NFL Defensive Power Rankings in NFC for 2015-16 NFL Season

Jason Lake

Thursday, July 30, 2015 12:08 PM GMT

Make sure that chinstrap is done up tightly, because we're going to put a hat on the 16 defenses in the NFC. Who's got the right stuff to make our NFL picks shine in 2015?

When we looked at the top defenses in the AFC, it wasn't too difficult to put the Denver Broncos in first place going into the 2015 campaign. It's even easier to kick off our power rankings for the NFC. If you haven't already guessed who's No. 1, you haven't been watching the NFL the past few years. In which case: Welcome, glad to have you on board. We hope you'll find these rankings useful when you're putting together your NFL picks for the new season.

 

NFC's Top Defenses

1. Seattle Seahawks

2. Philadelphia Eagles

3. Minnesota Vikings

4. Arizona Cardinals

5. Detroit Lions

6. St. Louis Rams

7. Carolina Panthers

8. Green Bay Packers

9. New York Giants

10. San Francisco 49ers

11. Washington

12. Dallas Cowboys

13. Atlanta Falcons

14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

15. New Orleans Saints

16. Chicago Bears

 

Making It Rain
There's no doubt the Seahawks still have the best defense in the entire NFL, as they have for each of the past two seasons according to both the efficiency stats at Football Outsiders and the Simple Rating System at Pro Football Reference. Seattle has managed to keep this unit largely intact; it was built through the draft and the relatively inexpensive rookie contracts that come with it. Of course, now everyone's threatening to hold out for new deals, so don't expect the good times to last much longer.

 

Boomtown
Sorting things out from there wasn't easy. The Lions had the second-best defense in the NFC last year, again both by DVOA and SRS, but they lost four-time Pro Bowl DT Ndamukong Suh to the Miami Dolphins in free agency. The advanced stats weren't sure what to make of the Eagles; we've got their defense taking a big leap in 2015 with the arrival of two former members of Seattle's Legion of Boom: cornerbacks Bryon Maxwell and Walter Thurmond III. The spotlight has been on Philly's offensive makeover, as one might expect, but the upgrade to the Eagles secondary could be the deciding factor in the NFC East this year.

 

Twist of Fate
There's some buzz out there for the Panthers defense, which ranked third overall in the league just two years ago, but the suspension (and now the departure) of DE Greg Hardy took the wind out of their sails. Hardy's value to his new employers, the Cowboys, was increased when his 10-game suspension for 2015 was reduced to four games, but we're still skeptical about Dallas after last year's defense finished No. 22 overall in efficiency.

 

Southern Cross
Awful defense did a number on the NFC South last year, and we've still got three of the four teams near the bottom of the pile. Cutting LB Junior Galette last week won't do anything to help the Saints pass rush in the short term. The Falcons figure to be the best of the bunch after placing dead last in DVOA in 2014, but that's not saying much. Maybe Carolina belongs in our NFL picks after all.

Must Read: Handicapping NFL's Offensive Power Rankings in NFC