The New England Patriots are the best defensive team in the NFL right now, and it begins with their depth in the front seven.
After surrendering 270 rushing yards in a 36-13 Week 12 win over the Tennessee Titans, they bounced back and shut down the pass-happy Bills in a huge 14-10 road win. Bill Belichick’s stingy defense is giving up the fewest points per game in the NFL (15.4).
New England Patriots (9-4)
While the windy, cold and blustery weather played a role in Monday night’s outcome, the Patriots still made timely starts when they had to all night. Their linebacker corps is one of the best in the league with Donta’ Hightower, Kyle Van Noy and Ja’Whaun Bentley. This defense is Super Bowl-worthy. With the Pats 9-4, the AFC playoffs currently come through Foxborough.
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) December 7, 2021
Arizona Cardinals (10-2)
Another week and another strong performance by the Arizona Cardinals defense. The defensive unit recorded six quarterback hits, three sacks, and four interceptions.
One area of concern could be the run defense that allowed Bears tailback David Montgomery 90 rushing yards on 20 carries and one touchdown. They’ll need to tighten that up with the playoffs coming and a host of elite runners in the NFC. Still the top seed in the NFC.
We are just the second team in NFL history to win each of its first seven road games in a season by 10+ points.
We have outscored opponents 230-118 on the road, and our +112 point differential on the road leads the NFL this season. pic.twitter.com/lOr6Sh0mls
— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) December 8, 2021
Indianapolis Colts (7-6)
The Indianapolis Colts have all the ingredients to be a real dangerous playoff team if they earn a spot. They’re physical on both lines, have playmakers everywhere and are a well-coached and disciplined team.
In Week 13 they hammered the Houston Texans 31-0. Indy held Houston to 57 yards passing on 27 passing attempts (2.5 yards per attempt). Linebacker Darius Leonard is a tackling machine, and his Colts defense will need to be at their best coming out of the bye week. They’ll face much stiffer challenges in conference leaders New England and Arizona.
Ordered a 2-piece for both Al-Quadin and Kemoko. 🍴 pic.twitter.com/m36v9MP6vx
— Indianapolis Colts (@Colts) December 6, 2021
Buffalo Bills (7-5)
The Buffalo Bills have struggled due to an offense that’s underachieved mightily this season. For the season the Bills are holding teams to 16.3 points per game, which ranks second in the NFL.
On Monday night, they were thoroughly outcoached and physically dominated by the Patriots in awful playing conditions and still had a couple chances to win late. They’ll get another shot at their division rivals in a couple weeks, but not before a trip to Tampa to face Tom Brady and the defending Super Bowl champion Buccaneers. Leslie Frazier’s defense has done its part. Safety Micah Hyde is having a DPOY season.
Denver Broncos (6-6)
It has to be frustrating to be a defensive player for the Denver Broncos, who hold teams to a meager 18.2 points per game, while the offense ranks in the bottom half of the league. Last Sunday they held the Chiefs’ offense to one touchdown and three field goals and still lost (22-9). Head coach Vic Fangio has a playoff defense. A great secondary and a front seven with tons of potential is what keeps Denver competetive. Patrick Surtain II is the real deal with four interceptions this season.
Congratulations to Broncos CB @PatSurtainll, the only NFL rookie nominated for the 2021 Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award.
This award is presented each year to an NFL player who best demonstrates the qualities of on-field sportsmanship and integrity. pic.twitter.com/bsnyJExT37
— Patrick Smyth (@psmyth12) December 9, 2021
Baltimore Ravens — With Lamar Jackson struggling, the defense has stepped it up. Injuries continue to mount with All-Pro cornerback Marlon Humphrey now out for the season.
Miami Dolphins — Began the season 1-7, now sitting at 6-7 following a five-game win streak led by an inspired defense.
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