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Patriots travel most by 'sub' way

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- One of the areas that will be charted throughout the season is the New England Patriots' defensive breakdown between their sub and base packages. This can highlight player value and take us deeper into the X's and O's of each game.

It was almost an even split last Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals -- 31 snaps in base, 34 snaps in sub, and the first four snaps of the season in the short-yardage package.

Overall, here are the numbers for the season (includes penalties):

Sub defense: 243 of 354 snaps

Base defense: 107 of 354 snaps

Short-yardage: 4 of 354

The overall numbers reflect how the Patriots' fifth defensive back (most recently Kyle Arrington) is considered more of a "starter" than the team's third linebacker (usually Brandon Spikes).

Looking ahead, the projection today is that the Patriots spend a majority of their snaps in their sub defense against a diverse Saints offense in which dangerous Jimmy Graham is viewed as more of a receiver than a pure tight end.