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Rank The Top Five Defenses
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Higgs Boson


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2012 10:52 am    Post subject: Rank The Top Five Defenses Reply with quote

I'm curious to see what you guys think are the top five defenses right now in the NFL?

I know stats don't paint the full picture in the NFL and we're just going into week 4, but I'd love to see your opinions.
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baconrad3


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2012 11:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

1. Houston

2. San Francisco

3. Arizona

4. Philadelphia

5a. Seattle

5b. Chicago



Crazy that 3 NFC West teams are listed here, but it's pretty hard to leave any of those 3 teams off a list of top 5 defenses. They all seem like elite defenses at this point, and St. Louis isn't too shabby either, but they're more of a fringe top-10 defense.
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EliteTexan80


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2012 11:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Off the top of my head, going into week 4, not taking into account the 2011 season:

1. 49ers: Don't let one bad outing from an up-and-coming QB sway you; This secondary is still a very stout unit, one that creates turnovers and incompletions. The LBs are fundamentally sound and able to make plays based on a great understanding of the game and amazing athletic ability. The DL is very disruptive, able to get to the QB as well as shield the LBs from oncoming blockers. This defense is able to play some very good ball against very great offenses, and Sunday was the exception, not the norm.

2. Texans: The Texans D showed some signs of weakness with the 4th quarter rally orchestrated by Peyton Manning, but they made key stops when needed. This team is anchored by the best DE in football right now, and has playmakers that can carry the team if need be. I feel as if their best football is ahead of them, but we shall see with a brutal QB schedule on tap.

3. Cardinals: This defense is pretty stout from top to bottom, with playmakers on the DL, at ILB and OLB, and in the secondary. They play fast, they force mistakes, they play good overall D and great situational D. They've come together as a cohesive unit, and they play some tough football.

4. Seahawks: 8 sacks in a single half on the NFL MVP, one of the biggest and strongest secondaries in the NFL, Bruce Irvin proving to be worthy of the #15 pick in the draft. This defense has a pretty scary upside to it, as the individual pieces start to come together a bit more.

5. Falcons: To think, they are doing this with their best CB out for the year with an achillies tear. Both Asante Samuel and Dunta Robinson have been able to turn around their weaknesses, and the back end duo of Thomas DeCoud and William Moore is arguably the best S duo in the NFL (with all due respect to Earl Thomas/Kam Chancellor and Ed Reed/Bernard Pollard).
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EliteTexan80


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2012 11:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

baconrad3 wrote:
Crazy that 3 NFC West teams are listed here, but it's pretty hard to leave any of those 3 teams off a list of top 5 defenses. They all seem like elite defenses at this point, and St. Louis isn't too shabby either, but they're more of a fringe top-10 defense.


I was thinking the same thing...and was also thinking that St. Louis has the personnel and coaching staff to jump EVERYONE in their division - a tall order in its own right.

Once Michael Brockers, Chris Long and Robert Quinn get going at a high gear, the whole D should be able to elevate beyond where they are now. Janoris Jenkins and Cortland Finnegan have the makings of two stubborn CBs who can get in a WRs head, James Laurinitis is a great throwback MLB who is all over the place...this D has the foundation to become very good, and with a plethora of picks over the next few years, has the future to become dominant.

Of the NFC West defenses, St. Louis probably has the most upside - and that is saying a LOT.
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green24


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2012 11:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I pretty much agree with the list above me, but I would add the Ravens in at 5. They can be 5a and 5b with the Falcons.
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Superman(DH23)


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2012 11:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

1. 49ers
2. Texans
3. Falcons
4. Bears
5. Cardinals

HM-Seahawks
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baconrad3


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2012 12:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Putting Atlanta over Philly is just silly to me.

Football Outsiders has our defense ranked #2 in the entire NFL behind only Houston (and we're only .2% behind them in DVOA).

Our defense has played at a very, very high level this year. When you consider the fact that the Falcons' defense benefits greatly from the play of it's offense, and that our offense with all it's turnovers hinders our defense, I can't see how you can say Atlanta's has played better.

Just looking at the box scores of their games, sure maybe it looks like Atlanta's D is better. But actually watching both teams play and by looking at the actual statistics, it's pretty clear that our defense is superior, and I really don't see how anyone can leave it out of the top 5-7 in the league
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baconrad3


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2012 12:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To add on to that post, our secondary has been better than Atlanta's so far, and their rush defense has been one of the worst in the league.

Philly's defense is #1 in the league in opposing team's Passer Rating against at 57.0.....and Atlanta is actually #2 with 58.1.

Philly has allowed 518 passing yards (3rd in NFL) and Atlanta has allowed 623 (8th in NFL).

Philly's secondary is tied with Houston for first in the league in opponents Y/A at 5.7, Atlanta is 6th with 6.2 Y/A.

Philly is also tied for first in the league with Houston in terms of opposing team's completion percentage against...at 50.5%. Atlanta is 13th at 61.1%.

So, it's pretty clear that our secondary has been much better than theirs has.

Our rushing defense has been decent so far...and is about middle of the pack right now. However, I would like to note that our defense has only given up 1 rushing touchdown in the last 7 or so games I believe...Whereas Atlanta's rush defense this season has been one of the worst in the league.

As you can see, I'm clearly not just being a homer here. Our defense has been better than Atlanta's, so I don't understand why people are leaving Philly out of the top 5 defenses while putting Atlanta in it.
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RainbowCarebear


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2012 1:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Our run defense have been giving up useless chunks here and there, so it's better than stats show.

And we turned the ball a ton, so that doesn't help.

49'ers
Houston
Seahawks
Cards

Is probably my top 4. I problably forgot some.

