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2022 NFL Team Defense Rankings: Ranking the Top Defenses in the NFL Heading Into Week 10

Defense continues to dominate the NFL in 2022. Unders are being served up left and right, while draft picks and free-agent signings on defense are paying dividends. Matt MacKay is here with his top ten defensive power rankings heading into Week 10.
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2022 NFL Team Defense Rankings: Ranking the Top Defenses in the NFL Heading Into Week 10

Defense is king in the NFL, and it's frequently shown up in primetime games in 2022. Offenses are beginning to gel as we hit the meat of the regular season schedule, but several defensive units are helping their team win games in various ways. Penalties, playcalling, and highlights all gravitate toward the offense, yet defenses are still adapting and overcoming the additional challenges and restrictions.

Week 9 saw some defenses step up to immense challenges, most notably, the young New York Jets' secondary containing the Buffalo Bills' explosive passing offense. Only three teams scored over 30 points on Sunday, which indicates strong defense snuffing out opponents in the rushing and passing attack. Perhaps the most robust performance from any defense in Week 9 was led by the wily old veteran Bill Belichick in New England.

Here's a look at the latest top ten NFL defensive power rankings heading into the tenth week of the 2022 season.

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Best NFL Defense Rankings After Week 9

1. New England Patriots

It hasn't been a completely dominant performance week after week, but New England's defense is the definition of stout. Matthew Judon headlines the strength of the Patriots' roster off the edge, while Jalen Mills, Devin McCourty, and rookie cornerback Jack Jones form an air-tight secondary for opposing quarterbacks. Fresh off of holding Sam Ehlinger and the Colts to 43 passing yards and 78 rushing yards, the Patriots deserve the top spot entering their Week 10 Bye. Games against the Jets, Vikings, and Bills will test their talent, but they have forced a turnover in eight consecutive games. Meanwhile, the New England run defense has held opponents under 100 total rushing yards in three of the previous four games played.

2. Dallas Cowboys

It's important to include teams who were on Bye in Week 9, especially since there were some noteworthy defensive performances with six teams resting up. Until proven otherwise, Micah Parsons and Trevon Diggs headline a talented Dallas defense under DC Dan Quinn, holding teams under 20 points in six of eight games played. Only the Rams were successful through the air against the Cowboys. Otherwise, Dallas has held every opponent under 200 passing yards. It's a complete defense at every level, and the upcoming schedule is favorable, so Dallas should remain atop the defensive power rankings throughout November.

3. Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles have found a gem in Javon Hargrave. He's been single-handedly wrecking games with his explosive strength and high motor within the interior of a defensive line rife with talent. It's the secondary. However, that keeps Philadelphia's defense ranked inside the top three. Houston had some success early against the Eagles in Week 9, but they finished with under 160 passing yards. The run defense is the only vulnerability for Philadelphia, but the presence of Jalen Hurts on offense and a lock-down secondary make it a non-issue.

4. New York Jets

Rookie first-round cornerback Sauce Gardner, alongside free-agent cornerback D.J. Reed, have come together to create a lockdown pass defense. It rose to the occasion at home against Buffalo in Week 9, forcing two interceptions and holding Josh Allen to two touchdowns as a ball carrier instead of a passer. Quinnen Williams, C.J. Mosley, and Carl Lawson are a formidable trio in the Jets' front seven, and it has helped New York force at least one turnover in all nine games played this season. Since Week 3, only one team, New England, has scored more than 20 points against the Jets. Believe it or not, they're for real, thanks to an aggressive front office and defensive-minded head coach.

5. Cincinnati Bengals

Cincinnati was down its top two cornerbacks against the Carolina Panthers in Week 9, but they stifled the passing attack with ease, allowing Baker Mayfield to rack up some production in garbage time. Trey Hendrickson, Logan Wilson, and Jessie Bates III are some of the team's best defensive players, but every starter has an elite skill set that the Bengals leverage weekly to weekly. Cincinnati held Carolina under 65 rushing yards and forced five turnovers across its previous two games. Watch out for the Bengals' defense down the stretch in plus-matchups against Pittsburgh and Tennessee after their Week 10 Bye.

6. Seattle Seahawks

Two rookie defensive backs, Tariq Woolen and Coby Bryant, are playing great for Seattle in its secondary. Plenty of other players deserve accolades for the Seahawks' defense, but these two additions have made notable improvements throughout the entire team. It helps to have Pete Carroll coaching and utilizing his experience and talent to build a young corps of defensive talent. Seattle has now ripped off four consecutive wins and hasn't allowed a 200-yard passing performance since facing Justin Herbert in a one-dimensional Chargers offense in Week 7. Seattle is also opportunistic with turnovers, forcing one in eight of nine games entering a Week 10 road game in Tampa Bay.

7. Buffalo Bills

Bumping down Buffalo's previously top-ranked defense had to be done after a disappointing performance in Week 9. Granted, several key pieces on defense were absent during the loss against the Jets, but Bills did allow the Jets to mount scoring possessions at the end of the first half and late in the third quarter while surrendering a go-ahead field goal with less than two minutes left in the game. As ugly as it looked, the Bills are still disrupting with continuous pressure from Von Miller and company up front, while the secondary has been finding ways to restrict opposing passing attacks in most matchups this season. After forcing multiple turnovers before the Week 7 Bye, Buffalo has only forced two total turnovers across their previous two games.

8. Kansas City Chiefs

Kansas City drafted a slew of talent this offseason, and it's already paying dividends. The pass defense is finally coming together under DC Steve Spagnulo, while free-agent signings Justin Reid and Carlos Dunlap have built a strong defensive front that possesses its strength in the trenches. Derrick Henry was brilliant and dominant early against the Chiefs in Week 9, but the inexperienced rookie quarterback Malik Willis couldn't even generate 60 passing yards. The run defense has coughed up over 100 rushing yards in four consecutive games, but only one team has scored 30 points against the Chiefs this season. Combined with one of the most potent offenses in the league, the Chiefs defense has the luxury of bending without breaking.

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9. Minnesota Vikings

Quietly, the Minnesota Vikings are stringing together an impressive series of defensive performances. The Za'Darius Smith signing from Green Bay to bolster the edge disruption was arguably the biggest move of the offseason from a player personnel standpoint. Minnesota's defense ranks sixth in TFLs (44), ninth in sacks (24), and tenth in interceptions (8), including a clutch momentum-flipping play by veteran safety Harrison Smith against Washington on Sunday. The defense can shut down passing attacks or the ground game, forming a complete unit with an aggressive edge in all three levels.

10. San Francisco 49ers

Another team that has been atop the 2022 defensive power rankings is San Francisco. The 49ers were on Bye in Week 9, but Fred Warner, Nick Bosa, and Charvarius Ward are some of the standout players on the defensive side of the football for San Francisco. Teams cannot establish the run against the 49ers, as they've held five opponents under 100 rushing yards this season. Kansas City obliterated the pass defense in Week 7, but San Francisco has held every other team under 250 passing yards outside of that outlier performance. Turnovers come in bunches for this unit, but they are an experienced group with a lot of continuity and the talent to make another deep playoff run.

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Matt is an avid writer, editor, and researcher. He enjoys analyzing the game within the game which is fantasy sports and sports betting. Music is another constant in his daily life. Matt loves spending time with his wife and three pets. He likes to read, listen to podcasts, and is constantly motivated to create the most accurate and engaging content in the sports betting industry.

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