Here’s an updated and expanded look at the LestersLegends 2012 team defense rankings.
1. San Francisco 49ers
The Niners had the No. 2 scoring defense (14.3 ppg) and the No. 2 total defense (308.2 ypg). Harbaugh has them playing tough-nosed football, and they have the benefit of playing in a weak division.
2. Pittsburgh Steelers
Year in and year out, the Steelers are among the NFL’s top defenses. They were No. 1 in scoring (14.2 ppg) and total defense (271.8 ypg) last year. They play in a tougher division so I’ll give the Niners the nod, but it’s close.
3. Baltimore Ravens
Yes, they lost Terrell Suggs, but I think he’ll be able to play at some point. They also reloaded by adding Courtney Upshaw in the draft. Ed Reed is on the fence about playing, but I see at least another year from him. The Ravens ranked third in scoring defense (16.6 ppg) and total defense (288.9 ypg).
4. New York Jets
The Jets had a drop in scoring defense, ranking 20th at 22.7 ppg. They still ranked fifth in total defense at 312.1 ypg. They have made some decent additions and I expect a return to form.
5. Philadelphia Eagles
The Birds were 10th in scoring (20.5 ppg) and eight in total defense (324.9 ypg). Their first three picks were on the defensive side of the ball and DeMeco Ryans will help plug up the middle.
6. Houston Texans
They lost Mario Williams, but they did just fine without him last year finishing fourth in scoring (17.4 ppg) and second in total defense (285.7).
7. Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals finished ninth in scoring (20.2 ppg) and seventh in total defense (332.2 ypg). They added two promising rookies in the first three rounds of the NFL Draft (Kirkpatrick, Still).
8. New England Patriots
They were 15th in scoring (21.4 ppg) despite ranking 31st in total defense (411.1 ypg). They added two first-round defense players (Jones, Hightower) and four in the first three rounds.
9. Green Bay Packers
The Pack ranked dead last in total defense (411.6 ypg) but like the Pats were much better in scoring defense (19th at 22.4 ppg). They also went defense-heavy in the draft with five defensive players in the first four rounds.
10. New York Giants
The Super Bowl came on at the right time, like their previous Super Bowl run. They ranked 25th in scoring (25.0 ppg) and 27th in total defense (376.4 ypg), but they dealt with a lot of injuries. They put a lot of pressure on the QB.
11. Dallas Cowboys
They have DeMarcus Ware so they will definitely provide sacks. The Boys also bolstered their secondary.
12. Chicago Bears
I would like them better if they didn’t have four games against the Packers and the Lions.
13. Seattle Seahawks
They were ranked ninth in total defense, seventh in scoring defense and tied for fifth in takeaways. They were tied for 19th in sacks, which keeps them just outside of DEF1 territory.
14. Detroit Lions
They are anchored by Ndamukong Suh, which makes them a borderline DEF1. They make a lot of mental mistakes though.
15. Buffalo Bills
Tied for fifth with 31 takeaways. Ranked 14th in total defense and 16th in scoring defense. Mario Williams should help improve the 13th ranking for sacks.
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