I don't think Ravens defense is the juggernaut it used to be.
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EliteTexan80


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2012 1:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

baconrad3 wrote:
As you can see, I'm clearly not just being a homer here. Our defense has been better than Atlanta's, so I don't understand why people are leaving Philly out of the top 5 defenses while putting Atlanta in it.


I can probably concede that I have seen a lot more of Atlanta vs what I have seen of Philly...but you also have to concede that Atlanta has had a rougher go in terms of teams faced:

1. W1, you had Atlanta stalling the KC run game, Philly against the Browns, who were breaking out rookies at two critical positions, QB and RB. For as bad as Matt Cassell is, a rookie QB should be fresh meat for any defense worthy of making a claim at one of these spots.

2. W2, Atlanta/Denver. Peyton Manning was coming off of a stellar showing against the Steelers, and Atlanta completely overwhelmed him in the first quarter of that game. I will give Philly the nod here, as Baltimore proved to be the much tougher team offensively vs the Broncos. Even then, Atlanta's D put that game away within 15 minutes, Philly had a tougher time with a tougher offense.

3. W3 is a no-brainer. San Diego was quite the offense coming into that game, with a vet QB who is widely considered to be in top 5-10 discussion, and an offense just getting it's starting RB back. Philly had to square off against an offense that has been traditionally inconsistent since Kurt Warner retired, against a QB who has been benched multiple times over the course of his career, with a RB committee that has been inconsistent at best.

I'm not saying Philly's D is bad - if I were to extend this to a top 10, Philly would probably be fighting with Chicago for #6. Not a bad defense overall. A combo of stiffer offenses along with more exposure to me gets them a hair behind Atlanta, and it could very well go either way.
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Willink


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2012 1:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

GB defense is looking back to 2010 form:

-7th in PPG
-1st in N/YA Passing/Real Passing Yards Per Attempt
-Tied with Cardinals for 2nd in sacks
-7th in opposing passer rating, despite being shifted by touchdown that wasn't. Without that pass they are 4th with 63.4 behind Chicago and ahead of Houston.
-3rd in 3rd Down %
-8th in 1st Down %

still not playing run defense, but we didn't play it in 2010 either (4.7 Y/A then vs 4.8 Y/A now). Gotta see what they look like against New Orleans and Houston but this doesn't seem like the unit which gave up record passing yards last year. Right now they allow the fewest passing yards in the NFL.
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Superman(DH23)


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2012 1:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

baconrad3 wrote:
Putting Atlanta over Philly is just silly to me.

Football Outsiders has our defense ranked #2 in the entire NFL behind only Houston (and we're only .2% behind them in DVOA).

Our defense has played at a very, very high level this year. When you consider the fact that the Falcons' defense benefits greatly from the play of it's offense, and that our offense with all it's turnovers hinders our defense, I can't see how you can say Atlanta's has played better.

Just looking at the box scores of their games, sure maybe it looks like Atlanta's D is better. But actually watching both teams play and by looking at the actual statistics, it's pretty clear that our defense is superior, and I really don't see how anyone can leave it out of the top 5-7 in the league
Not as silly as leaving the team leading the league in sacks, takeaways, and #2 in 3rd down% off your list entirely.
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lionslicer


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2012 1:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cardinals

Seahawks

Falcons

Texans

Bears


Eagles haven't shut down any good offenses. 49ers are just on the fringe, but they did let the Vikings offense walk all over them.

Cardinals made the Patriots offense look mediocre. The Seahawks did hold the Packers to just 12 points, but the Packers haven't actually shown much this season so far.

Falcons gets an edge on the Texans because they shut down Peyton for 3 quarters, then went on to shut down Phillip Rivers for 60 minutes.

Texans did shut down Peyton for 3 quarters (What is it with Peyton exploding late in the game). But the other 2 teams they shut down defensively have been the Jags and Miami, 2 offenses that are pretty bad.

Bears have been very good, but I was hesitant to even put them in the top 5 because they've dominated against 2 bad offenses, and played well against the Packers, who again, hasn't done much in general in this young season.
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baconrad3


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2012 2:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Football Outsiders' DVOA stat accounts for difficulty of opponents and such....and the Eagles are still #2 in their defensive rankings...

We pretty much completely shut the Browns offense down...The defense only gave up 3 field goals, and IIRC they were all after our offense turned it over and Cleveland had a short field. Richardson has looked very good the past 2 games, and the defense shut him down.

Against the Ravens and Cardinals, again, turnovers played a massive part in both games.

Atlanta has the more impressive showing against San Diego, I'll give them that. They shut down what everyone thinks is a potent Chargers offense. Rivers, though, had one of his worst career games. Atlanta had a role in that, but I saw some of that game and he just didn't look like the usual Philip Rivers.

I just can't believe people are putting Atlanta at #3 here....both Seattle and Arizona have better defenses, and obviously Houston and SF as well.

I will say this...Atlanta definitely has a very opportunistic defense. Reminds me a bit of Green Bay's 2010 defense. Great at forcing turnovers. However, it's not some huge disparity like Superman made it out to be above. They only have 2 more INTs than the Eagles, but they've just been recovering more fumbles. And most of us know that recovering a fumble is almost sheer luck.

Atlanta just doesn't scream "shut down" defense to me. You can move the ball fairly easily on them it seems. They have just been forcing turnovers at a high rate this season. Philly, on the other hand, has proven to be a very tough defense to move the ball against.
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DrawABlank


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2012 2:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

baconrad3 wrote:
Football Outsiders' DVOA stat accounts for difficulty of opponents and such....and the Eagles are still #2 in their defensive rankings...


Actually, at this point in the season it does not (at all). You can see this by comparing the VOA and DVOA columns - they are currently identical as they have not been adjusted by defense.

Opponent adjustments are gradually introduced over the season (as they get an idea of how good the teams are).

I think it's by about week 12 that it is full DVOA
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