The NFC West used to be known for its low scoring games, but with the lack of good quarterbacks in the division, it was harder to tell if it was just bad offense instead of good defense. But as NFC West teams led the league in defensive categories the past few years, there’s no mistaking that division is stacked on the defensive side of the ball.
NFL.com had six analysts answer which division had the best defenses in football. Of the six answers, four said the NFC West was far and beyond any other division in football when it came to defense.
NFC West is hands down the best
The Seahawks have set the standard the last several years, and I don’t expect anything different in 2016. The Arizona Cardinals are coming along and could challenge some of the league’s best defenses if they stay healthy. Recently, the Rams’ D has been dominant at times and should improve this season. Without question, this division is the best in the league. -LaDainian Tomlinson
Last season, two teams from the NFC West (Seahawks and Cardinals) were in the top-10 in fewest points allowed. The AFC West, which was the pick of two other NFL.com analysts as the best defensive division in football, was the only other division that had at least two teams in that same category (Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs).
The NFC West also had both the Seahawks and Cardinals in the top-five of fewest total yards allowed in 2015, and Seattle even led the league in fewest rushing yards allowed. The Cardinals found themselves sixth in that category.
Any team that has to play the NFC West knows those games are going to be hard-fought. The Seahawks have boasted the NFL’s No. 1 scoring defense in each of the last four years. Their defense is a headache for every team; they have studs everywhere, beginning with the defensive line and ending with arguably the best two safeties in the game (Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor). In Arizona, Bruce Arians loves to bring pressure, and bringing in Chandler Jones to play opposite Calais Campbell is huge. Not to mention, Patrick Peterson is one of the best cornerbacks in the league. The Cards have a ton of weapons.
I believe the Rams have one of the best defensive lines in the NFL — Aaron Donald is unblockable and Robert Quinn is an elite edge rusher. There is a little bit of a youth movement in San Francisco, but the unit is still fairly stout. -Shaun O’Hara
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