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Old 04-07-2007, 05:35 AM    (permalink
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Default A thought...

Okay, so I was just thinking (scary, right?), and I realized something: it seems that a good NFL defense does not guarantee a winning record, but a good NFL offense pretty much does.

Take for example, the Raiders. They had a top NFL defense last year, but stunk up the joint with an abhorrent offense. I believe Miami had a top D last year, but they didn't do well, either. There seems to be many examples of teams with good defenses but bad offenses that are bad teams. Yet, there are also examples of teams with good defenses and bad offenses that were good/okay teams, such as the 2004 Jaguars.

But I can't think of examples of teams with good offenses but bad defenses that are bad teams. The Colts had a good (check that, VERY good) offense and bad defense and won the Super Bowl; yeah, yeah, it was because their D played good in the playoffs, but spare me here. The 2004 Colts had a good (check that, GREAT) offense and bad defense and were still a good team.

So is the tradition that good defenses are necessary a myth? Or is it just along with the tradition saying: "Offense wins games, defense wins championships." Has everyone emphasized the latter part, when the first part is equally important? Have I discovered anything significant here, or am I just picking up the wrong message from scattered examples?

Discuss...
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Old 04-07-2007, 06:13 AM    (permalink
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Having a good offence will almost always make your defence better, both statistically and in on-the-field performance.
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Old 04-07-2007, 06:59 AM    (permalink
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I think having a powerful running game makes up for a lot of the deficiencies a defense may have, because if you are a team that has the ability to hold the ball for 65-75% of the game, the other defense will crack and usually, you're able to score at will.

This is exactly what the Colts did so well last year. They'd have the ball for 40 minutes and the other team would have it for 20. It's harder to score as many points as the other team when they have the ball twice as long.

That is also exactly how the Jaguars beat the Colts during the season. Yeah, the Jags had a top 5 or so defense, but they also ran the ball for what, close to 400 yards? So the great defense is not always necessary if your offense can bail them out...
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Old 04-07-2007, 07:32 AM    (permalink
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They key is balance. If your offense is able to run the ball, your defense is going to be infinitely better.

The panthers had the 7th ranked defense but struggled because of issues on the offensive side of the ball due solely to injuries. Had the offense been more competitive and more effective the team would've done a lot better.
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Old 04-07-2007, 08:28 AM    (permalink
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In today's game it is better to have a high powered offense and a defense that can get off the field enough but won't shut down the opponent
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Old 04-07-2007, 08:40 AM    (permalink
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As the saying goes....offense wins games, defense wins championships.

From 2001-2005, the KC Chiefs' offense was among the best in the league virtually every year....usually #1 or #2. I haven't done the math, but I wouldn't be surprised if they were statistically more productive than the Colts over that same period.

Yet in those five years, they posted only two winning seasons, with only one postseason appearance.

Until this year, there wasn't a single Super Bowl winner with a weak defense. In fact, if you look at the two Super Bowl teams, the team with the better defense has won virtually every time.....only four exceptions in the past 20+ years, including this year.

Personally, I think it's an absolute travesty that the Colts won the Super Bowl. Their defense was the laughingstock of the league for most of the season, and ranks as one of the most porous and incompetent run defenses I've ever seen...."bad" doesn't begin to describe that defense. In twenty games, they had only a handful of respectable performances.....fortunately for them, their best showings came in the postseason, against opponents who made minimal effort to run the ball against them. (Well, except for the Bears....but their strong running game was no match for one of the worst QB performances in Super Bowl history.)

It's also worth mentioning that the 2006 Raiders were a total fluke. Yes, they had a dominant defense, but their offense was bad beyond belief.....one of the worst the league has ever seen. They were at the bottom of the league in both rushing and passing, and led the league in turnovers. Every time the defense did something right, the offense did something to screw it up.
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Old 04-07-2007, 10:32 AM    (permalink
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The Air Coryell Chargers were the same way, and as others have mentioned they won games, not championships. You need a good D to win championships, it's that simple.
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Old 04-07-2007, 11:20 AM    (permalink
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I don't want to hear anyone talk about the Colts winning the Super Bpwl despite having a bad defense. Yes they were awful in the regular season in an NFL record type fashion, but their defense is what won it for them in January.

