NFL Defense Rankings 2024: Can the Eagles Bounce Back From a Brutal 2023 Campaign?

Written by: Michael Savio
Updated May 28, 2024
16 min read

High-octane offenses may sell tickets, but defense wins championships. 

We have updated our NFL defense rankings to help you prepare for the NFL betting season to begin. With the draft done and many free agents signs, we have seen some teams make major changes, shaking up our rankings heading into the summer. Combine these with our NFL offensive rankings, and you will have everything you need for a profitable NFL season.

Before we dive into our defense rankings, let's check in on the NFL Defensive Player and Rookie of the Year award races.

NFL Defensive Player of the Year Odds

Odds Courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook. Head over to FanDuel to place your bets and claim $150 in Bonus Bets.

Micah ParsonsLBDallas Cowboys+600
Myles GarrettDECleveland Browns+700
TJ WattLBPittsburgh Steelers+800
Nick BosaDESan Francisco 49ers+800
Maxx CrosbyDELas Vegas Raiders+1000

We see the Dallas Cowboys defense finishing as the best in football this season, and Micah Parsons will be a big reason why. The 25-year-old posted a career-high 14 sacks last season and finished sixth in the league in TFLs. While there is a lot of talent on the board, Parson’s price is too good to pass up.

NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year

Odds Courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook. Bet on Draftkings and claim a No Sweat First Bet up to $1,500.

Dallas TurnerLBMinnesota Vikings+430
Laiatu LatuDEIndianapolis Colts+500
Jared VerseDELos Angeles Rams+1200
Quinyon MitchellCBPhiladelphia Eagles+1200
Terrion ArnoldCBDetroit Lions+1200

We really like Quinyon Mitchell’s chances to take home this season’s DROY. He has the talent, but he also plays on an Eagles defense with a ton of talent. Their ability to stop the pass was a major issue, which they hope Mitchell can help with. If he can step in and help the Eagles turn their defense around, it will make a very strong case among voters.

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NFL Defense Rankings
TEAMPTS/GRush TDPass TDTotal YPGRush YPGPass YPGSacks/GTO 3rd%
Cleveland Browns10.701163.752111.7919.5%
Buffalo Bills11.702253110.7142.31231.0%
San Francisco 49ers1422258.353205.3836.6%
Dallas Cowboys12.722262131.3130.71230.6%
New England Patriots19.732270.393.3177727.0%
Kansas City Chiefs13.312280.7102.7178830.8%
Los Angeles Rams20.741284.7103.7181525.7%
Atlanta Falcons1815287.7117.7170332.4%
New Orleans Saints16.71228899.7188.3831.8%
Baltimore Ravens18.303292.392.32001145.5%
Detroit Lions2124297.372225.3835.9%
Philadelphia Eagles19.70831048.3261.7645.7%
Carolina Panthers2762329136.7192.31030.8%
Washington Commanders28.734331.7128.72031041.5%
Green Bay Packers20.723336.3136.7199.7931.0%
Houston Texans24.372340.7117.3223.3447.5%
Tennessee Titans22.315344.769.3275.31034.9%
Las Vegas Raiders25.727347.7127.3220.3546.2%
Jacksonville Jaguars2525348.384264.3537.5%
New York Jets20.304351.3129.3222644.0%
Cincinnati Bengals22.324352.3151.7200.7935.9%
Tampa Bay Buccaneers19.724359103256951.2%
Miami Dolphins23.743361.3130231.3845.2%
New York Giants32.763361.7138223.7248.7%
Indianapolis Colts23.344365114.3250.71238.3%
Arizona Cardinals22.334367.7134.72331150.0%
Minnesota Vikings27.337382.3120.7261.7640.5%
Pittsburgh Steelers23.325387151.7235.31335.7%
Chicago Bears35.347407.3121.7285.7160.0%
Seattle Seahawks29.355407.379.3328557.5%
Los Angeles Chargers2937450.7113.7337938.9%
Denver Broncos40.779458.3177.7280.7443.3%

Top 5 NFL Pass Defenses

#5 Buffalo Bills

We love Mike Edwards's addition to the secondary, which gives standout corner Rasul Douglas some badly needed help.

#4 Baltimore Ravens

Betting on the Ravens to be great against the pass is a fairly safe proposition, and that hasn’t changed heading into the 2024 season.

