Predicting The Top 10 NFL Defenses In 2022

Aaron Donald, DT, LA Rams
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Offense wins games but defense wins championships. Football fans hear that saying all the time but it is especially true in the NFL. Since 2013, defenses that ranked top-10 in points allowed per game during the regular season have won the Super Bowl seven times in nine years. In this article, we will predict the top-10 NFL defenses ahead of the 2022 regular season and explain in detail why each defense will finish in the top-10. 

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Top 10 NFL Defenses in 2022

Several defenses have made moves to bolster their defense ahead of the 2022 regular season.

The Los Angeles Chargers are hoping that adding Khalil Mack opposite Joey Bosa will give them another force on the edge. But, will a dominant pass rush be enough to overcome the deficiencies that made Los Angeles one of the worst scoring defenses in the NFL in 2021?

Meanwhile, the Buffalo Bills, New Orleans Saints, and Los Angeles Rams also added key pieces to defenses that were already considered among the most elite units from a year ago.

Below, we’ll go over our list of the top NFL defenses and break down the key additions, departures, and rookies to watch out for each defense.

10. Los Angeles Chargers

Joey Bosa Chargers
  • Key Defensive Additions: Edge Khalil Mack CB J.C. Jackson, CB Bryce Callahan, LB Kyle Van Noy, and DE Sebastian Joseph-Day
  • Key Defensive Departures: DT Justin Jones, Edge Uchenna Nwosu, and Edge Kyler Fackrell
  • Key Draft Additions: S JT Woods
  • NFL Defensive Player of the Year Candidate: Joey Bosa (+2500 odds)

Last season, the defense was an issue for the Chargers, ranking 29th in the league in points per game allowed.

They spent a lot of money during the offseason to fix the problem, signing two huge defensive players in J.C. Jackson and Khalil Mack.

Sebastian Joseph-Day was brought in to help with rush defense. They ranked 30th in rushing yards allowed per game last season.

With Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack rushing the passer and J.C. Jackson and Derwin James in the secondary, the Chargers will have a much-improved defense in 2022. 

9. Indianapolis Colts

Darius Leonard Colts
  • Key Defensive Additions: Edge Yannick Ngakoue and CB Stephon Gilmore
  • Key Defensive Departures: CB Rock Ya-Sin and Edge Al-Quadin Muhammad
  • Key Draft Additions: S Nick Cross
  • NFL Defensive Player of the Year Candidate: Darius Leonard (+2500 odds)

Last season, the Colts were good on defense, ranking 11th in ppg allowed. 

The addition of Stephon Gilmore will help the secondary. They ranked 19th in passing yards allowed per game last season. 

The rush defense was solid, ranking 11th in rushing yards allowed per game last year.

The Colts finished second in total takeaways last year.   

Yannick Ngakoue had 10 sacks last season and paired with Kwity Paye and DeForest Buckner, the Colts have a very formidable defensive line.

Darius Leonard is one of the best defensive players in the NFL.

Not enough people talk about the Colts’ defense but they will be one of the best in the league in 2022. 

8. Dallas Cowboys

Predicting The Top 10 NFL Defenses In 2022
  • Key Defensive Additions: Edge Dante Fowler
  • Key Defensive Departures: Edge Randy Gregory
  • Key Draft Additions: Edge Sam Williams
  • NFL Defensive Player of the Year Candidate: Micah Parsons (+800 odds)

The Dallas Cowboys had a bend but don’t break defense last season.

They ranked 8th in the league last year in points allowed per game but 20th in both passing yards allowed per game and rushing yards allowed per game.

Trevon Diggs led the league with 11 interceptions last season.

The Cowboys led the league in interceptions and takeaways.

Micah Parsons was named 1st team All-Pro and unanimous Defensive Rookie of the Year. He finished the season with 84 total tackles, 13 sacks, and three forced fumbles. Parsons is also tied with TJ Watt as the odds-on favorite to win the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year Award at BetOnline, one of the best NFL betting sites.

A team that is capable of taking the ball away from opposing teams is always a dangerous defense. Dallas will have one of the better NFL defenses once again in 2022.  

7. Green Bay Packers

Rashaun Gary Packers
  • Key Defensive Additions: CB Rasul Douglas, LB De’Vondre Campbell, and DE Jarran Reed
  • Key Defensive Departures: Edge Za’Darius Smith
  • Key Draft Additions: LB Quay Walker and DT Devonte Wyatt
  • NFL Defensive Player of the Year Candidate: Rasahan Gary (+1600 odds)

Green Bay was 10th in points allowed per game last season.

They used two first-round selections on defense in this year’s draft.

The Packers ranked top 10 in both passing yards allowed per game and rushing yards allowed per game last year.

Led by NFL Defensive Player of the Year candidate Rasahan Gary, Green Bay ranked eighth in total takeaways in 2021.

Jaire Alexander played in just three games last year. Alexander is one of the best CBs in the NFL.

With Alexander’s return and two first-round selections on defense, the Packers will have a top-notch defense.  

6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Predicting The Top 10 NFL Defenses In 2022
  • Key Defensive Additions:
  • Key Defensive Departures: S Jordan Whitehead
  • Key Draft Additions: DE Logan Hall
  • NFL Defensive Player of the Year Candidate: Devin White (+2500 odds)

Tampa Bay has ranked seventh in points allowed per game two years in a row.

