Top 15 team defenses heading into the 2022 NFL season
- Defense is as important in the NFL as is an offense
- The Buffalo Bills top the list followed by the Green Bay Packers
- Last year's Super Bowl finalist, Cincinnati Bengals failed to make the list this season
One of the oldest cliches in professional sports in general, and in NFL football in particular, is "defense wins championships." A proper and strong defense can easily restrict any high offensive line in the NFL.
As was clearly seen in the playoffs from the previous season, playing excellent defense resulted in more offensive opportunities. The Cincinnati Bengals' defense shut down the Chiefs' elite offense to claim the 2022 AFC title.
In American football, a strong defense gives the offense a good field position to start their drive toward the goal, making it easier to score. Additionally, effective defense forces opponents' turnovers, which have a significant impact on football scores.
Now, Let's have a look at the top 15 defensive teams going into the 2022 Season:-
1) Buffalo Bills (AFC East) -
Before the offseason, the Buffalo Bills had one of the top NFL defenses. The front office went ahead and strengthened this unit with Super Bowl aspirations. To strengthen their team, they added Von Miller, a former Super Bowl MVP. Their defensive interior, which is made up of DaQuan Jones, Tim Settle, and Jordan Phillips, is also very strong. Additionally, Buffalo has the top NFL safety group.
2) Green Bay Packers (NFC North) -
Jaire Alexander, Eric Stokes, and Rasul Douglas make up one of the NFL's top cornerback trios for Green Bay. Additionally, the Packers field the versatile safety duo of Adrian Ramos and Darnell Savage. This team's biggest weakness at linebacker used to be, but now De'Vondre Campbell, an All-Pro, plays there.
3) San Francisco 49ers (NFC West) -
The defensive line for the San Francisco 49ers is one of the best in the league. They have Nick Bosa and Arik Armstead who are their top defensive ends. The NFL's top linebacker is still Fred Warner. The 49ers' lack of depth in the secondary, which hurt them late in the 2021 season, is their lone defense-related concern.
4) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (NFC South) -
Injuries plagued the defensive unit of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2021. Joe Tryon-Shoyinka will be in charge now that Jason Pierre Paul is no longer on the team. When playing together, the linebacker trio of Lavonte David, Shaquill Barret, and Devin White performs at a high level.
5) New Orleans Saints (NFC South) -
It's not only Tom Brady that struggles against the high defense of the Saints but many other QBs like Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford. The Saints allowed the third-lowest touchdown rate (3.4 percent) and the fourth-lowest average QB rating with 81.7 in the NFL.
6) Los Angeles Chargers ( AFC West) -
For the majority of the 2021 season, the Los Angeles Chargers run defense was the worst in the NFL. Adding Khalil Mack is a huge improvement. Joey Bosa required a supporting edge rusher and Mack is an exceptional partner for him. He has the best PFF run-defense grade (90.6) since 2020 and is a great pass rusher.
7) Philadelphia Eagles (NFC East) -
The Eagles have improved from last season by adding Hassan Reddick to their squad. This season the Philadelphia Eagles defense is in a great position to significantly improve by adding Josh Sweat, Javon Hargrave, and Fletcher Cox to the defensive end for the team.
8) Baltimore Ravens (AFC North) -
With a stunning offense led by superstar QB Lamar Jackson, the Ravens have less to worry about on the offensive end. The Ravens' top priority this offseason was strengthening their defense, which they accomplished by bringing in Marcus Williams, the best safety available. Additionally, the team also resigned defensive lineman Calais Campbell who can easily defend in the middle of the defensive scheme team.
9) Los Angeles Rams (NFC West) -
The Rams made Aaron Donald the highest-paid non-QB in NFL history for a reason. Bobby Wagner and Jalen Ramsey, two strong defenders, would support him. However, Von Miller's services would be missed by the Los Angeles Rams as he switched sides to play for the Buffalo Bills.
10) Denver Broncos (AFC West) -
Adding Russell Wilson will significantly improve the Bronco's offense but their defense will also improve with the already present Patrick Surtain Jr. They also have improved the cornerback position by adding K'naun Williams to help Kareem Jackson and Justin Simmons.
Also read: Who is Peyton Manning?
11) Tennessee Titans (AFC South) -
Late in 2021, the Tennessee Titans' defense started to come alive. Harold Landry III (64 pressures, 14 sacks), Jeffery Simmons (62 pressures), and Denico Autry are primarily to thank for this (61 pressures). The Titans can secure a top-10 spot in the NFL defense rankings if they can get the best services of cornerback Caleb Farley.
12) Miami Dolphins (AFC East) -
The Miami Dolphins defense finished the regular season with the 3rd highest pressure rate(28.5%) and 7th lowest QB rating allowed(85.4) This unit might rank among the top 10 NFL defenses this season if Jevon Holland and edge rusher Jaelan Phillips is more effective off the edge.
13) Indianapolis Colts (AFC South)
Stephon Gilmore is a dependable No. 1 cornerback, and the pass rush that now includes DeForest Buckner and Dayo Odeyingo will be able to assist him. Although this defense is unlikely to shut down offenses, it will always keep games close, which is important for a playoff contender.
14) Cleveland Browns (AFC North) -
Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney, who together allowed the second-fewest yards per play(5.0) in the NFL, dominated the league. Cleveland, however, allowed the sixth-worst conversion rate (66.7%) in the red zone. If the team keeps up their excellent performance, they have a higher ceiling.
15) Dallas Cowboys (NFC East) -
Trevon Diggs is back, Micah Parsons will start his second season, and DeMarcus Lawrence's full season could be very important. It's also important to keep in mind that Dallas' red-zone touchdown rate ranking was 20th (61.7 percent ). The team lost Randy Gregory and will hope to increase their defensive ranking.