I still believe having a good defense is the key to winning an NFL championship but obviously your offense needs to be formiddable. The Raiders are a bad example because their offense was one of the worst I have seen in years.
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Old 04-07-2007, 11:23 AM    (permalink
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I think it has as much to do with an offense as it does with having a QB. The 3 teams you listed for defense, all had very suspect QB play for one reason or another. The NFL is a QB league, and to overcome a bad QB you really need to have an amazing defense and ground game, and even that may not be enough. I see your point with the offense/defense argument, but IMO it's more of the QB than the offense as a whole.
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Old 04-07-2007, 11:24 AM    (permalink
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I don't want to hear anyone talk about the Colts winning the Super Bpwl despite having a bad defense. Yes they were awful in the regular season in an NFL record type fashion, but their defense is what won it for them in January.

I still believe having a good defense is the key to winning an NFL championship but obviously your offense needs to be formiddable. The Raiders are a bad example because their offense was one of the worst I have seen in years.
They still won 12 games in the regular season.
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Old 04-07-2007, 11:36 AM    (permalink
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Time of possession:

Kansas City: 20:37 Indy: 39:23

Defense didn't even need to show up...

Baltimore: 28:36 Indy: 31:24

Defense clearly carried here... but Baltimore was also HORRID. One of the worst offensive performances I have ever seen in the playoffs, and it had just as much to do with them as it did the Colts D.

New England: 28:45 Indy: 31:15

Final score: 38-34. Defense had nothing to do with that one, and in actuality, got bailed out by Reche Caldwell and a bad pass interference call.

Indy: 38:04 Chicago: 21:56

Defense didn't even have to show up. The Colts offense held the ball for twice as long as the Bears, and that won the game.

So the fact remains, the Colts D was average at best, but better described as adequate, and they won the Super Bowl with some timely plays on D and offensive dominance. So a "good" D is not required.
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Old 04-07-2007, 11:44 AM    (permalink
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Time of possession:

Kansas City: 20:37 Indy: 39:23

Defense didn't even need to show up...

Baltimore: 28:36 Indy: 31:24

Defense clearly carried here... but Baltimore was also HORRID. One of the worst offensive performances I have ever seen in the playoffs, and it had just as much to do with them as it did the Colts D.

New England: 28:45 Indy: 31:15

Final score: 38-34. Defense had nothing to do with that one, and in actuality, got bailed out by Reche Caldwell and a bad pass interference call.

Indy: 38:04 Chicago: 21:56

Defense didn't even have to show up. The Colts offense held the ball for twice as long as the Bears, and that won the game.

So the fact remains, the Colts D was average at best, but better described as adequate, and they won the Super Bowl with some timely plays on D and offensive dominance. So a "good" D is not required.
-The reason KC couldn't hang onto the ball was the fact that LJ was rendered ineffective.

-Ravens offense is obviously not what got them to the playoffs by any means, but the Colts D dominated that game from start to finish, no questions asked.

-Only game the Colts D did not play well was the Pats game but they did hold them to under 100 yards rushing with something like 25 carries I think, which is very forimiddable. They came up big in the 2nd half and had they not come up big, Brady hands Peyton another loss IMO.

-The D made the big plays in the Super Bowl and you can't overlook that.

Again I am in no way saying they have/had a good defense but they played well in January. Top notch? Probably not but there were not many defenses if any that played better than them. My point is that the defense wins championships motto still lives on because the Colts D is what won it for them IMO.
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Old 04-07-2007, 11:50 AM    (permalink
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To be fair to the Raiders and their defense specifically, their offense couldn't give them field position it was so bad. Normally you'd ask an offense to just not lose games, but they couldn't even do that. Essentially the Raiders defense single-handedly won the Arizona Cardinals game and the Pittsburgh Steelers game, the only wins on the year, in spite of the complete and utter trash that Walsh and Shell tried to call an offense.

I give credence to Jerry Porter saying he saw how bad the offense was going to be, a few months before the season started, and that's why he asked for a trade out from that impending train wreck. As he said, lineman were being told three different things and didn't know what to do on the field, rather than somehow forgetting how to block overnight. Heck, they didn't start attempting to pass the ball to LaMont Jordan, who flourished in that area with previous head coach Norv Turner, until weeks into the season after criticism was well under way. I honestly can't recall seeing a worse offensive scheme.
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Old 04-07-2007, 11:56 AM    (permalink
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Another huge thing to take notice of is turnovers. You dont have to necessarily be an excellent offense if you dont turn it over. It is worth noting that despite how well the Raiders defense played they were still a very distant last in the turnover differential, thats how bad their offense really was.

