Remember that old saying that defense wins championships, well that’s exactly what it is – an old saying.
This year’s NFL playoffs are an example of why that saying is outdated and may be trending to become extinct with the hiring’s that have already happened since the end of the regular season.
Out of the 12 teams that made the playoffs this season, only four were in the top 10 in defensive stats, and seven in the top 15.
But compare that to the number of teams in the top-10 offensively, 6, and nine out of the top-15, and the trend shows that the NFL is becoming an offensive league.
The No. 1 and 3-ranked defenses in the league were eliminated from the playoffs in the Wild Card round to teams with top-15 offenses.
Now in the conference championship games are where the stats get mind-boggling if you still believe championships are won by playing great defense.
The four teams looking to punch their ticket to the Super Bowl are; the Kansas City Chiefs and New England Patriots in the AFC while the New Orleans Saints and Los Angeles Rams are in the NFC.
Do any of the last four teams have a top-10 defense in the league? Nope. What about a top-15 defense? Yes, one.
The New Orleans Saints have the best ranked defense left in the playoffs with the 14th best defense in the league.
On the Saints roster are Demario Davis, No. 24 in tackles, Cameron Jordan, fourth in sacks, and Sheldon Rankins, who is 30th in sacks.
The Rams are the only other team left that’s in the top-20 of defenses, and that’s barely with the Rams coming in at No. 19. But, look at the Rams roster and you will find the league leader in sacks and the front runner for defensive player of the year in Aaron Donald combined with the 10th leading tackler in Cory Littleton and No. 19 John Johnson.
New England comes in next at No. 21 while the Kansas City Chiefs are, by far, the worst defense left in the playoffs at No. 31 out of 32 teams.
Now that we’ve looked at where the final four teams sit in defensive rankings, let’s look where they sit in offensive stats. Beware that the difference is mind-boggling.
Kansas City is the second-to-worst defensive team, but come in at No. 1 offensively in the league, and the No. 1 scoring team.
The Los Angeles Rams come in at No. 2, as well as the No. 2 scoring team with the most well-balanced offense in the league regarding rushing and passing yards.
New England rounds out the top-five as the New Orleans Saints roll in at No. 8 in total offense. But New Orleans is No. 3 in scoring as the Patriots are right behind them at No. 4.
So, going into the final two games of the NFL season we have the No. 1, 2, 3, and 4-ranked offenses scoring wise, and only one top-15 defenses.
Next time someone says, “defense wins championships,” remind them of the 2018-19 NFL season, which put that old saying to rest.
We should be in for three incredible games to wrap up the NFL season, and hopefully you will be able to enjoy the last seconds of this record-setting season.