As the NFL enters Week 13, we examine the top five defenses.
1. New England Patriots
Bill Belichick and his New England Patriots have the second-ranked overall defensive unit in the league and are still leading the charge atop the rankings.
Following their 36-13 dismantling of the Titans, this defense looks like the best in the league. They harassed Ryan Tannehill all day, holding him to a paltry 11 of 21 for 93 yards passing on the day. One area of concern is the Pats’ run defense, which surrendered 270 rushing yards on the ground.
That’s something we know Bill Belichick will shore up, but with Buffalo being a pass-heavy offense the Pats need to cover in the secondary this week. Cornerback JC Jackson may be the best corner in the NFL. A natural ballhawk with elite ball skills.
𝗙𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝘀𝘁𝗿𝗮𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁 second half 𝘀𝗵𝘂𝘁𝗼𝘂𝘁𝘀 ❌ pic.twitter.com/JRGQBtQI6n
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) December 3, 2021
2. Arizona Cardinals
The defense of the Arizona Cardinals is the reason they’re winning minus Kyler Murray. Since his three-game absence, the Cardinals have mustered nine QB sacks, 36 QB pressures while allowing just 217 passing yards per game.
The Markus Golden and Chandler Jones edge rush duo has wreaked havoc on opposing offenses since JJ Watt was lost for the season. It helps when your defense is allowing just 19 first downs per game (sixth in the league) and a 32.6 third-down conversion rate, which ranks third in the league. Vance Joseph preaches getting off the field on third down, and not many teams do it better.
— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) December 3, 2021
3. Green Bay Packers
The Green Bay Packers continue to play well on the defensive side of the football minus their two best defensive players in Za’Darius Smith and Jaire Alexander. Getting pass rusher Rashan Gary back last week was huge as he recorded a sack and five pressures. His presence on the outside opened up things on the inside for Kenny Clark who lived in Rams QB Matthew Stafford’s face all game. Smith and Alexander should be back sometime after the bye week.
Happy birthday No. 5️⃣2️⃣! 🎉
— Green Bay Packers (@packers) December 3, 2021
4. Buffalo Bills
Up in Buffalo, the NFL’s No. 1-ranked defense has been outstanding. Their pass rush is dynamite and the run defense seems to be improving weekly. The loss of All-Pro cornerback Tre’Davious White is a blow to a secondary built on continuity at corner and safety. So they drop a bit on this list. Corner Taron Johnson will now be tasked with covering opposing teams’ No. 1 weapon on the outside.
— Buffalo Bills (@BuffaloBills) December 1, 2021
5. Dallas Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys were up to their ballhawking tricks in a 27-17 win aided heavily by the ineptitude of Saints QB Taysom Hill. They picked Hill off four times, leading to 17 points for their offense. Cornerback Trevon Diggs grabbed his NFL-leading ninth interception of the season. The win keeps the Cowboys 2.5 games ahead of WFT in the NFC East. What Dan Quinn has done with this defense as opposed to how they looked a season ago is remarkable.
— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) December 3, 2021
Baltimore Ravens — Despite a listless offense, the defense keeps on ticking. The question is will it be able to hold up come playoff time?
Denver Broncos — They’ve played well on defense all season. Big game on Sunday against AFC West division-leading Kansas City Chiefs, winners of four straight.
Cleveland Browns — Defense isn’t the problem on the shores of Lake Erie. Cleveland has survived led by DPOY front-runner Myles “Flash” Garrett. When you pick off an opposing quarterback four times you’re supposed to win. It’s an underwhelming offense that often puts the defense in tough spots.
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