Bigger defensive personnel needed

Throughout the season, the Patriots’ usage of sub packages has been charted.

In Monday’s loss to the Saints, the defense relied more on sub packages early. An extra defensive back was on the field for 17 of 24 first-half snaps. That was an indication that the Patriots were willing to give up a little bit in the running game to defend the pass.

The numbers ended up evening out in the second half.

Looking ahead, the Patriots are more likely to be in their base alignment the majority of the time Sunday in Miami because of the Dolphins' third-rated rushing attack. In the first meeting between the teams, the Patriots were either in base or short yardage packages 45 out of 72 snaps.

Including some penalties which don’t count as official plays, here is a breakdown of the team’s sub package usage through 11 games (small margin for error):

Sub package: 337 of 656 (51.3 percent)

Base defense: 305 of 656 (46.4 percent)

Short yardage: 14 of 656 (2.1 percent)