Originally Posted by adpz
Top 8 defenses - 5 of those teams were in the playoffs. And Chicago just missed (and went 10-6).
Bottom 9 defenses - Pats, Washington and Indy made the playoffs.
Going back a few years tells pretty much the same story: easier to be playoff-bound with a great D unless you have a QB/offense that really does allow your D to bend-not-break.
Going to points-allowed-per-game hugely increases the correlation to being a playoff team. Defense still counts plenty.
I don't know where you're getting your numbers, but they're off a little. Below are the top 15 defenses in the NFL this season;
1 - Seattle
2 - SF
3 - Bears
4 - Denver
5 - Atlanta
6 - Pittsburgh
7 - Miami
8 - Cincy
T9 - The New England Patriots
T9 - Houston
11 - Green Bay
T12 - New York Giants
T12 - Baltimore
T14 - Minny
T14 - SL
The only playoff teams not on that list are Indy and the Skins, who are tied at 21st and went one-and-done in the playoffs.
I also noticed how highly ranked the Broncos were. After watching them play a few times I have to believe that those numbers are skewed by the easy schedule they played.
The remaining four defenses that are in the conference finals are; #2 SF vs #5 Atlanta in the NFC and #9 NE vs #12 Baltimore in the AFC. If I had to pick a winner of the SB I have to admit that the 49ers look real tough to beat.
Let us also not forget that the last team to win the SB in the NFL is the New York Football Giants, and they did it with defense.