#3 Dallas Cowboys

Dallas will have elite corner Trevon Diggs healthy and on the field, and we can’t wait to see what he and Daron Bland can do together.

#2 New York Jets

The Jets have one of the most complete defenses in the league and have excelled against the pass. Their rush is great, and Sauce Gardner and D.J. Reed could end up being the best cornerback duo in the league. 

#1 Cleveland Browns

The Browns have a fantastic secondary to go with an elite pass rush that includes Za’Darius Smith and Myles Garrett.

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Top 5 NFL Rush Defenses

#5 Detroit Lions

We have some questions about DJ Reader after an injury-plagued stint in Cincinnati, but if he stays healthy, he could make this run defense elite.

#4 Houston Texans

Houston’s defense got a massive boost in the offseason, and they’ll have a pair of second-year stars set to make them one of the best units in the league.

#3 New England Patriots

Stopping the run was about the only thing the Pats did well last season, and we love their chances to repeat that success.

#2 San Francisco 49ers

The Niners' defensive line is consistently one of the most difficult to run against, and that doesn’t look to change this season.

#1 Chicago Bears

The Bears were dominant against the run last season, and we think they will be even better in 2024. An improved secondary will only further boost an already great unit.

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Offseason NFL Defense Rankings

Tier 5 

#32 Arizona Cardinals

We spent a lot of time trying to find something to highlight about this defense, but there just isn’t much here. Rookie pass rusher Darius Robinson could eventually fit a massive need, but it will take time for him to reach his full potential. 

#31 Denver Broncos

The Bronco’s defense was expected to do big things last season, but those lofty expectations came crashing down after allowing Miami to score 70 points in Week 3. They rebounded a bit as the season went on, but they did not do much to improve in the offseason. With a rookie likely starting behind center and their top receiver gone, the Broncos offense will likely lead to their defense spending too much time on the field, which will result in some ugly numbers. 

#30 San Diego Chargers 

The Chargers have the most talent of the teams towards the bottom of our rankings, but they were abhorrent in 2023. They ranked twenty-eighth in yards allowed, allowing opponents to move the ball with ease. While a change in defensive coordinator could help, the team’s offense got a lot worse. If they struggle, it will place even more pressure on the unit, leading to another ugly season. 

#29 Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons defense is a bit of a mess, but the team was aggressive in the draft. They drafted three defensive linemen in the first four rounds, addressing the team's biggest issues. The lack of talent on the depth chart means each could see solid playing time, allowing them to develop while the team plans for the future. 

#28 Tennessee Titans

The Titans are in the midst of a rebuild, which will make their defense's year rough. While adding L’Jarius Sneed helps their secondary, the loss of Denico Autry is massive. Rookie T’Vondre Sweat could end up replacing the star’s production, but it will take time for him to adjust to the fast pace of the NFL. 

#27 New York Giants

The Giants' pass defense will struggle with a pair of young cornerbacks, but Brian Burns's addition gives New York a solid defensive front. If at least one of their young defensive backs can break out, it could give the Giants a sneaky good defense under defensive coordinator Wink Martindale. Their defense won’t be great, but don’t be surprised if they outperform expectations this season.

#26 Los Angeles Rams

The Rams have dropped down to our bottom tier after losing Aaron Donald in the offseason. The team will also be without defensive coordinator Raheem Morris. Those are massive pieces gone from a defense that wasn’t very good in 2023. The Rams added some exciting rookies in Jard Verse and Braden Fiske in the draft, but that won’t help them fix their many holes this season. 

Tier 4

#25 Washington Commanders

The Commanders' defense was a mess last season, ranking last in points (30.5 PPG) and yards (388.9 YPG). They made some moves to help improve in the offseason, but not enough to make them anywhere close to being good. While they did draft some defense, it will likely take a few years to fix this very broken unit. 

#24 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Bucs finished in the bottom ten of the league in yards allowed (344.2 YPG) last season, and we don’t see any improvement coming this season. That being said, we have loved watching safety Antoine Winfield Jr. Last year, the 25-year-old was second on the team in sacks (6) and led in passes defended (12) and interceptions (3). He could take another step this season, but it won’t be rough to save this defense. 

