We're about to find out how good this Patriots defense really is

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If you've ever needed any proof that Bill Belichick game plans can still devastate opposing offenses to an almost psychotic degree, look no further than the Patriots' last three games.

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In that span, his defense sandwiched a two-game demolition of Jets quarterback Zach Wilson so complete that his job is no longer guaranteed around a humiliation of the Indianapolis Colts that got Frank Reich fired and Sam Ehlinger unceremoniously returned to the bench.

No team in the league slays bums like the Patriots. If you're playing a terrible quarterback against this squad, you might as well send your will.

Here's the problem: the bad quarterbacks are about to get fewer and further between.

To this point, New England has played six quarterbacks outside of Pro Football Focus' top-10 players at the position: Mitchell Trubisky, Jared Goff, Justin Fields, Ehlinger and Wilson (twice). Their record in those games is 5-1, with the only loss coming to a newly unleashed version of Fields.

When facing quarterbacks with top-10 PFF grades (Tua Tagovailoa, who's No. 1 in football; Lamar Jackson; Aaron Rodgers and Jacoby Brissett), they're 1-3 -- their only win was against Brissett, who is surprisingly the eighth-ranked quarterback in the league by that metric.

From here on out, the worst quarterbacks they're slated to face are Kirk Cousins, Derek Carr (who are 8th and 11th in passing yards, respectively) and Kyler Murray, who is exactly the kind of quarterback the Patriots can't seem to solve.

The rest? Well…you get Tagovailoa, Joe Burrow (No. 6 grade) and Josh Allen (No. 2) twice, and he's formidable even with his throwing elbow probably not fully right.

To an extent, we've seen this movie before. The Patriots feasted on bad teams/quarterbacks in 2021 and looked like the NFL's best defense until the Indianapolis Colts and Buffalo Bills knocked their teeth out after the late bye week and sent the whole operation into a tailspin.

Thankfully, New England got a tune-up game with Wilson before facing a Vikings offense that boasts one of the best running backs (Dalvin Cook) and wide receivers (Justin Jefferson) in football along with a competent quarterback in Cousins. Even as bad as the Raiders and Cardinals have been, they still feature some of the very best pass-catchers in the sport (e.g., DeAndre Hopkins, Davante Adams, Darren Waller).

I don't even need to tell you what the Patriots will be up against when the Dolphins, Bills and Bengals come to town.

Belichick's defense has outplayed expectations so far in 2022, and they're going to have to keep doing it if this team has any designs of making the playoffs. It sure doesn't get any easier from here on out.

We'll find out if this unit is for real or fool's gold here really soon.

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Bonus: Matthew Judon is awesome, plus other Patriots defense grades
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