Ever since the Baltimore Ravens, lead by linebacker Ray Lewis and defensive back Chris McAllister, allowed only 165 points in 16 games, the NFL has been a very offense-heavy league. Opposite of a few teams every once in awhile, 2015 was the first defense heavy year thanks to the Kansas City Chiefs, the Denver Broncos, the Carolina Panthers, the Seattle Seahawks, and arguably the most underrated, the Minnesota Vikings.
Now one could argue that since Carolina and Seattle both have prolific offenses as well, they don’t factor into the equation, but they do. Neither offense was historically significant, whereas both defenses are. For example, Seattle finished as the top scoring defense for the third year in a row, which is an NFL record. Another example is Luke Kuechly, a middle linebacker for the Carolina Panthers, has three interceptions he has returned for touchdowns this season, which is virtually unheard of for a middle linebacker to do.
Moving on the less prolific offensive teams, Denver, Minnesota, and Kansas City have absolutely terrorized opposing teams this year on defense. Two defensive backs stand out, however, one being Chris Harris Jr. for the Denver Broncos. In the last two years, he has only allowed one touchdown to be scored on him, and that was by the Steelers stud receiver Antonio Brown. The other being Marcus Peters, the standout rookie on the Kansas City Chiefs. This season he had 8 interceptions, which was tied for first in the NFL. Defensive rookie of the year? Probably.
“Now what about the Cardinals? They’re a pretty solid team,” said Hunter Gearhart, now this is true, they’re a good team. Or at least, they were. The loss of potential defensive player of the year, safety turned cornerback Tyrann Mathieu, was borderline catastrophic. Yea, they have Patrick Peterson, another very good defensive back, but they still allowed far more points than they ever did with Mathieu.
Minnesota was a solid team this year, with a strong run game and a hard hitting offense. Lead by former Iowa player, Chad Greenway, they pulverized the offensive lines of other teams and held many teams to less than 10 points. This defense of theirs allowed them to win their division over the Green Bay Packers in forever.
Now there was no team nearly as good as the 1985 Chicago Bears this year, or the 2000 Baltimore Ravens, but there were some solid defenses this season. It was fun to see low scoring battles instead of the high scoring slugfests every NFL fan is used to seeing.