2013 Preview: Ranking the Five Best Defenses in the NFL

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While the NFL is becoming more and more about quarterbacks, every team needs a good defense to win the Super Bowl.

And now, the teams with the best defenses are starting the become the best teams in the NFL.

Teams are making moves to upgrade their defense, and as a result, there are some ferocious defenses in the NFL. Teams with good defenses are succeeding, and there have been huge defensive plays or performances from the last few Super Bowl champions.

So which teams will benefit from stellar defense in 2013? Here are the five best defenses in the NFL.

Dec. 23, 2012; Glendale, AZ, USA: Chicago Bears defensive end Julius Peppers (90) against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Bears defeated the Cardinals 28-13. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

5. Chicago Bears 

While the Bears missed out on the postseason, their defense still had a great season.

Chicago ranked fifth in total defense and third in points allowed, surrendering a mere 17.3 points per game (PPG). Tim Jennings led the NFL with nine interceptions, and the Bears led the league with 24 interceptions. In addition, the Bears forced 44 turnovers (best in the league), recovering an amazing 20 fumbles as well.

Jay Cutler and the Bear offense ranked 28th in the league, which helped cause the 10-6 Bears to miss the playoffs. However, the defense continued to be strong and make big plays. The Bears forced a turnover in 15 of their 16 games, and shut down some high-powered offenses.

Detroit managed just 31 total points in two games against the Bears, which is impressive considering that the Lions had the third-best offense in the NFL. Dallas had the sixth-best offense, but Chicago forced Tony Romo into throwing five interceptions. Houston, another high-powered offense, managed just 13 points against the Bears.

The Bears never allowed more than 32 points in a game, and in that game, against San Francisco, the offensive struggles contributed to the defensive struggles. San Francisco owned the field position battle, and while they pieced together one long touchdown drive, they only accumulated 353 yards, which is about average.

Outside of the San Francisco game, the Bears never allowed more than 24 points, which is incredible. They would halt drives by forcing turnovers and keep the other team from lighting up the scoreboard, which is always huge in football. Charles Tillman somehow forced 10 fumbles (easily the best in the NFL), and Julius Peppers and Kelvin Hayden both recovered four.

While the Bears gave up yards and had eight games in which they allowed 20 points (or more), they had a great defensive season and are poised to do more. Middle linebacker Brian Urlacher will be leaving, but the Bears will be able to find another middle linebacker. Urlacher recorded 68 tackles and forced two fumbles in 12 games, and he will be hard to replace. However, the Bears will be fine on defense.

And in 2013, they will continue to excel on defense.

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