#23 Minnesota Vikings

We are about to find out just how important Danielle Hunter was to the Minnesota defense. The elite pass rusher now resides in Houston, and the Vikings were not able to replace him. Minnesota also lost their second-leading pass rusher, linebacker DJ Wonnum. Those two combined account for over half of the team's sacks, which will be a problem in a greatly improved NFC North

#22 Carolina Panthers

We actually think the Panthers' defense could be far better than expected in 2024. As ugly as their 2023 campaign was, they were third in the league against the pass (171.5 YPG). The team focused mainly on offense in the draft, but they added some solid veterans to their depth chart. This won’t be an elite defense, but we think they could finish in the top half of our rankings this season.

#21 Seattle Seahawks

While we like first-round pick Byron Murphy II, we really don’t like this defense. However, we are incredibly excited to see what third-year linebacker Boye Mafe can do in 2024. He led the team with nine sacks last season while finishing second in TFL and fourth in passes defended. We have been high on the young star, and we think he could break out this season, even if the Seahawks defense struggles. 

#20 Indianapolis Colts

This may be the least interesting defense in the league. They are a middling unit that does stand out, and that hasn’t changed during the offseason. That being said, we are very excited to see how rookie Laiatu Latu fits into this unit. The fifteenth-overall pick could be an elite pass rusher, but we don’t think he boosts this defense enough to make a difference this season. 

#19 New Orleans Saints

We have very low expectations for an aging Saints’ defense this week. Carl Granderson, Cameron Jordan, and Tyrann Mathieu are at the back end of their careers, putting more pressure on Carl Granderson. While the team has attempted to improve the last few seasons, it hasn’t paid off. We have no reason to think things will be any different in 2024. 

#18 New England Patriots

While the Pats’ well-documented offensive struggles got most of the attention last season, their defense was played very well. While there are some pieces we really like, it will also be the first time we have seen them without Bill Belichick at the helm. That is a big change for the once-great franchise, and it could take at least a year for the team to adjust. 

Tier 3

#17 Detroit Lions

We are selling on the Detroit defense this season for a couple of reasons. First, they will be relying on a lot of young talent to help them improve in 2024. While that could signal a bright future for the unit, it could be a big problem this season. The other reason is some improvements on offense from their NFC North foes, which we think the Lions will struggle to stop, leading to another mediocre year for the Detroit defense. 

#16 Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals defense was a bit of a disappointment last season, but they improved over the offseason. The addition of Vonn Bell and Geno Stone gives them two key pieces they badly missed last season. Cincinnati added some other smaller pieces through free agency and the draft, but we think they will likely finish around the middle of the pack of our rankings in 2024.

#15 Jacksonville Jaguars

We love the Jags' decision to add defensive end Arik Armstead in the offseason, boosting their defensive line. The team also added Maason Smith (2nd round) and Jarrian Jones (third round), boosting their depth. However, we still have concerns about their secondary, which allowed the seventh passing yards (239.8 YPG) last season. We don’t think they did enough to address the issue, and it could cost them when the season kicks off.

#14 Miami Dolphins

We didn’t really get a chance to see just how good this Miami defense was last season. They were ravaged by injuries, the worst of which was when Jaelan Phillips went down for the season. Phillips is emerging as a fantastic pass rusher, and his absence took a major toll. Miami lost a key piece in Christian Wilkins, but we think this defense could still be very good if they can stay healthier in 2024.

#13 Philadelphia Eagles

No defense was more disappointing last season than the Eagles. Their run defense fell off a bit, but their pass defense was an absolute tire fire. They ranked thirty-first against the pass (252.7 YPG) and thirtieth in points allowed (25.2 PPG). The pass defense was so bad that it allowed teams to work around their stout front line, taking away their biggest weapon. The addition of CJ Gardner-Johnson will help, but time will tell if it is enough.

#12 Green Bay Packers

The Packers' defense outperformed expectations last season, and they spent a lot of resources to improve in the offseason. They added a great free safety in Xavier McKinney and will have a pair of rookies starting: linebacker Edgerrin Cooper and safety Javon Bullard. It's hard to count on rookies, but the rest of this unit is good enough to help them win games as the young starters settle in.

