The 10 Best NFL Defenses Over the Last Decade

We've seen a lot of great defenses over the last 10 year, but which ones were best?

Have you seen Brian Urlacher recently? His iconic bald head that we remember him by is now full of hair.

And Ray Lewis spent last season sitting a desk analyzing games for ESPN.

It's hard to believe that we haven’t seen either of them in an NFL game for three years now, and it makes me think back on some of the great defenses we had the pleasure of watching during their time. And then, of course, that leads to wondering whether any other defenses recently compared to the teams that they led.

Thankfully, here at numberFire, we have a metric called Adjusted Defensive Net Expected Points (NEP), which quantifies the total number of points a team has performed above or below the value that another team in a similar situation would have. So an average team would have an Adjusted (for strength of schedule) Defensive NEP of zero, and anyone with a negative value – since we are talking about points allowed for defense – would be considered performing above expectation.

The Denver Broncos finished 2015 at the top of the league with a -73.16 Adjusted Defensive NEP, while the next best rating in the NFL was the Chiefs at -27.81. That stellar defense was good enough to carry the league's 30th-ranked offense all the way to a Super Bowl Victory, but was it one of the top-10 defenses over of the last decade?