"Defense wins championships … "
If you've hung out around team sports long enough, you may have heard the expression "Defense wins championships." These teams are the living embodiment of that saying. Except for the Raiders. Fuck the Raiders.
1) Denver Broncos
There has only been one team in NFL history to win the Super Bowl with under 200 offensive yards — the 2016 Denver Broncos. That's saying a lot, especially when your quarterback in the big game is Peyton Manning and the only offensive touchdown of it came in the last four minutes.
Last year the Broncos led the NFL in forced fumbles with 25 and in sacks with 52. And their quarterback had, well, a less than stellar retirement year.
But now, it's the beginning of a new season, and the Broncos are already dominating other team's offensive strategies. They are one of only eight undefeated teams going into week three and have already recorded eight sacks, four of which come from Von Miller.
Last week, the Broncos' defense came in clutch with a late-game fumble recovery for a touchdown against the Colts. That was their second defensive touchdown of the year, double the amount Cincinnati, Oakland, San Diego, and Chicago had all last year (Chicago didn't have a single one). It's not even October and their already eclipsing entire teams' yearly outputs.
At this rate they could have a child playing quarterback and still win games. They didn't need Manning to win a super bowl, and he is one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time.
2) Houston Texans
The Texans have notably one of the most stacked and tenacious defenses in the NFL. Led by the freight train that is J.J. Watt, the Texans have held teams to only seven third down conversions this year. That's a 75 percent stop rate on third downs.
They've also recorded a total of 9 sacks, and have held their opponents to just 24 minutes of combined possession time so far this year.
Last season, J.J. Watt led the league in sacks with 17.5, which isn't even his best season (he had 20.5 in 2012).
The Texans are set to dominate the AFC South this year, assuming their defense can remain healthy throughout the season.
3) Carolina Panthers
Debatably the leagues' most unexpected success story of 2015, the Carolina Panthers fought their way to a 15-1 regular season record and a Super Bowl battle against the Broncos.
Although this team is still young, they are well on their way to becoming a powerhouse in the NFL.
Last year they led the NFL in interceptions with 24 and tied for second in forced fumbles with 24.
Their defense, led by Luke Kuechly, is known for having a powerful set of linebackers and an incredibly fast set of cornerbacks.
After a close loss to the Denver Broncos in a rematch of super bowl 50, the Panthers went on to dominate San Francisco with a 46-27 victory over the West Coast team.
4)The Flop: Oakland Raiders
Going into week three the Raiders have already given up 68 total points and over 500 yards in both of the games so far this year. No team has given up that many yards in the first two games since the NFL merger of 1970.
Back in May, Raiders' linebacker Khalil Mack said the Raiders' defense was on its way to being as good as the 2015 Denver Bronco's. Something they have yet to live up to.
This is a defense that did show a lot of promise last year ranking 6th in tackles, 14th in sacks and tying the Broncos for interceptions with 14.
Going into the 2016 season the Raiders were confident in their team's defense, but after the first two games it is clear that this team is still in the rebuilding process.