#11 Houston Texans

This is the defense we are the most excited about heading into the season. They were decent last season, led by a pair of rookies in Will Anderson Jr. and Henry To’oPo’o. Both emerging stars are back, but the unit got a major upgrade when Denico Autry and Danielle Hunter were added. That immediately makes Houston's pass rush one of the best in the league, and it could be the missing piece that gets them to the Super Bowl

Tier 2

#10 Las Vegas Raiders

The Raiders defense was a pleasant surprise last season, led by an elite pass rusher in Maxx Crosby. In the offseason, they re-signed the 26-year-old and gave him some help by adding Christian Wilkins (9 sacks) from the Dolphins. We also have high hopes that Malcolm Koonce will have another big season after breaking out for eight sacks in 2023. That trio will form an impressive pass rush, which is why we have them in our top ten. 

#9 Chicago Bears

We really like this Chicago defense. They were surprised by leading the league against the rush in 2023, but their struggles against the pass led to another disappointing season. The addition of safety Kevin Byard III should help boost their secondary, while a full season of Montez Sweat will upgrade their pass rush. As long as they are healthy, this defense should be even better this season.

#8 Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers have relied on TJ Watt to carry their defense over the last couple of seasons, but that won’t be the case this year. They will have promising rookie Joey Porter Jr., who is a year older. They added two key players: linebacker Patrick Queen and safety Deshon Elliott. The team will also get cornerback Donte Jackson back, whom they traded for after he was injured in 2023. Those upgrades should help ensure the Steelers have a top-ten defense.

#7 Buffalo Bills

The Bills may have the best chance to jump into the first tier of our rankings early in the season. They have a ton of talent and were able to make an upgrade at safety by adding Mike Edwards. While the loss of Tre’Davoious White hurts, Rasul Douglas has filled in well for the star cornerback. Buffalo finished fourth in the league in points allowed (18.3 PPG) last season, and we think they could do so again in 2024. 

#6 Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys' defense was fantastic in 2023, and they have returned most of their roster. Rookie linebacker Marist Liufau appears set to join the starting lineup, but our player to watch is DaRon Bland. The 24-year-old broke out last season to post nine interceptions, returning five for touchdowns. His play helped boost the defense after they lost Trevon Diggs, but can he replicate those impressive numbers? If he regresses, it will take a big toll on this defense.

Tier 1

#5 Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens led the NFL in opponent scoring last season (16.5 PTS/G) and finished sixth in yards allowed (301.4 YPG). They have brought back the entire unit, though defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald left to take over as Seattle’s head coach. That isn’t enough to make us bet against this defense in 2024, but it is something to watch for with the reigning AFC North champions

#4 Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs' defense was the biggest reason they added another Lombardi Trophy to their collection last season, but they have lost some key pieces. That includes Willie Gay Jr. and Mike Edwards, who departed during the offseason. The team has the depth and talent to make up for the loss of Gay, but we worry about the secondary. They are young and did not make any upgrades in the draft or free agency. It's clear they believe in their defensive backs, but we’ll need to see them play before ranking them any higher in our rankings. 

#3 San Francisco 49ers

The Niners have been a staple in the top five of our rankings over the last few seasons. They have moved on from Steve Wilks, promoting Nock Sorensen to take over the role. We haven’t been big believers in Wilks, and we think the change in leadership could help this defense get even better. While we are waiting to see how healthy the unit ends up being in Week 1, we expect big things from the Niners. 

#2 Cleveland Browns

The Browns will once again be one of the best teams in the league. While their offense struggled in 2023, the defense led the league in yards allowed (270.2 YPG). Myles Garrett continues to be one of the most impactful players in the league, and we think Za’Darius Smith will bounce back after posting just 5.5 sacks last season. The veteran posted 10+ sacks in his three previous seasons, and we think he returns to that form after a year of adjusting to his new team. 

#1 New York Jets

This was one of the most talented defenses in the league last season, but the team’s poor offense kept them on the field for far too long. They have most of the same unit returning in 2024 but got a major upgrade with Haason Reddick (11 sacks) coming over from the Eagles. Considering the team invested heavily in offense in the draft and should have Aaron Rodgers back, we expect the defense to be the best in the league.


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Michael Savio

Sports Betting Analyst

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Michael is an avid sports fan and a veteran bettor from Milwaukee. He learned the trade from his grandfather in Las Vegas as a kid and has turned that into a successful career. He cheers for all Wisconsin pro teams along with his Alma Mater Arizona State. He specializes in baseball betting, but has experience in football, basketball, and hockey as well. When he isn’t pouring over stats, he’s spending time with his two young children.
Nationality: American
Education: Bachelor of Political Science
Favourite Sportsbook: Caesars Sportsbook
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