2022 NFL defensive rankings: Rams, Bills, Saints most likely to finish in top 10

Offense is benevolent in the modern NFL, but that doesn’t mean defense is completely irrelevant. Because while offense has a bigger impact on a team’s overall performance — and is more consistent from year to year than defense — you still have to take some resistance to actually win a football game.

For that reason, now that the player acquisition portion of the offseason is largely over, we’re going to rank the league’s defenses.instead of beating every team 32-1 on this side of the ball like we do on offensewe’ll group teams based on their likelihood of finishing the year in the league’s top 10 defenses.

No more hassle…

very unlikely

Atlanta Falcons, Detroit Lions, Houston Texans, jacksonville jaguars, New York Giants, new york jets, Seattle Seahawks

None of these teams made the top half of the league in the EPA’s per-game or football outsider’s DVOA last season. Only the Seahawks, Giants, Texans and Falcons are ranked in yards per game (Seattle, Giants), points per possession (Seattle), opponent turnover rate (Giants, Houston, Atlanta) and opponent offensive share Both ended with a touchdown or field goal (Seattle) above average. They didn’t rank better than 10th in any of these categories.

The most notable additions to these teams are rookies: Traven Walker in Jacksonville, Aidan Hutchinson In Detroit, Sauce Gardner and Kevan Thibodeau in New York. Even if these players make immediate high-level contributions, it seems unlikely to make up the difference between these teams’ rankings and the top 10 in the NFL. It’s possible that some of these teams could have a slightly below-average defense rather than bad, but even above-average could be a little far-fetched.

Not too possible

Carolina Panthers, chicago bears, kansas city chiefs, Tennessee Titans

The Panthers started last season on fire on the defensive end, but slowed down the second half of the season.they fail Hasson Reddick In free agency and there is no ready replacement. Their second line should be an advantage, but it’s hard to see the front line enough to push them into the top 10.Chicago’s defense was a disaster last season, and while new head coach Matt Eberflux and several early draft picks should help, trades Khalil Mack Stealed the Bears’ best passer.

Kansas City used four of the top five picks defensively, so maybe we’re a little bit unkind to the Chiefs here, but even with a ton of turnovers last season, they’re still out of the top 20 every game. EPA, DVOA, yards per race and points per drive. This is the basis for a lot to make up for.Tennessee’s defense was above average last season, but it didn’t have enough high-level talent other than high-level talent Jeffrey Simmons and Kevin Byard Let’s see them squeeze into the top 10.


Arizona Cardinals, Cincinnati Bengals, cleveland browns, Green Bay Packers, Los Angeles Chargers, Las Vegas Raiders, minnesota vikings, Philadelphia Eagles, commander washington

This is the largest team and the one with the widest range of outcomes.

Arizona State finished in the top 10 in both the EPA and DVOA last season, but some players in the middle were far better than expected and there wasn’t much passing rush to speak of. Still, if this second linebacker can hold his own and the flexible linebacker the team has drafted in recent years moves forward, the Cardinals can keep their spot. The Bengals also performed better than expected last season and thankfully haven’t rested on their laurels when it comes to talent acquisition. They added three draft picks to last year’s defensive backcourt and needed more talent.

Going into last season, we were very happy with Cleveland’s defense, it’s just that this team was a little disappointing.They may also need to add more sprint juice on the opposite side Miles Garrettbut he and Denzel Ward It’s the studs that they can take this unit to even greater heights this year.Green Bay was battered by injuries last season and should be healthier this year, but see how Joe Barry is doing without Zadarius Smith Another year.That is, adding Devont Wyatt and Pier Walker Should help a lot defensively against the two most problematic units.

