NFL week 1 games: What are the NFL defense rankings? Lowest rankings
The NFL produced some dumpster fires of defensive performances in week one. Some were excusable, but others were just downright disappointing. A few teams on this list won’t shock you but what’s surprising are the ones that either had great defenses last season or were projected to have good defenses this season. These were the worst defensive performances in week one.
The Atlanta Falcons got to the quarterback often against the Seattle Seahawks. Russel Wilson received pressure on about thirty-one percent of his dropbacks and sacked three times and hit another ten times. That didn’t stop him from throwing four touchdown passes, though.
The Seahawks have one of the best passing offenses, so it’s only a consolation prize to hold Seattle’s running game to eighty-four yards and five tackles for loss. The rest is on the offense to put points on the board.
The Seahawks might have won the game, but they also let the Atlanta Falcons record 506 total yards of offense. The defense definitely bent but rarely broke in week one and kept the Falcons to twenty-five points. The highlights included a fumble recovery leading to a touchdown and an interception to end the game.
They also recorded six and a half tackles for loss, seven pass deflections, and eight hits on Matt Ryan. Not bad, but the high yards allowed has us worried about what an even better team would do against Seattle’s defense.
The Cincinnati Bengals had an okay outing in week one. They didn’t play bad, but they won’t wow you if you go back and watch the game tape. The Bengals failed to get a turnover but made some strides in the backfield, nabbing two sacks, four QB hits, and four tackles for loss.
Week one was the first game as a charger for head coach Anthony Lynn and quarterback Tyrod Taylor. So the Bengals defense’s minimal success could be due to the growing pains in the Chargers’ offense, but things are looking up in Cincinnati.
The turnover battle won it for the Chicago Bears in week one. With a chance to take the lead, Kyle Fuller, on the Lions’ second to last drive of the game, intercepted Matthew Stafford on the Lions’ forty-two-yard line. Chicago was able to turn around to score a touchdown. Even with almost two minutes left, the Bears let the Lions march down the field to nearly steal the game away in the game’s final drive.
Outside of the late-game heroics, there was nothing spectacular about the Bears’ defense. They only recorded a sack, five QB hits, and allowed almost 300 receiving yards.
Last season, the Kansas City Chiefs came in fifth in points per game, and the Houston Texans ranked in the middle of the pack in points allowed. Houston drew the most challenging first two-week schedule, starting with the Chiefs and the Baltimore Ravens in week two.
Houston had no answer to Patrick Mahomes, who threw for 203 yards and three touchdowns. They also let rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire run for 138 yards and a touchdown on twenty-five attempts. It was a disappointing loss but not a huge surprise.
The Cleveland Browns got steamrolled by the Baltimore Ravens. You would think allowing thirty-eight points would be the defense’s fault, but this was a mediocre at best showing from the Browns’ defense.
The offense turned the ball over three times, and the Raven’s capitalized, scoring seventeen points on the ensuing drives. The Browns’ defense was able to create a turnover by recovering a fumble, but the offense was no help. They also recorded eight and a half tackles for loss on one of the league’s best running teams.
New York Giants
Just keeping up with the Pittsburgh Steelers is a win for the New York Giants. They had a fumble recovery, five hits and two sacks on Ben Rothesburger and four and a half tackles for loss. They finished the game within ten points. The Giants need a lot of work but we weren’t disappointed with their performance.
The Detroit Lions had no answer to the Chicago Bears passing game. Quarterback Mitchelle Trubisky threw for 242 yards and three touchdowns. Detroit’s response to the running game was not much better. While no one scored on the run, the Lions’ defense let Chicago run for 149 yards.
Las Vegas Raiders
The Las Vegas Raiders’ defense went through the motions on Sunday to coast to a 34-30 victory against the Carolina Panthers. They did some great things like holding Christian McCaffrey to 96 rushing yards & 38 receiving yards, but he still scored two touchdowns. They couldn’t get to the quarterback, pressuring Teddy Bridgewater on about ten percent of his dropbacks, getting a sack, and three hits.
The Carolina Panthers were not much better in their game against the Las Vegas Raiders. They couldn’t even touch the quarterback, let alone getting pressure on him. The Panthers were able to apply pressure on Derek Carr, league-worst, 6.7 percent of the time.
First-time NFL head coach Matt Rhule is known for turning teams around. He did so with Temple from 2013 to 2016 and Baylor from 2017 to 2019. He’s not going to turn the Panthers around overnight, but the defense definitely needs more work.
The Minnesota Vikings were just disappointing against the Green Bay Packers. The offense got to a slow start and decided to turn it around in the fourth quarter, but it was little too late for the atrocities the defense committed all game.
The Vikings ranked towards the bottom if not dead last in defense in week one. They allowed the Packers to record 522 yards of total offense, four passing touchdowns from Aaron Rogers, and a rushing touchdown from Aaron Jones.
The defense blitzed on forty-three percent of Rogers dropbacks but could only apply pressure on nine percent of them, enough for second-worst in the league. Their unsuccessful defense led to only two hits on Rogers and two tackles for loss. Minnesota looked pitiful as Green Bay scored on all but two of their drives.
We’re only in week one of the NFL season, and it’s only a small sample size. Teams will move as the season continues and some of the upsets & bad games become blips on a chart. Expect some more jumps throughout the season. Read our articles on the best & mid-tear defensive performances of week one.