Charting base vs. sub defense

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Dallas tight end Martellus Bennett offers flexibility for the Cowboys' offense.FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- One of the things we've learned about the Patriots' defense over the last two weeks is that in base personnel, they can meet the physical match. The Raiders and Jets tried to overpower them with either two backs or two tight ends but the base defense held its ground.

Through the first three weeks of the season, the Patriots had only been in the base defense 18 percent of the time. Over the last two weeks, it was 57 percent.

The projection this week is a return to more sub packages, in part because of the flexibility the Cowboys have at tight end with Jason Witten (6-6, 265), Martellus Bennett (6-6, 270) and John Phillips (6-5, 261).

All three tight ends have the ability to play on the line or flex, so similar to the Patriots' offense, this puts stress on a defense. If the Patriots go base against two-TE personnel, they could be spread and exploited in the passing game. This will be an interesting part of the matchup to monitor on Sunday.

A look at the season breakdown between base and sub defense:


Base -- 33 of 54

Sub -- 21 of 54

Short-yardage -- 0 of 54


Base -- 38 of70*

Sub -- 30 of 70

Short-yardage -- 2 of 70

* includes one play with 10 men on the field


Sub -- 58 of 66

Base -- 2 of 66

Short-yardage -- 6 of 66


Sub -- 49 of 71

Base -- 22 of 71

Short-yardage -- 1 of 71


Sub -- 59 of 76

Base -- 15 of 76

Short yardage -- 2 of 76