Where the Patriots show cracks
Texans' pass rush, dinged-up New England secondary present challenges
The narrative that the New England Patriots are an imbalanced team with a strong offense making up for a porous defense is one that can be pretty easily dismissed; after all, the Patriots were one of five teams to finish the 2012 season within the top 10 of both scoring offense (first) and scoring defense (ninth).
But although the Patriots are solid on both sides of the football, they are not a team without limitations. They were pushed to the limit this season by the Jacksonville Jaguars, Buffalo Bills and New York Jets, and they were defeated by the Arizona Cardinals back in Week 2.
At their best, the Patriots might be the top team in football, and they'll have a chance to showcase that starting this Sunday against the Houston Texans. But their weaknesses are not to be overlooked, and no doubt Houston will try to exploit several of them when the teams clash.
To see where the Pats may be a little too weak, plus get all of Insider's NFL content, sign up to be an ESPN Insider.