The 10 best defensive teams in the NFL

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Jan 19, 2014; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor (31) celebrates with linebacker Malcom Smith (53) and safety Earl Thomas (29) and cornerback Byron Maxwell (41) after intercepting a pass in the fourth quarter against the San Francisco 49ers in the 2013 NFC Championship football game at CenturyLink Field. The Seahawks defeated the 49ers 23-17 to advance to Super Bowl XLVIII. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

In the NFL there is a long-held belief that defense wins championships. While the league has migrated more and more to a pass heavy offensive game, defense is still a vital part of a winning team. Last season the Seattle Seahawks won the Super Bowl largely because they had the best defense in the NFL. They weren’t alone either. Teams like the San Francisco 49ers and Carolina Panthers were also among the best teams in the NFL thanks to their great defensive units. So despite the evolution of the passing game in the NFL which has produced some prolific numbers, the “defense wins championships” mantra still rings true.

There are many elements that make up a great defense. Yards allowed, the ability to get pressure on the quarterback, getting stops on third down, and creating turnovers are all part of the equation, but the ultimate measuring stick (at least in this writer’s mind) is how many points they allow. After all, in simplest terms, the game is won by the team that scores more points than their opponent.

Not every good defense is built the same. Some focus on stopping the run, others place extra emphasis on blitzing the quarterback. The Seahawks became one of the top defenses in the league in large part because of their fantastic secondary (A.K.A. the Legion of Boom). Some defenses are built around a few star players while others are more of a group effort. There are some teams that have proven defensive coordinators that seem to have good defenses year after year even with turnover on their personnel. Regardless of how teams are getting the job done, the end results are all that matter.

So which teams will boast elite defensive units in 2014?

Let’s start with No. 10……

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