It's scary how strong the correlation between the top teams and the turnover margin is and also the opposite.

The reason the good offenses generally relate to the good teams is related to the turnovers though. Good offenses are good because they take care of the ball and as a result they dont screw their own defense. Balance is of course crucial, the games that the Colts defense was horrible the offense was brilliant, when the defense finally stepped it up in the playoffs, the offense was still there. The Bears were the complete opposite as a team the defense was pretty much there and when they got adequate QB play they looked great, when they didn't, they looked horrible. When your QB is getting a 10 or so rating you are consistently putting a lot of pressure on your defense.

As bad as Indianapolis' defense seemed, they were pretty much in the middle of the league in takeaways also. It's also worth noting that a four of the leagues worst teams that had good defenses/bad offenses were in the same division(possibly being nice to Detroit to say they had a good defense) but that will bend the stats a little. If you take Chicago(who did well regardless), Minny, Detroit and GB out of the equation, the top teams were more often than not the best defenses. Only the Raiders(historically bad offense) and the Colts really support the theory from there.

What Im saying with the NFC North thing is that by playing 4 good defenses twice it makes the awful offenses look worse statistically than they really were(which is still awful).
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Old 04-07-2007, 11:58 AM    (permalink
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The Rams are an example of a team with a good offense but bad defense that didn't win many games. Just throwing that out there. But I agree the offense is the most important part during the regular season.
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Old 04-07-2007, 12:07 PM    (permalink
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The Colts couldn't get turnovers because the opposing team never had to pass the ball. The Cleveland Browns defense had more interceptions than the Colts defense did last year.

If you want to point to one area of the defense specifically, it's 3rd down efficiency. The Colts defense couldn't get off the field in the regular season, even against the mighty Dayne Train, but once they started doing a better job in the playoffs against the run and making less-manageable 3rd downs for opponents, the defense as a whole improved (despite the presence of a certain linebacker).

