XTRA910 audio: Best defense in NFC West

October, 20, 2012
10/20/12
1:00
PM ET
Dan Bickley and Mike Jurecki of XTRA Sports 910 AM stumped their guest Friday with a simple question.

The guest covers the NFC West for a certain sports-related website. I won't mention his name here, but this guy should be embarrassed. I mean, all he does is think about the NFC West, and that was the best he could do when asked which team has the best defense in the division? It's a sad day.

Fortunately, I've had time to bring some actual information to the conversation.

The chart shows where NFC West teams rank in various defensive categories through the Seattle Seahawks-San Francisco 49ers game Thursday night. There is still no clear answer as to which defense is best, and that's a good thing for the division. Every NFC West team can claim it's defense is better than the others by some measure.

I've included at the bottom of the chart a row showing "expected points added" for each defense. This metric is probably best for determining how each defense has played relative to the game situations each encountered.

This recent piece from Alok Pattani of ESPN's analytics team explains why.

By that measure, Arizona's defense has been the best in the division and second-best in the NFL to this point in the season. The top 10: Chicago, Arizona, Houston, San Francisco, Seattle, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Miami, Tampa Bay and New England.

That XTRA910 audio is here, by the way.

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