FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The Patriots' defense, in particular its much-maligned secondary, might not have the support of many of its fans right now.
But it found a supporter in an unexpected place: the head-coaching office of the New York Jets.
"I think their defense doesn’t necessarily get the credit that they deserve," Jets coach Rex Ryan said on a conference call with Patriots reporters on Wednesday.
Ryan, perhaps following the Patriots' script of praising the opposition at every turn, explained his thinking.
"New England, every year they get criticized for their pass defense, what they rank and all that. But it’s not about that," he said. "The Patriots play complementary football, where obviously you have the No. 1 offense in all of football – scoring offense, total offense, everything-else offense -- so what you do is you try to win the turnover battle and when they do, this team’s record when they win the turnover battle is phenomenal. That’s something that they do and I think it kind of gets overlooked.
"The offense, deservedly so, gets a ton of credit. But since 2008 for instance, when New England wins the turnover battle, they’re 39-4 and that to me, is a team thing. And when they lose it, they’re 8-10, so I think the defense plays a part in that obviously."
The Patriots are tied for first in the NFL in turnover differential at plus 10, with 16 takeaways and 6 giveaways.