1. Pittsburgh Steelers
As previously mentioned, the LA Chargers do not play a lot of great defenses in 2021 but the great defenses that they do play are some of the best in the league. In fact, the Pittsburgh Steelers had the best defense in the AFC and was right up there with Brandon Staley’s Rams for the best defense in the entire league.
Pittsburgh ranked first in both defensive efficiency and defensive DVOA. That is what made them so successful and gave them a run at going undefeated; before Ben Roethlisberger fell apart, of course.
Want an example of a team that gets pressure on the quarterback without needing to blitz? Look at the Steelers. Not only do they have very talented players on that front seven but they also have some of the best defensive backs in the league behind them.
T.J. Watt is a Defensive Player of the Year candidate and he is only going to get better. The All-Pro had 15 sacks last season and is only entering his age 27 season in 2021. Stephon Tuitt had 11 sacks, Bud Dupree was well on his way to another Pro Bowl before getting hurt with eight sacks in 11 games and Cameron Heyward is one of the best nose tackles in the business.
The secondary is led by Minkah Fitzpatrick, who is now a two-time All-Pro, is only 24 years old and has to be considered as the best safety in all of football. Joe Haden and Cameron Sutton are definitely good enough to hold their own and Terrell Edmunds is a former first-rounder that is primed for a breakout year in 2021.
This is a good defense. The Rams certainly have talent as well but Staley elevated them. No team, not even the Rams, have more overall talent on the defensive side of the ball than Pittsburgh.
It is just a shame that they have one of the worst offensive lines in the league and Ben Roethlisberger is slowly falling apart with age. And that is why the Chargers caught a serious break with these defenses.
Four of the five teams mentioned in this article have serious question marks offensively. Big Ben’s health and overall talent at this point in his career, Ryan Fitzpatrick being the guy you are trusting without great weapons around him, Drew Lock’s turnover woes and Jalen Hurts with a not-so-talented offense.
Baltimore is the only team that also fields an offensive that we know is going to be productive in 2021.