It doesn’t seem right, but it’s already the last week of the NFL season. Playoff positioning is pretty much set as we look forward to next week’s wild card matchups.
The top teams in the league right now (Green Bay, New Orleans, and New England) are each in the top five in total offense, but what they do lack is stout defensive play. All three of these teams rank in the bottom seven in total defense, with Green Bay and New England being the bottom two.
We all know offenses put people in the seats, but defenses win championships. These three teams can’t win the Super Bowl by winning at least three games in high scoring shootouts. In at least one of those games, the defense will need to make some stops to control the game.
That’s why I think only Green Bay is really a clear contender. New Orleans has a shot, but when it plays away from the Superdome the offense slows down a bit, and it’s too risky to lean on its defense this year to pull out a win. I’m not counting them out, but the defense will be the key away from the Superdome to get them to the Super Bowl. It definitely can happen, as they just did this a few years ago in their pursuit to Miami.
New England, in my mind, really has no shot at the Super Bowl. Out of the five other AFC teams in the playoffs at this moment, four of them rank in the top six in total defense in the entire NFL. Those teams can tee off on Tom Brady and make it hard for him to pass.
Don’t get me wrong—the Patriots will score some points, but the Ravens, Steelers, Texans and Bengals have the personnel to slow them down a bit with an offense capable of scoring on the league’s worst statistical defense.
If the defense for New England were better, I’d say the Patriots definitely have a shot, but they can’t afford to let these playoff teams score or they put a lot of pressure on their offense against top-five ranked defenses.
This is a list of the top defenses that can help their team make a run at the Super Bowl in Indianapolis.