New England Patriots: 3 areas of improvement as Week 3 approaches

New England Patriots running back Damien Harris (37) Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
New England Patriots running back Damien Harris (37) Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports /
4 of 4
New England Patriots
Michael Carter of the Jets is tackled by Jonathan Jones of the New England Patriots Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports /

New England Patriots Area of Improvement No. 1: Defending the run

The run defense was a clear weakness of the Patriots last season, and the front office made it a goal of theirs to make sure that wouldn’t be the case this time around. Unfortunately, throughout two games, that just simply hasn’t been the case.

In Week 1, the Jets could only muster a pathetic 45 rushing yards on 17 carries, good for just 2.7 yards per carry. Yet the second they stepped on the field against the Patriots, the Jets running back committee had all the running room in the world. They picked up 152 yards on 31 carries (4.9 yards per carry), and they pretty much moved the ball at will throughout the game.

If the Patriots front seven is struggling to contain the likes of Michael Carter, Ty Johnson, and Tevin Coleman, then that doesn’t bode well for their game against the Saints considering they will be going up against Alvin Kamara. In case you aren’t familiar with him, Kamara has turned himself into one of the most dangerous dual-threat running backs in the game, and if the Patriots run defense struggles, Kamara will be sure to take full advantage of them.

Ultimately the Patriots run defense struggles didn’t really matter against the Jets because of Wilson’s struggles, but they won’t be able to get away with it against the Saints. Kamara is lethal, and if you give him an inch, he’s going to find a way to pick up a yard instead. Belichick is famous for taking away an opposing offense’s best weapon, so he better be able to come up with a good plan for Kamara here.

dark. Next. 3 stars from blowout victory over the Jets

Nobody really knows what expect from Winston and the Saints passing game, but it won’t even matter what he does if the Patriots can’t slow down Kamara. Kamara is coming off one of the worst games of his career, in which he logged eight carries for a meager five yards, so he will surely be looking to have a bounce back game. It’s up to the Patriots front seven to slow down Kamara, and their success or failure will play a big part in determining who comes out on top in Week 3.