Written By: Andy Flint
Defense is the glue that holds an entire franchise together. Without the hard-hitting line-backers, ball-hawking defensive backs, and a defensive front, built on strength, agility and blazing speed, most professional teams would simply fall short. I’m a huge advocate for strong defensive play. I believe a team can only be as strong as its defense. This is my prediction for what teams have the best defensive potential for the upcoming season.
“You bet. We own the Titans. I remember the good old days when I would blow up Eddie George with a big hit. Now, they’ve got another running back with two first names, Travis Henry, whom I plan on blowing up in the same manner.” -Ray Lewis
#5: New York Jets:
The bone-shattering New York Jet defense has become somewhat of an NFL staple over the course of the last couple of seasons. Coach Rex Ryan doesn’t accept anything but greatness from his players and he holds everyone accountable for their actions on the field. The Jets defense is fueled by perennial shut-down corner-back, Darrelle Revis. “Revis Island” has become a common term in popular football ramble, and is known as a cold and lonely place for vacationing wide-receivers. I expect that Rex Ryan and the Jets defense will continue to improve, Bart Scott, Revis and cast, should continue to excel on the defensive end of the ball.
2010/2011 Defensive Stats: 19.0 ppg (6th), 291.5 yards per game (3rd), 200.6 passing yards per game (6th), 90.9 rushing yards per game (3rd):
#4: Chicago Bears:
The Chicago Bears and it’s defense have been a long-standing NFL tradition. We all recall the Bears defensive units from the 80′s, and surly we all recall the defensive work they put in a few years ago. The defense that would propel them to a 13-3 record, and carry them straight into the 2007 Super-Bowl? The Bears had a run of bad luck after their success in 2007. Urlacher, who is the heart and soul of their defense, was hit with injury, and they had some off the field issues unfold. But, it seems as if they found their way again last season. While they’ll need to get better against the pass, I’m sure they’ll put up stout numbers across the board.
2010/2011 Defensive Stats: 17.9 ppg (4th), 314.3 yards per game (9th), 224.2 passing yards per game (20th), 90.1 rushing yards per game (2nd):
“My object is to stop the guy with the ball before he gains another inch.” -Dick Lane
#3: Baltimore Ravens:
I find it hard to argue against the Ravens defense. These guys are tough, they’re gritty, and they play with every ounce of Baltimore behind them. “Purple Pain” is one of the most exciting, and bone-crushing defensive units that I have ever witnessed. Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and Terrell Suggs fully embody the fierce spirit of old-school defensive punishment, and they look good doing it. Their heated rivalry with the fellow defensive-minded, black and yellow wearing, Pittsburgh Steelers only makes us want to see more games like last seasons’ playoff game. I expect the Ravens defense to button-up behind their “bread-n-butter” and have an incredible defensive season!
2010/2011 Defensive Stats: 16.9 ppg (3rd), 318.9 yards per game (10th), 224.9 passing yards per game (21st), 93.9 rushing yards per game (5th):
#2: Green Bay Packers:
Explosive, energetic, young, and scary as hell. That is the way I view the Green Bay Packers defense. These guys are animals, and they’re on a mission to prove just how good they can be. I think we’ll see them lose some mistakes they made from last season, and come full circle with a ridiculous 2011/2012 NFL season. The Packers defense, led by the man-child, Clay Matthews, are going to make noise for many seasons to come. These guys are fast, they hit hard, and they understand the game. They’ve already added a Super-Bowl to their collection, but I expect to see them keep playing with a big chip on their shoulders.
2010/2011 Defensive Stats: 15.0 ppg (2nd), 309.1 yards per game (5th), 194.2 passing yards per game (5th), 114.9 rushing yards per game (18th):
“I thought I came back to win a Super Bowl. But I found out in the middle of last season that’s not what I came back for. I came back for these men inside the locker room. It wasn’t about playing with those guys, it was about allowing those guys to see the man behind the persona.” -Deion Sanders
#1: Pittsburgh Steelers:
The Pittsburgh Steelers continue to prove time and time again that, defense wins in the NFL. These guys have been the absolute terrors of the league over the past decade, and beyond. I recall seeing clips of the “Steel Curtain”, and those guys were intimidating. Today’s Steelers aren’t a far cry from those old-school, grid-iron warriors. Sure, James Harrison is an idiot, but he’s a phenomenal defensive animal, and a great enforcer on the field. The Steelers, Led by Troy Polamalu, seem to set the bar for defensive play, each and every season. I expect to keep seeing these guys go out there and blow opposing players up, every single down.
2010/2011 Defensive Stats: 14.5 ppg (1st), 276.8 yards per game (2nd), 214.1 passing yards (12th), 62.8 rushing yards per game (1st):