needed a feverish two-minute drill to top Dallas on their home turf. During a 14-2 regular-season last year, the Patriots were a whopping plus-28 in turnover differential. This season? New England is a mere plus-3, only jumping back into the positive with a three-turnover effort against the Jets.

Hop HERE to read the full Hot Button and cast your vote.

Your turn: What unit is most critical to the Patriots' success? What area needs the most tweaking over the final seven weeks? Sound off in the comments.

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