The NFL is a league thriving on high scoring offenses but defense is still the key to winning championships.
Just ask the Tampa Bay Bucs who rode the clutch passing of Tom Brady and a star-studded, stingy defense to the second Super Bowl title in franchise history.
The defending Super Bowl Champions still have the best defense in the NFL.
Tampa held quarterbacks to a 59.7% completion rate with 10 sacks, 6-7 TD-INT ratio in the playoffs. Remember how they dismantled a supposed unstoppable force in Patrick Mahomes?
"Tampa Bay's defense was outstanding and Tom Brady did what he needed to do. It was a total domination, give the Bucs credit. That was the greatest performance you'll see against a historically great offense in NFL history."
— UNDISPUTED (@undisputed) February 8, 2021
That defense is arguably stronger this season after retaining all 11 starters to a defense with no weaknesses.
Teams can’t run on Tampa with Vita Vea, Ndamukong Suh and William Gholston forming an impenetrable wall up front. It’s hard to pass while Jason Pierre-Paul and the crew are terrorizing quarterbacks. Devin White is one half of a spectacular linebacker duo.
WFT boasts an absurd amount of young talent. Everyone knows about Chase Young, an immediate impact player who racked up 40 total pressures in a season limited by injuries.
— Gary Striewski (@garystriewski) September 1, 2021
Montez Sweat erupted for 47 total pressures and former first-round pick Jonathan Allen was was credited by PFF (Pro Football Focus) with a 17.1% pass-rush win rate.
If the offense can at least keep opposing defenses honest, Washington has a chance to make serious noise in the NFC East.
This defense should see immediate improvement in 2021. By October this could be the best defense in the NFL.
They have quietly remained a solid defensive team according to the metrics.
Denver boasts arguably the best secondary in the NFL featuring outstanding safety (Justin Simmons), and dynamite corners in (Bryce Callahan and Kyle Fuller) plus prized rookie (Patrick Surtain III).
— CBSDenver (@CBSDenver) August 30, 2021
It’s all being masterminded by Vic Fangio, one of the best defensive minds the game has ever known. As if that wasn’t enough, Von Miller and Bradley Chubb wreak havoc off the edge.
Mike Tomlin’s squad began last season 11-0 before losing five of their final six games, including the opening round of the AFC playoffs at home.
Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin says he likes what he's seen from the team's defensive line during training camp. https://t.co/6rMjVdAIkG
— FOX43 Sports (@FOX43Sports) August 31, 2021
That 11-0 start to the season was due to a dominant defensive line, probably the best in the league.
5. Los Angeles Rams
There are plenty of football analysts who would rank the Rams higher on this list.
The Rams took some losses this off-season, with defensive coordinator Brandon Staley becoming the head coach of the LA Chargers, and prized safety John Johnson and elite nickel corner Troy Hill both leaving via free agency.
Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey are still on the squad and they are probably the premier performers in the game at their respective positions.
🚨LIVE: Head Coach Sean McVay, DL Aaron Donald, and CB Jalen Ramsey address the media after practice https://t.co/a75oip90xP
— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) August 26, 2021
Donald is the most disruptive and dominant down lineman in the league and Ramsey is the best cornerback.
Don’t sleep on the rest of the secondary.
Darious Williams posted PFF’s ninth-highest CB coverage grade last season. And safety Jordan Fuller (Rams’ defensive signal-caller in just his second NFL season) is turning out to be a steal as a sixth-round pick.
Even with personnel losses, expectations remain high.