You can’t fault the Patriots defense.

It has held every offense in check kept point totals down bottled up big-name receivers and generally made life difficult for every quarterback through the first five weeks.

But if you want to nitpick the defense still hasn’t completely solved its issues in the middle of the field. Tight ends have continued to do damage particularly the past two games.

Now comes the premier tight end in the league.

Jimmy Graham is the man. He’s considered the best especially with Rob Gronkowski inactive this season. He’s emerged as not only Drew Brees’ top gun but one of the game’s most feared offensive weapons.

Much like Gronk when he’s healthy Graham is a matchup nightmare given his size strength and speed. And he’s sure to play a major role in the game plan when the unbeaten New Orleans Saints come to Gillette Stadium on Sunday.

The Pats couldn’t contain Atlanta’s Tony Gonzalez (12 catches 149 yards two TDs) or Cincinnati’s duo of Jermaine Gresham and Tyler Eifert (nine catches 77 yards combined). Now they must deal with the 6-foot-7 265-pound Graham who already has 593 yards and six touchdowns.

‘‘Everybody has tried everything. (They’ve) tried to jam him at the line at times he’s had linebackers on him safeties on him double cover him’’ coach Bill Belichick said yesterday. “Each team’s kind of got some of their own matchups but he’s seen a lot of different coverages — man zone in and out short and deep jam at the line of scrimmage. He’s seen all of it.’’

And he’s still broken free and burned defenses.

While Graham does line up next to the tackle on occasion he spends more time out wide. With his length reach speed and athleticism he’s tough for any defender.

He led the Saints in receptions in 2011 and 2012 and literally is a big play waiting to happen. Graham who will make $1.32 million this season in the final year of his rookie deal already has 28 career catches of 25 yards or more.

“He has excellent ball skills especially down the field. He can go up and rebound the ball away from pretty much anybody’’ Belichick said. ‘‘They throw him a lot of jump ball-type plays. He’s quick he’s a big target he’s a hard guy to cover no question.’’

Given Graham lines up as a receiver half the time the Pats might consider putting Aqib Talib their best cover defender on him. But the defense still has to worry about receiver Marques Colston who might not be in the same class as A.J. Green or Julio Jones but still can hurt you.

Talib who has done a great job marking opponents’ top receivers every week wouldn’t let on yesterday if Graham will be his assignment.

‘‘Whatever the game plan is I want to do whatever Bill and (defensive coordinator Matt Patricia) draw up’’ Talib said. ‘‘That’s what I want to do.’’