The Chargers had a lot of talent on defense last year, but the kit was marred by glaring holes in a few places.Thankfully, Tom Telesco went and picked up some of Brandon Staley’s favorites like Sebastian joseph day and Morgan Foxwhile adding a mic, JC Jackson, Austin Johnsonand Bryce Callahan. This group has many benefits.Raiders added Chandler Jones opposite Max Crosby Making them one of the strongest passing duos in the league, despite problems elsewhere, could set the stage for a strong defense if all goes well under Patrick Graham.

We originally had Minnesota at the upper level, but Danielle Hunt back to the fold, add lewis film And Andrew Booth on board…maybe there’s a universe that does it all, even if the odds of that happening without Mike Zimmer at the helm seem pretty low.The Eagles added James Bradbury This week, they did the same defense through the draft Jordan Davis and Dean of the Department. However, last year’s defense was so bad that bumping them into a “probable” top-10 range felt too aggressive.Washington’s defense was one of the most disappointing in the NFL last season, and chase young With a torn ACL, they may struggle to reach the heights envisioned for them a year ago. But if passing fever is as good as hoped before last season, that rating may be too low.

It’s possible

baltimore ravens, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, indianapolis colts, Miami Dolphins, new england patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Francisco 49ers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Baltimore’s defense collapsed due to injury last season, but there are some strong fundamental indicators of a rebound. For example, the Ravens are third in yards allowed per game and eighth in opponent drives that end in points.have better health, plus Marcus Williams and Kyle Hamilton On the boat, they should be back in the top 10 or around.Dallas was encouraged last season by an extremely unsustainable turnover rate, but Dan Quinn plans to Micah Parsons Going into favorable matchups, a healthier season DeMarcus Lawrenceall year from Jaylen Kells and Malik Hookfrom the continued development of the team’s young interior linebacker, and even half of the draft pick for a season Treven Diggs A year ago, the Cowboys should have been able to avoid going backwards enough to get into the bottom half of the top 10, or just outside of it.

Denver stole Randy Gregory Away from the Cowboys, still had a very good second line and brought in Ejiro Evero to call the defense. After finishing in or near the top 10 in most efficiency metrics last season, things look pretty good on this front.Colts lost Eberflus to Bears, but with team additions, Gus Bradley should be able to finish his Cover-3, rushing passer thing with a front four Stephen Gilmore and Yannick Ngarkwe to an already deep and talented group.Brian Flores is no longer defending in Miami, but there are still a lot of people who love the Dolphins, starting with Harvey Howard, Byron Jonesand Jevon Holland in the backend.and Jaylan Phillips and Emmanuel Ogba Up front, Josh Boyer has enough passing ability to sustain some of the things Flores has done over the past few seasons.

The only reason New England is here and not in the next group is because the Patriots let Jackson walk without actually replacing him. We’ve seen Bill Belichick work his magic after losing top corners, though, including when the team traded Gilmore to Carolina last year. The 49ers continue to chase passers with the best of them, continue to get strong plays from under-the-radar cornerbacks, and still have a very strong group in mid-range coverage.and Arik Armstead Playing inside from the jumper, this should be a more consistent unit this season.

Both the Steelers and Buccaneers have top-notch talent, and there’s no question that they have an above-average defense.Only Todd Bowles has added responsibilities as head coach, and no Jason Pierre-Paul That leaves Tampa out of the first group, and Pittsburgh’s age and injury issues are to blame. Still, two excellent defenses should be the best.

most likely

Buffalo Bills, Los Angeles Rams, new orleans saints

Buffalo ranked first in DVOA, EPA per game, yards per game and points per game last season, then added von Miller To a group of deep Chargers.even though Trey Davidus White Possibly missing part of the season to repair his torn ACL, Beal appears to be all but locked into a top defense.the rams have Aaron Donald and Jaylen Ramsay, while Raheem Morris will continue to innovate on the principles Brandon Staley established years ago.New Orleans has added more responsibility to Dennis Allen as head coach, as Tampa did with Powers, but the Saints’ defensive backcourt is more reliable than their division rivals thanks to their additions Tyron Matthews bounced back after losing Marcus Williams.

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