NFL Power Rankings: Top 5 Defenses
Who Are The Top 5 Defenses In The NFL
There is a popular saying about the NFL and it goes a little something like this, on any given Sunday. To put it simply, any team can beat any team whenever they play. Anything can happen; a player can have an off day and cause his team to lose. However, rarely does an entire side of the ball take a Sunday off.
They also say defense wins championships. Whether you believe in that saying or not is your prerogative but if you are a believer in defense, these rankings are for you. Here I’ll break down the top five defenses in the league right now. It’s no coincidence that the teams on this list all have winning records. In fact, the combined record of these teams is 20-5 and each team is either in first place or just a game back in their division. Simply put, right now defenses are winning games.
Last year that didn’t seem to be the case; quarterbacks were throwing for an astronomical amount of yards and receivers were enjoying big seasons. This year we have seen the return of the defenses. Scoring is down across the league and teams appear to be forcing more turnovers, which is also something the teams at the top of my defensive rankings have in common, they take the ball away.
So here are my rankings of the top five defenses in the NFL right now, most of the teams on this list will be easy to guess but there are also a few surprises. So come check out the top defenses in the NFL.
Minnesota Vikings Are Number 5
The Minnesota Vikings come in at number 5. The Vikings have been surprisingly good on defense this year. They are in the top 10 of almost every defensive category including sacks, where they are tied for ninth with 14. Surprisingly, it’s not all just Jared Allen either; he’s only got three sacks on the year. They are also in the top seven in yards allowed and tied for fifth in the league in interceptions with five.
Perhaps the most impressive stat is they allow less than 16 points per game. The Vikings win by controlling the clock with Adrian Peterson running the ball and playing solid defense. It’s a winning formula and Minnesota is a surprising 4-1 because their defense.
Seattle Seahawks Come In At 4
Right now the Seattle Seahawks are the 4th best defense in the NFL for two big reasons; they sack the quarterback and they allow the fewest yards per game. They are fifth in the league in sacks with sixteen and everyone knows if you can’t get after the quarterback in the NFL you’re in trouble. One of the reasons the Seahawks sack the QB so well is because they have a big, physical secondary that throw wide receivers off route and disrupt the play.
Seattle has an underrated group on the defensive line, led by Brandon Mebane and Red Bryant, who help control the opponents run game. They are third in the NFL in run defense allowing less than 67 yards per game. The Seahawks have a complete defense who doesn’t allow you to throw or run on them, that’s a pretty good defense.
Houton Texans Are Number 3
In the number 3 defense in the NFL is the Houston Texans. Is this surprising considering they lost two of their top playmakers on defense in the off-season? Not at all, but losing Brian Cushing will be a blow they will have to deal with. It helps they have the NFL leader in sacks in J.J. Watt and he’s been dominant all year long. When he’s not sacking the quarterback he’s knocking down passes. The Texans are tied for sixth in sacks, tied for fifth in interceptions and third in yards given up per game. It’s safe to say Wade Phillips’ reputation as “Mr. Fix-It” on defense is well deserved.
The Niners Are 2nd On The List
There isn’t much separation between the number 2 defense and the number 1 defense in the league but the San Francisco 49ers come in at number 2. Even though the Niners sacks and turnovers are down from last year, they also have the best scoring defense in the league. It’s tough to beat them when you can’t score. San Fran is also second in the league in yards allowed. Navarro Bowman and Patrick Willis are two of the fastest and most physical linebackers in the NFL and they control the middle of the field.
The Chicago Bears Have The Top Defense In The NFL
Coming in as the top defense in the league right now is the Chicago Bears. They lead the NFL in sacks with 18, turnovers with 13 and have returned five for touchdowns. That is pretty impressive when you consider the season is less than a third of the way through. They rank sixth in yards given up per game and play a physical brand of football. Perhaps the best part about their defense is that no level is better than the other, each player on the defense does their part. The front seven is good, not great, and their secondary is the same. However, they play a smart, cohesive brand of defense where everyone does their job and they play it to perfection. The Chicago Bears have the best defense in football.