Tennessee Titans are top-5 defense in the only metrics that matter

The Tennessee Titans defense is putting in work.

The Tennessee Titans defense consistently makes plays when they need to, but it is more than that. This defense is a top-5 unit in the NFL.

If you have heard me on the Titan Sized podcast, you know that I believe that defense boils down to 3 stats:

1. Points allowed

2. Sacks

3. Turnovers

Points allowed because it is the only thing that really matters. At the end of the game, teams don’t count up yards and figure out who won that way. Nope, it is all points and while that is simplistic it is important to remember.

Sacks are important because it is the most consistent way to measure impact plays from a defense. Derrik Klassen once wrote this:

“939 out of 1,118 sacks (83.99%) last year resulted in a drive being killed. Conversely, just 179 out of 1,118 sacks (16.01%) resulted in the offense being able to bounce back and sustain their drive, even if just for one more set of downs. The difference is staggering. Defenses are almost 70% more likely to kill a drive after getting a sack than they are to surrender another set of downs. At first glance, the old adage that sacks kill drives holds true.”

Sacks are the lifeblood of a good defense and there impact can’t be overstated.

The last stat is turnovers, this is easily the most volatile stat on the list. For example, the Titans have forced 5 fumbles this year and only one has been recovered so far. That ratio isn’t likely to continue over the season, but fumble recoveries are historically random.

Taking all of those stats into consideration, this is a composite ranking of the three stats.

TeamSacksTOsPoints rankTotal (low is better)
Chicago Bears

1

2

3

6

Green Bay Packers

4

9

11

24

Cleveland Browns

7

1

19

27

Tennessee Titans

7

14

6

27

New York Jets

12

3

13

28

Indianapolis Colts

2

9

18

29

Baltimore Ravens

12

14

3

29

Seattle Seahawks

18

5

9

32

LA Rams

21

6

5

32

Pittsburgh Steelers

4

6

25

35

Jacksonville Jaguars

12

25

1

38

Carolina Panthers

21

9

8

38

Philadelphia Eagles

9

21

9

39

Dallas Cowboys

3

31

7

41

Buffalo Bills

12

9

20

41

Washington Redskins

27

14

2

43

Houston Texans

9

14

21

44

Miami Dolphins

28

3

14

45

New England Patriots

28

6

12

46

Cincinnati Bengals

12

14

23

49

Arizona Cardinals

12

21

16

49

Minnesota Vikings

9

21

22

52

Detroit Lions

4

25

24

53

LA Chargers

21

9

27

57

Denver Broncos

18

25

15

58

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

21

14

32

67

New Orleans Saints

18

25

28

71

Atlanta Falcons

21

21

29

71

San Francisco 49ers

21

25

26

72

New York Giants

31

25

17

73

Oakland Raiders

31

14

31

76

Kansas City Chiefs

28

31

30

89

 

So effectively, your top 5 defenses through the first four weeks are:

1. Chicago Bears

2. Green Bay Packers

3. Cleveland Browns

4. Tennessee Titans

5 . New York Jets

That isn’t what you would expect based off preseason narratives, but those are the teams playing the best on defense right now.