They ranked third last year and first in 2020 in rushing yards allowed per game.

The Bucs ranked sixth in total takeaways last year.

Pass defense was a weakness last season, as they ranked 24th in passing yards allowed per game.

The secondary is still suspect for the Bucs, which is why they did not crack the top-five.

 

Top Five Defenses in the NFL (2022)

5. San Francisco 49ers

Predicting The Top 10 NFL Defenses In 2022
  • Key Defensive Additions: CB Charvarius Ward, DE Kenny Hyder Jr, and LB Oren Burks
  • Key Defensive Departures: CB K’Waun Williams and Edge Arden Key
  • Key Draft Additions: LB Drake Jackson
  • NFL Defensive Player of the Year Candidate: Nick Bosa (+1200 odds)

San Francisco’s defense was excellent last season. They ranked fifth in points allowed per game, sixth in rushing yards allowed per game, and seventh in passing yards allowed per game.

Nick Bosa is one of the best pass rushers and Fred Warner is one of the best LBs in the NFL.

Bosa, Dee Ford, Javon Kinlaw, and Arik Armstead make one of the best defensive lines in the league.

The 49ers have a great all-around defense and they will once again be one of the best units in the NFL. 

4. New Orleans Saints

Predicting The Top 10 NFL Defenses In 2022
  • Key Defensive Additions: S Tyrann Mathieu
  • Key Defensive Departures: S Marcus Williams
  • Key Draft Additions: S Alontae Taylor and LB D’Marco Jackson
  • NFL Defensive Player of the Year Candidate: Tyrann Mathieu (+7500 odds)

New Orleans ranked fourth in points allowed per game and rushing yards allowed per game last year,

This defense is led by two superstars, CB Marshon Lattimore and DE Cameron Jordan.

LB Demario Davis is a great leader for the defense.

New Orleans brought in the Honey Badger, Tyrann Mathieu. Mathieu is a playmaker and will play very well in this system.

Despite losing starting QB, Jameis Winston for more than half the season, the Saints’ defense led them to a 9-8 record.

It is very difficult to run on the Saints and score on them. New Orleans will have a top-level defense once again in 2022. 

3. Los Angeles Rams

Jalen Ramsey LA Rams
  • Key Defensive Additions: LB Bobby Wagner
  • Key Defensive Departures: Edge Von Miller, CB Darious Williams, and DL Sebastian Joseph-Day
  • Key Draft Additions: CB Decobie Durant and S Quentin Lake
  • NFL Defensive Player of the Year Candidate: Aaron Donald (+1000 odds)

The defending Super Bowl Champions finished ninth in points allowed per game last season.

As if having Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey was not enough, the Rams signed Bobby Wagner in the offseason. 

They have a star player at each level on defense, as well as an abundance of support.

The Rams ranked fifth in rushing yards allowed per game in 2021.

Los Angeles ranked fifth in sacks per game. They lost Vonn Miller, which hurts their chances of finishing top five once again.

Aaron Donald is the best defensive player in the league. Bobby Wagner remains of the best LBs in the game and Jalen Ramsey is a top-notch CB.

Los Angeles is stacked and will have a fantastic defense in 2022. 

2. Buffalo Bills

Von Miller Buffalo Bills
  • Key Defensive Additions: Edge Von Miller
  • Key Defensive Departures: Edge Jerry Hughes and Edge Mario Addison
  • Key Draft Additions: CB Kaiir Elam and LB Terrel Bernard
  • NFL Defensive Player of the Year Candidate: Von Miller (+4000 odds)

The Buffalo Bills finished last season ranking first in points allowed per game and passing yards allowed per game.

The Bills were also excellent at taking the ball away, ranking third in total takeaways in 2021.

How do you make a defense that finished first in points allowed per game last season even better? You sign pass rusher Vonn Miller. Buffalo wishes they had Miller last year versus the Chiefs in the playoffs. Miller has 25.5 sacks in the fourth quarter and overtime since 2016. The only player with more is Aaron Donald. 

Tre’Davious White tore his ACL in week 12 last year. Boy, the Bills could have used him as well in the playoffs against the Chiefs. Buffalo will need him fully healthy, as he is one of the best CBs in the league. 

Buffalo has a dominant defense and they will be a force once again in 2022.

The Best NFL Defense in 2022 Will Be… 

1. Denver Broncos

Patrick Surtain Jr Denver Broncos
  • Key Defensive Additions: Edge Randy Gregory
  • Key Defensive Departures: DT Shelby Harris and DE Stephen Weatherly
  • Key Draft Additions: LB Nik Bonitto, CB Damarri Mathis, and DE Eyioma Uwazurike
  • NFL Defensive Player of the Year Candidate: Bradley Chubb (+6600 odds)

The Broncos ranked second in points allowed per game in 2021.

If you have noticed a trend, seven out of the top 10 teams on the list have a top-notch QB. In the offseason, the Denver Broncos acquired star QB, Russell Wilson.

A top-level QB allows a defense to play a bit looser and with a lead. This takes the pressure off a bit and greatly helps the defense be successful.

Pass rusher Bradley Chubb, CB Pat Surtain II, and Safety Justin Simmons lead a very talented defense.

Denver also added another pass rusher in the offseason in Randy Gregory.

With a young talented defensive roster and finally having a capable QB, Denver will finish the 2022 season with the best defense in the league.

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