NFL Defense Stats 2015

See the latest NFL team defense stats and rankings for the 2015 football season.

Statistics display the best NFL teams against the run and pass.

Also see: 2016 Super Bowl Odds | Expert NFL Picks

All too often, bettors get caught up in who has the best quarterback and which team can figure out how to put 30 or 40 points on the board when they make their NFL picks. However, you really have to pay close attention to the NFL defensive stats and rankings to find which teams are the better bets more often than not.

If you need the perfect exhibit as to where a good defense trumps a good offense, just go back to the Super Bowl at the start of 2014 at MetLife Stadium. QB Peyton Manning and his Denver Broncos put together a truly historic offensive season, including the fact that he threw 55 TDs in the regular season. That said, they were taking on the Seattle Seahawks, who had a defense which allowed just 273.6 yards per game, nearly 30 fewer yards than any other team allowed in the NFL. The Seahawks weren’t just the winners that day; they were dominant, winning 43-8 in one of the biggest blowouts in Super Bowl history.

It’s not just the Seahawks that prove to be that example of defense being king, though. Look at the San Francisco 49ers. From 2011-2013, they made it to at least the NFC Championship Game. They didn’t do it because they had a fantastic offense, especially when QB Colin Kaepernick was a rookie. They did it because they had a defense that was able to hold down even some of the best offenses in the game.

Opposing quarterback rating is the biggest stat that we can preach about when we look at the NFL defensive stats and rankings. That Seattle team held opposing quarterbacks to a 61.02 rating for the year in 2013. No other team had better than a 71.98 quarterback rating allowed for the year, and three of the four teams that held opponents down to quarterback ratings of less than 75 won their divisions.

Sacks and turnovers forced are always important stats as well, though they aren’t the end all, be all. A defense like the 2013 Cincinnati Bengals only had 43 sacks, but that team still held foes down to 19.1 points per game. Why was that? DT Geno Atkins does get a lot of sacks, but he is more a man who can cause disruptions and do things that you don’t see on the stat sheet. That said, if a team can get into the high-50s in sacks for the year, it’s not often that a defense isn’t very good. The 2013 Carolina Panthers had a whopping 60 sacks a season ago, and along with that impressive stat came a defense which allowed just 15.1 points per game.

Turnovers too, are almost a little bit more luck than skill, though generally speaking, there are a few team that are on the right side of turnover margin every single year. However, when you look at a team like the Kansas City Chiefs from 2013, you’ll see that they had the best +/- in the league in turnover margin. That was more luck than good, though, and that was shown in the first round of the playoffs when they allowed 45 points to the Indianapolis Colts.

What might separate the successful handicappers from the ones who aren’t able to beat the NFL odds is an understanding of how important defense is. Don’t ever forget to analyze the NFL defensive rankings and standings before you bet on a game.