The Colts offense essentially carried one of the worst run defenses in NFL history to a 12-4 record. If that defense could have actually been stout for two specific drives, then the team could have been 14-2 with the best record in football. That offense is worth every penny imo.
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Old 04-07-2007, 01:42 PM    (permalink
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what people mean is a great D can over come a great O
Example: I am a Steelers fan and look what they done last year in the playoffs, they faced 4 of the top O's in the game in Cinny,Indy,Den, and Sea and they always have a great D and their D over came all of the O's to Win the SB, but they had to have some O. what they mean by O wins games is that you have to score and you have to score more than the other team, and what they mean by D wins championships is that a great D can and will sooner or later stop any O and a great D will never have a bad game. if both teams have , lets say 10 drives each , and one team has a great O and th other one has a great D well the team with a great O may score 60%(6 out of 10 drives)but the great D did stop them on some of the drives. the team with the great D only has an avg O and the team with the great O has a bad D, well the team with the avg O could score on 70 or 80% of the drives against the bad D, so the team with a great D will win the game most of the time, which will win championship and not just some games. great D's also will cause more turnovers and have more sacks and QB pressures, they can change the momentum of the game more than an O can, weather does not effect a D as much as it does an O. they may be more examples but this gives you my opinion on what that saying means
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Old 04-07-2007, 01:57 PM    (permalink
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Quote:
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what people mean is a great D can over come a great O
Example: I am a Steelers fan and look what they done last year in the playoffs, they faced 4 of the top O's in the game in Cinny,Indy,Den, and Sea and they always have a great D and their D over came all of the O's to Win the SB, but they had to have some O. what they mean by O wins games is that you have to score and you have to score more than the other team, and what they mean by D wins championships is that a great D can and will sooner or later stop any O and a great D will never have a bad game. if both teams have , lets say 10 drives each , and one team has a great O and th other one has a great D well the team with a great O may score 60%(6 out of 10 drives)but the great D did stop them on some of the drives. the team with the great D only has an avg O and the team with the great O has a bad D, well the team with the avg O could score on 70 or 80% of the drives against the bad D, so the team with a great D will win the game most of the time, which will win championship and not just some games. great D's also will cause more turnovers and have more sacks and QB pressures, they can change the momentum of the game more than an O can, weather does not effect a D as much as it does an O. they may be more examples but this gives you my opinion on what that saying means
It helped that the Steelers had a good ground game. A good defense with a good running game and at the least a game-manager at qb is a really good setups. That's what the Ravens had their superbowl year.
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Old 04-07-2007, 02:45 PM    (permalink
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"Offense win games, Defense wins Championships" I live by that in football! Take a look at a few teams who have been at or near the top of the league (standing wise) over the past years. Jacksonville, New England, Indianapolis, Denver, Philadelphia, Tampa Bay/Carolina (not really last year, but the years before), just to name a few. These teams have all had decent defenses. Of course teams like Indy's shouldn't be on this list, however, their D still shows up to play, and have still stopped many opponents several times. The others on the list all have had really good defenses. They all had respectable offense who could run the ball (as said above). So I believe that to be the best you need to run the ball, and stop the run. Indy last year could run the ball, and well in the playoffs stopped the run when they needed to. Pittsburgh last year could run the ball as well as stop it. New England for their 3 SB's could run and stop the run...and so on. That is what it takes to win the Superbowl.
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Old 04-07-2007, 05:12 PM    (permalink
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A great defense will lead you to a championship (2000 Ravens) but a great defense has to be paired with at least an adequate offense (again the 2000 Ravens). The offense has to be able at least to sustain a drive for some time to allow the defense to rest and stay fresh. The key to that is a solid running game, which the 2000 Ravens had with the combination of a rookie Jamal Lewis and the unpolished Priest Holmes. The Raiders had a very solid defense out there (although not a complete shocker since Rob Ryan is an excellent Defensive Coordinator) but I think we can all agree that the offense may have been the worst that any of us have seen personally. The Colts on the other hand, got great play in their defense in the playoffs and rode that momentum to the promised land. So in conclusion, defense wins championships, but your defense is only as good as the offense will allow them to be.
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So new rule, NBA: Unless you have a root canal at halftime, SHUT UP AND PLAY!
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Old 04-07-2007, 06:09 PM    (permalink
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You can win games with a great offense, but if your defense is bad in the playoffs you will NEVER win. Pretty much every super bowl champion had a dominating or very good defense either in the reg.season or the playoffs. The closest thing to an exception was ST.Louis back in 1999, but they weren't a bad defense, just not a really good one.

Plenty of teams with great defenses and mediocre to bad offenses have brought home the championship, none with terrible D's have. Even if you win a fluke super bowl with a bad defense, then your offense would have to be REALLY good meaning one of the 3 best QBs in the league, a great line, a pro bowl back, and great WRs.
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Old 04-07-2007, 06:11 PM    (permalink
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Having a good offence will almost always make your defence better, both statistically and in on-the-field performance.
This.

The two units and their performance are absolutely interlinked and trying to evaluate them seperately isn't going to yield any real answer.
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Old 04-07-2007, 06:26 PM    (permalink
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I think during the regular season your point can be valid. But in the post season, its always defense that wins. And thats when it counts. The postseason. Look at the Patriots dynasty as an example of what a great defense and average offense can do. Look at the Steelers, look at the Bucs, Ravens....

6 of the last 7 SBs have been won by teams who had great defenses and average offenses.

The Colts/Rams are the exception, not the rule. Although you already stated that the Colts didn't win in January if it wasn't for their defense.

So to answer your question, I say it has some validity in the regular season, and for the tweener teams it may be scewed more toward the offensive side.

But in December and January, defense is still the key to the city. And it always will be.
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Old 04-07-2007, 08:11 PM    (permalink
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Teams win championships, not specific units of them.
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Old 04-07-2007, 08:13 PM    (permalink
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Teams win championships, not specific units of them.
Wow that took some thought......
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On another note, Nicklas Backstrom is amazingly good.
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Meanwhile, in hockey the other night, the Washington Capitals' Eric Belanger gets hit with a stick, loses EIGHT teeth, has an instant root canal in the locker room, comes back out and PLAYS and never says boo.

So new rule, NBA: Unless you have a root canal at halftime, SHUT UP AND PLAY!
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