"Coach Belichick used to say 'I don't give a **** about our defense giving up yards."
An ESPN article outlining the "blueprint" and which teams fit, the quote comes from former Pats' lineman Damien Woody:
So far, the Falcons are 7th in scoring defense (ranked 17th last season) and 4th in Turnovers Forced (10th last season). The Red Zone D isn't great -- mostly due to the weak run defense and we'll see if they sustain last week's performance now that Corey Peters is back -- but 4 of the last 6 teams that went all the way were ranked 15th or worse in Opponents' Red Zone (TD) Scoring % that season.
The 2009 Saints were a pedestrian No. 20 in points allowed and No. 25 in yards allowed. But the defense was No. 2 in forcing turnovers, with 39. In fact, eight of the past 10 champions were top-nine finishers in turnover differential. In 2002, Tampa Bay's defense forced 38 turnovers, the league's third-best total.
The 2003 Patriots offense didn't exactly scare anyone -- Brady was still relatively inexperienced -- but the No. 7-ranked defense was first in fewest points allowed (14.9 per game) and second with 41 forced turnovers.
"Coach [Bill] Belichick always used to say, 'I don't give a s--- about our defense giving up yards; all I care about is scoring defense, turnovers and the red zone,'" Woody said. "That's really the key to football. A lot of coaches pound their chest and say, 'I've got the No. 1 defense.' Those numbers don't mean anything."