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Ranking the NFL's 5 best defenses

The Pittsburgh Steelers defense has been a key to their success this season.
The Pittsburgh Steelers defense has been a key to their success this season.
Walter Sharp
Modified 12 Nov 2020, 18:30 IST

"Offense wins games, but defense wins championships."

The NFL is full of talented offensive players. When it comes to the game of football, a defense can change your chances of winning and losing.

The defensive side of the football can be the difference when it comes to winning a Super Bowl. The 2001 Baltimore Ravens won the Super Bowl because of the play on the defensive side of the ball. The New England Patriots' most recent Super Bowl title was won in a 13-3 defensive struggle.

As much credit as the Kansas City Chiefs' offense deserves for winning last season's Super Bowl, don't forget that they were able to come back and win because their defense held the San Francisco 49ers scoreless in the fourth quarter.

Let's take a look at the NFL's five best defenses today.

5. Washington Football Team

When looking at the Washington Football Team's overall record (2-6), it would not seem like their defense is in the top five.

But Washington's defense is full of talent and those young players are playing their hearts out. The focal point to Washington's success on defense is their defensive line.


Defensive Stats:

  • Washington gives up 314.3 yards per game
  • They're only giving opposing quarterbacks 185.6 passing yards per game
  • Washington's rushing defense is giving up 128.6 yards per game this season
  • Washington is only giving up 23.5 points per game to opposing teams

Key Defensive Players:

  • DE Chase Young
  • DT Jonathan Allen
  • CB Kendall Fuller

The Washington defense is the reason why they're still in the hunt for the NFC East. Their defense has kept them in so many games this season. If the Washington offense could give them a little help, the Washington Football Team could be a threat in the next two years.

4. Los Angeles Rams

The Los Angeles Rams are full of talent on the defensive side of the football. The Rams are led by their defensive lineman Aaron Donald. Los Angeles made a big addition to their defense last season when they added cornerback Jalen Ramsey.


Defensive Stats:

  • Los Angeles is only giving up 291.9 yards per game
  • The Rams secondary is holding opposing quarterbacks to 197.1 passing yards
  • The rushing defense is only giving up 94.8 rushing yards per game
  • The biggest stat for the Rams is that they're only giving up 19 points per game

Key Defensive Players:

  • DL Aaron Donald
  • CB Jalen Ramsey
  • FS John Johnson III

The Los Angeles Rams are still in the hunt to win the NFC West and in the hunt to make the playoffs. They'll need their defense to continue their success to achieve these goals. The Rams are looking to get back to where they were in 2018, competing for the Super Bowl.

3. Baltimore Ravens

The Baltimore Ravens defense is overshadowed by their offense. Quarterback Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens offense is what everyone talks about.

In the past, the Ravens defense was what carried them throughout the season. Players like Ed Reed, Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs are key players that made the Baltimore Ravens defense among the greatest in history. This year's Ravens defense is ready to compete.

Defensive Stats:

  • The Ravens defense is giving up 324.9 total yards per game
  • The Ssecondary is giving opposing quarterbacks 223.1 passing yards per game
  • Baltimore's defense is giving up 101.8 rushing yards per game
  • The key to their defensive success is that the Ravens defense is only giving up 17.8 points per game

Key Defensive Players:

  • CB Marlon Humphrey
  • CB Marcus Peters
  • DE Calais Campbell

The Baltimore Ravens are on their way to making another playoff appearance under coach John Harbaugh. The Ravens will need their defense to step up and make big plays for them. It will all come down to the play of Jackson, but if the defense can put him in good field position, the Ravens can make a run this season.

2. Pittsburgh Steelers

The Pittsburgh Steelers defense is one of the main reasons to why the Steelers are still undefeated (8-0). The Steelers have leaned on their defense when it needed big stops in football games. In their Week 9 game against the Dallas Cowboys, the Steelers' defense came up huge to give them the victory.

Defensive Stats:

  • Pittsburgh is giving up 317.4 total yards per game
  • The Steelers secondary is giving up 214.6 passing yards to opposing quarterbacks
  • The Steelers rushing defense is giving up 102.8 rushing yards per game
  • Pittsburgh is only giving up 20.1 points to opposing teams

Key Defensive Players:

  • DL Stephon Tuitt
  • FS Minkah Fitzpatrick
  • LB T.J. Watt

The Pittsburgh Steelers are still holding onto an undefeated record. Their offense has been helping their defense with their success. The Steelers are going to look to the defense when it comes down to big playoff games.

1. Indianapolis Colts

The Indianapolis Colts are in reach of the Tennessee Titans for the AFC South division. The Colts added a key piece to their defense in lineman DeForest Buckner. When thinking of the Indianapolis Colts, not many people will mention their defense. This year the Colts defense are not giving up much.

Defensive Stats:

  • The Colts are only giving up 290 total yards per game to opposing teams
  • The Colts secondary is only allowing 206.4 passing yards to quarterbacks
  • Their rushing defense is only giving up 83.6 rushing yards per game
  • Indianapolis is only giving up 20 points to opposing teams this season

Key Defensive Players:

  • DT DeForest Buckner
  • CB Xavier Rhodes
  • LB Darius Leonard

The Indianapolis Colts need their defense to shut down the rushing attack of the Tennessee Titans. The Colts play the Titans twice in the next three weeks and it could be a make-or-break two games. They'll need their defense to solidify their playoff hopes.

Published 12 Nov 2020, 18:30 IST
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