Top 10 New York Giants Defenses Since 1986

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NFL Media Senior Analyst Gil Brandt ranked the five best defenses of all-time and the 1986 New York Giants placed 5th behind the 2013 Seattle Seahawks, 2015 Denver Broncos, 2000 Baltimore Ravens, and 1985 Chicago Bears. The 2015 New York Giants defense was among the worst in the league. The 2016 New York Giants are determined to fix that and get back to greatness through free agency and the draft. But, who were the top 10 New York Giants defenses since that all-time top unit in 1986? Would you believe that the 1986 Giants were actually the second best Giants defense over the past thirty seasons? That’s according to Pro Football Reference’s “Simple Rating System“.

Before we start, a disclaimer: I eliminated the 1987 season because it was just a mess due to the strike. Hard to really judge what’s what when there’s replacement players. 

Okay, so who were the ten best according to PFR’s SRS?

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10-T. 1991 New York Giants

Coach: Ray Handley
Defensive Coordinator: Al Groh

Defensive Alignment: 3-4

Defense Simple Rating System (“SRS”): 1.5

8-8-0, Finished 4th in NFC East

  • Allowed 297 total points (18.6 points per game), 12th in the the NFL
  • 7th in yards allowed
  • 6th in first downs allowed
  • 4th in passing attempts, 6th in passing yards allowed
  • 11th in passing touchdowns allowed
  • 10 in rushing attempts against
  • 12 in rushing touchdowns allowed

The ’91 Giants defense didn’t have any Pro Bowlers. Cornerback Mark Collins and Everson Walls led the team with four interceptions apiece. Defensive end Leonard Marshall led the team with 11 sacks while also tallying 80 tackles (!), tied for third on the roster. Insider linebacker Pepper Johnson led the team with 104 tackles to go with 6.5 sacks, good for third best on the unit. Lawrence Taylor missed two games but managed 7 sacks. The 1991 season was Taylor’s second worst as a Giant with an approximate value of 7, which is still leaps and bounds above just about every single outside linebacker since his retirement following the ’93 season.

Next: 1996