Originally posted on NESN.com  |  Last updated 11/12/12
The Patriots have been to both extremes of the high-low spectrum during the first nine-plus games of this season. Tom Brady and the offense are once again the most dominant and potent attacks in the NFL, putting up outrageous numbers and consistently instilling fear in opposing defenses. But where the offense has excelled, the defense has struggled. Vince Wilfork and Brandon Spikes have spearheaded one of the league’s most stingy run defenses, allowing just over 96 yards per game. But just like 2011, the Patriots’ NFL-worst pass defense has continued to be their Achilles heel. The decision to move Devin McCourty to safety has already begun to pay off, and the addition of cornerback Aqib Talib at the trade deadline should offer at least a slight boost. While Talib looks to provide some relief, injuries continue to hamper the Patriots on both sides of the ball. With Patrick Chung still out of his normal starting safety spot, Aaron Hernandez struggling with a lingering ankle problem and the offensive line ravaged almost weekly, the Patriots could use some magical healing powers. But they’ll likely just have to remain patient and resort to good old rest and rehab. There are still so many questions surrounding this Patriots team ahead of what they hope to be another long playoff run. So, let’s take a look at some of the most pressing issues, questions and concerns heading into the home stretch of this 2012 season. Click here to see the Top 10 story lines for the second half of the Patriots season >>

This article first appeared on NESN.com and was syndicated with permission.

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