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Patriots seek faster start against another tough D

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Statistically speaking, the Patriots are finding their offensive stride against some of the best defenses in the NFL. That trend — at least the part about the stout defense — continues on Sunday, when the Browns bring the league’s fourth-ranked unit to Gillette Stadium.

In recent weeks, the Patriots have scored 55 points against Pittsburgh, whose defense was ranked No. 4 at the time; 20 points at Carolina (No. 2); and 34 points at Houston (No. 1). They also scored 34 points against Denver, whose defense was ranked 23d at the time of the game.

However, the Patriots have fallen into a pattern of starting slow: 3 first-half points at Carolina, no first-half points against Denver, and 7 first-half points at Houston. They trailed by 7, 24, and 10 at halftime in those three games before coming back and winning two of them.

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