NFL: Ranking all 32 defences from 'Elite' to 'More Holes Than Swiss Cheese'

In the latest of our tier ranking articles, we take a look at which defences are looking good ahead of the 2022 NFL season, and which teams should be worried with what they have.

There is an old adage in the NFL that is often thrown around which began with University of Alabama head coach Paul William ‘Bear’ Bryant, and that is that ‘defence wins championships’. And throughout the years there have been plenty of defensive units that have helped guide their teams to winning the Super Bowl. 

Whether it be the Pittsburgh Steelers teams of the 1970s that were led by the ‘Steel Curtain’, the 1985 Chicago Bears or the ‘Legion of Boom’ that helped guide the Seattle Seahawks to a Super Bowl back in 2013, a well-organised and dominant defence can provide the backbone to a successful championship run.

Whether or not any of the 32 teams in the NFL this season quite have the ability to join the ranks of those illustrious groups that have gone before them, it is far too early to say. However there are still some very dangerous groups that can wreak havoc on opposing offences whenever they want. 

Using, we have come up with five different categories to divide the teams up into based on how well we think they are going to do this season:


Teams that could carry their team to a championship on their own without the offence’s help


Pretty dominant, but perhaps have one or two holes that would need fixing before jumping up a level

Middle of the Road:

Nothing really special, can make plays but not someone you would rely on to guide you to a title


Plenty of work needs to be done, will need the offence to carry a lot of the load

More holes than Swiss Cheese:

Could leave you battling for the number one pick

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So with those parameters set down, here is our list and where we think that the respective defences rank heading into the 2022 season:

Elite: Buffalo Bills, Los Angeles Rams

Contenders: Pittsburgh Steelers, Los Angeles Chargers, Dallas Cowboys, Carolina Panthers, Cincinnati Bengals, San Francisco 49ers, Tennessee Titans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Philadelphia Eagles

Middle of the Road: Kansas City Chiefs, Baltimore Ravens, Washington Commanders, New York Giants, New England Patriots, Jacksonville Jaguars, Miami Dolphins, Green Bay Packers, Indianapolis Colts, New Orleans Saints, Arizona Cardinals, Chicago Bears, Las Vegas Raiders

Pretenders: New York Jets, Minnesota Vikings, Cleveland Browns, Denver Broncos

More holes than Swiss Cheese: Houston Texans, Detroit Lions, Seattle Seahawks, Atlanta Falcons

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