Top Five NFL Defenses After Week 5 | DeMeco Ryans’ Niners Are Leading NFL In Every Major Statistical Category

(Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)

The old sports adage is “defense wins championships,” and for the most part that has always rung true. This season in the NFL it seems as if the defenses have been ahead of the offenses though the first five weeks, led by the Niners who’ve been dominant in just about every category thus far this season. Here are the top five defensive units this season.

1. San Francisco 49ers

Led by defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans, a former All-Pro, Pro Bowl player and DROY, the Niners are flat suffocating opponents. With a stud at every level of their defense in lineman Nick Bosa, linebacker Fred Warner and defensive back Talanoa Hufanga, the Niners’ success is predicated on the performance of their hawking defense. Under Ryans this season, S.F. is boasting league lows in points allowed, yards per game, yards per play, rush yards per game, pass touchdowns allowed, sacks and first downs allowed. 

The Niners are the first team since the 2006-07 Minnesota Vikings to lead in all those categories defensively. Back then a little-known defensive coordinator named Mike Tomlin used that to catapult into the head coaching position with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Ryans could be next. 

2. Buffalo Bills

The addition of Von Miller has elevated a good defense to great. It will surely be tested this weekend on the road against Patrick Mahomes. Miller’s presence has opened it up for the other Bills defenders, and they’ve feasted on opposing offenses. Defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier may be positioning himself for another head coaching opportunity. Buffalo is allowing a league-low 33 percent third-down conversion rate and 11.5 points per game. They’ve only allowed seven points the entire second half this season.

On Tuesday Frazier raved about his group’s focus and togetherness.

“There are so many superlatives when I think about some of the things our guys are doing. But one of the things that sticks out is the way they really bond together.”

3. Dallas Cowboys

The defense has been downright filthy this season. Led by reigning DROY Micah Parsons and All-Pro cornerback Trevon Diggs, Dan Quinn’s unit is among the stingiest in the league. They haven’t allowed more than 19 points in any game and have only allowed only 72 points in five games, a 14.4 average per game. With Dak Prescott still out, the team will need their best performance of the season as they travel to Philly to face the lone unbeaten team in the league.

4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Led by linebackers Devin White and Lavonte David, the Bucs have been stingy minus their Week 4 beatdown from the mighty Chiefs. On Sunday, Tampa held the Falcons to 89 total yards in the first half, a 3.3 yards-per-play average. Being ranked fourth is great, but with the reeling Steelers on deck, the Bucs could improve their already gaudy ranking.

5. Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles are easily the best offensive team on this list, but with their offense being so good, their stout defense often gets overlooked. With an offense that usually allows them to play from ahead, the Eagles are second in the league in sacks and first in tackles for loss.


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