A look at the Patriots run defense - Part II

The usually stout Patriots' run defense hasn't been very good recently.

A part of the problem could be the absence of talented nose tackle Vince Wilfork, who has been sidelined with a bad ankle injury.

In each of their last four regular-season games, the Patriots struggled against the run. Look at these numbers — Tennessee's Travis Henry (102 yards), Houston's Ron Dayne (94 yards), Jacksonville's Maurice Drew (131 yards) and Miami's Sammy Morris (123 yards).

That is not what you expect from the Patriots, and this could bode well for Jets runners Leon Washington and Cedric Houston.

Kevan Barlow, who actually had his best game in New England (75 yards), has knee and calf issues, and will likely be inactive.

If Wilfork doesn't play, this will really help the Jets' cause. There is a dropoff to his backup Mike Wright. It will also help the Jets if the Patriots' hard-hitting strong safety Rodney Harrison (shoulder) can't play in this game.

Losing free safety Eugene Wilson to a season-ending groin injury also has hurt the Patriots' run defense.

As per usual, inside linebacker Ted Bruschi leads the Pats in tackles. Another force against the run is Richard Seymour — who has been to five Pro Bowls in six years.


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