The New York Giants won Super Bowl XLVI despite having a defense that finished the 2011 season ranked No. 27 in the NFL. The team they beat, the New England Patriots, had a defense that was ranked even lower, at No. 31 in the NFL in 2011. So, what does that say about the importance of defense in the current NFL?
Or, for the teams that are about to enter the postseason, does it make more sense to analyze defenses in a two-phase manner? Part one is the way that the defense played during the regular season, and then part two would be what can the team do to upgrade their defense for the second season and turn their playoff team into champions?
Clearly, the New York Giants defense drastically improved once they got into the playoffs, compared to its regular-season showing. Of course, getting some of their injured players back helped them out in that regard.
But on the flip side, the best NFL defense in the regular season, the Pittsburgh Steelers, did a role reversal in the playoffs, and came up with an abysmal showing in the playoff loss at Denver.
For this presentation, we will project every 2012 NFL defense, recognizing that every team has made some degree of changes from the 2011 version and attempt to rank where we think they will stack up. We will conclude with a 32-team NFL power ranking on the final slide.
Please note from a timing perspective that this is being written two weeks prior to the 2012 draft, so it would probably be a good idea to do a similar story after the draft, because that should have an impact on the projected 2012 rankings as well.