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Case Closed: The San Francisco 49ers Have the NFL's Best Defense

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 14:  Defensive tackle Justin Smith #94 and linebacker Patrick Willis #52 of the San Francisco 49ers wait for a play against the New York Giants in the third quarter on October 14, 2012 at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California.  The Giants won 26-3. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
Brian Bahr/Getty Images
Thomas GaliciaContributor IIOctober 25, 2016

The San Francisco 49ers' Monday Night Football matchup against the Arizona Cardinals was a great case for confirmation bias, if you believed prior to the game that the 49ers had the best defense in the NFL.

If you didn't believe that, this game should've changed your mind.

They may lack the scoring of the Chicago Bears' vaunted defense, or the tipped passes caused by J.J. Watt and the Houston Texans' defensive unit, but the San Francisco 49ers are the best defense in the NFL.

They showed that against the Arizona Cardinals.

The 49ers defense does it in the most methodical way possible: They just keep teams from moving the ball, and they keep teams from scoring. While scoring on turnovers makes for a nice bonus, the main goal of a defensive unit is to simply stop the other team from moving up the field. A three-and-out is still a great defensive series.

The 49ers have done that plenty of times.

Their defense is now ranked first overall in the league in yards allowed per game, with opposing teams averaging only 271.4 yards per game and 12.9 points per game.

Those numbers are first overall in the NFL.

The San Francisco pass defense is second in the NFL.

They're only allowing 184 yards per game through the air. Their run defense isn't at the top of the NFL, but I'm sure they'll manage. They've only allowed 87.3 rushing yards per game, good for seventh in the NFL.

I mentioned earlier that San Francisco hasn't been as prolific at creating turnovers as the Chicago Bears or Houston Texans.

While this is true, they haven't exactly been slouches in that department. They have 11 takeaways this season. Five of them have been interceptions, while six of them have been fumble recoveries.

They haven't scored at all off of those turnovers, but the more turnovers they force, the more likely it is that they will turn those turnovers into points.

That doesn't take anything away from what they have done on defense, since they don't allow teams to score anyways.

Ignore the flashy stats and look at the cold, hard ones.

San Francisco has the best defense in the NFL.

They showed the world exactly why that's the case with their great performance against the Arizona Cardinals on Monday Night Football.

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