NFL Arizona CardinalsAtlanta FalconsBaltimore RavensChicago BearsDallas CowboysDenver BroncosGreen Bay PackersHouston TexansMinnesota VikingsNew York GiantsPittsburgh SteelersSan Diego ChargersSan Francisco 49ersSeattle SeahawksSt Louis Rams

The Top 15 Defenses in the NFL through Week 6

1 of 16

Ranking the best 15 defenses in the NFL through six weeks

Mark J. Rebilas- US PRESSWIRE

How do you decide which defense is the best? Is it the one who gives up the least number of points? The least amount of yards? The team that creates the most turnovers? Do the best teams in the league have the best defenses?

These are many questions to think about when coming up with how to rank the 15 best defenses in the NFL through Week 6. There are some defense out there that barely missed the cut and then there are defenses that have only shown glimpses of their true potential. There are defenses that just haven’t gotten it together yet and some who may never play well.

This was a difficult list to come up with, but the key is to look at the big picture. There are teams like the Buffalo Bills that have a lot of talent on defense, but three bad games ruined their stats. Then there are teams like some who make this list who we would have never expected to be in contention this season who have ridden hot defenses to fast starts.

This list will look completely different six weeks from now and for sure by the end of the season. The Bills may get their act together and make the list or maybe one of these surprises get cold and the defense loses its edge. Either way, let your opinion be heard in the comments section and tell us what you think. It’s just one man’s thoughts on the state of the defenses in the NFL and everyone has their own, which makes these lists so much fun to make.

2 of 16

15. Denver Broncos


The Denver Broncos have an average defense giving up 330 yards and 23 points per game. They have the ability to play well, see Monday Night, but they are too inconsistent to be near the top.

3 of 16

14. San Diego Chargers


Another average defense that can be great belongs to the San Diego Chargers. Giving up a shade less than 340 yards and 23 points per game, this defense can hang with some of the best offenses in the game, but can't seem to put together a full 60 minutes.

4 of 16

13. Green Bay Packers


The Green Bay Packers defense can be as good as there is in the NFL, but it just isn't most weeks. The Packers played well last Sunday, but giving up 340 yards per game including 110 on the ground and allowing 22.5 points per game doesn't scream menacing.

5 of 16

12. St. Louis Rams


The St. Louis Rams are the most surprising team on this list because they sit at 3-3 and we don't consider them a good football team. However, being ranked seventh in total defense and giving up only 18.5 points per game makes this team a tough nut to crack on defense.

6 of 16

11. Arizona Cardinals

Mark J. Rebilas- US PRESSWIRE

The reason the Arizona Cardinals got off to such a hot start was the play of their defense. It has cooled off a tad, but giving up less than 17 points per game is definitely no fluke.

7 of 16

10. Dallas Cowboys

Matthew Emmons- US PRESSWIRE

The defense is back in Big D for the Dallas Cowboys who rank second in total defense. They're giving up nearly 25 points a contest, which is absurd, but teams aren't getting many yards in the meantime.

8 of 16

9. Atlanta Falcons

Daniel Shirey- US PRESSWIRE

The Atlanta Falcons' defense has quietly slipped under the radar. They bend, but don't break and are giving up less than 20 points per game to keep the Falcons as the only undefeated team in the league.

9 of 16

8. Minnesota Vikings

Bruce Kluckhohn- US PRESSWIRE

The other surprising start has been the Minnesota Vikings, who have leaned on a defense playing out of this world. The numbers don't make it a top-tier unit just yet, but they have been playing at a high level this season.

10 of 16

7. Pittsburgh Steelers

Charles LeClaire- US PRESSWIRE

The Pittsburgh Steelers are known for their defense under Dick LeBeau. However, the unit has been below average by their standards, which is still pretty good compared with the rest of the league.

11 of 16

6. Baltimore Ravens


The Baltimore Ravens were the hardest team to rank. They face major questions on defense after losing Ray Lewis, the heart and soul of that unit, to a triceps tear, but get Terrell Suggs back from an Achilles injury in the near future.

12 of 16

5. Houston Texans

Troy Taormina- US PRESSWIRE

The Houston Texans lose talent yet still seem to reload on defense. Losing Brian Cushing is big, but so is having J.J. Watt rushing the passer.

13 of 16

4. Seattle Seahawks

Steven Bisig- US PRESSWIRE

Raise your hand if you thought the Seattle Seahawks would rank in the top-5 in both total and scoring defense. This unit still has a lot to prove, but holding teams to 15 points is an easy way to rack up the wins and believers.

14 of 16

3. San Francisco 49ers


This was a close call, if the San Francisco 49ers didn't just get shown up at home by the team at No. 2, this ranking would look completely different. This is an excellent defense that now must learn how to show up in the big moments of the big games.

15 of 16

2. New York Giants

Ed Szczepanski- US PRESSWIRE

The New York Giants' defense knows how to show up for big games. They may be great when the pressure is off, but when the spotlight comes their way, these guys take it to a whole new level.

16 of 16

1. Chicago Bears


They rank third in total defense and first in scoring defense. They have 17 takeaways and five touchdowns. How can you not rank the Chicago Bears at the top of this list?