Patriots defense ready to challenge Atlanta

Patriots defense ready to challenge Atlanta
September 27, 2013, 1:00 am
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Vince Wilfork got some company on injured reserve when the Patriots placed Jerod Mayo on IR this week.

(USA Today Sports Images)

After three games in which they have allowed only a combined 34 points, many are wondering if the Patriots defense is for real.

The answer will come soon enough, as the Patriots will take on the Atlanta Falcons’ high-powered offense on Sunday night.

Gary Tanguay, Michael Felger and Greg Bedard got together on Sports Tonight to discuss if the Patriots’ defense is ready for their first real challenge of the season.

“I think [Atlanta] has a lot of weapons, but the Falcons are very challenged up front,” Bedard said. “They are just not blocking very well at all for Matt Ryan. If the Patriots can get to Matt Ryan, they can hold down the big plays.”

Even though the Patriots will have to be concerned with Atlanta’s big-play wide receivers, they will also have to stop the Falcons running game.

“[Jason] Snelling is very physical, he is a very good underrated back,” Bedard said. “I’m really going to be watching Vince Wilfork very closely in this game because I’ve been underwhelmed with his play so far this year. I don’t worry about him in the pass rush, he doesn’t do that. But he has been getting pushed around more than usual. I think he is hurt. If the Falcons can run the ball in this game, it means there is a problem with Vince.”