The last few years have seen the rise of the passing offense thanks to sharper quarterback play, the evolution of the spread offense and rule changes that freed up receivers. The Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints rode their explosive offenses and opportunistic defenses to Super Bowl titles.
Now, the Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals are doing all they can to turn the logic that only offense wins. Or shatter it when a bone-crushing hit from monstrous defensive lineman Calais Campbell or Chris Clemons.
The Seahawks have taken old school football to the extreme. They actually refer to throwing the ball as the "forward pass." It's fitting then that they are last in the league in passing, averaging an incredible 127 yards per game. LaDainian Tomlinson probably threw for more yards in a season.
However, Seattle does have the sixth-best rushing attack behind Marshawn Lynch. They pile up a tidy 141 yards per game, which leads to usually winning the time of possession battle and resting the defense.
The Seahawks have saddled that defense and ridden their way to two wins in three games. While most teams need to score more than 20 points per contest to win, Seattle doesn't because they have limited their opponents to a ridiculous 10.5.
The same blueprint is being followed in the desert, but with even better execution.
Without a loss in three games, the Cardinals have put themselves in the contender discussion. They have spent high draft picks on both sides of the ball, but the defensive draftees have panned out at a much higher rate.
The aforementioned Campbell, as well as Darnell Dockett, Adrian Wilson and Patrick Peterson have provided the backbone of a ridiculously athletic defense. Ray Horton keeps pressing the right buttons and the players are responding.
Good thing too, because the offense isn't likely to win any games for them. The Cards aren't doing much better than the Seahawks in the air with 181 yards per game and can't run it nearly as well (81 ypg). The defense has been relied upon and it's sturdy enough to get the job done.
As the pass-heavy Packers, Saints and New England Patriots struggle for victories, the Seahawks and Cardinals keep cruising along.
Old school football still has plenty of value in 2012.