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What is the most important defensive stat in Football?

People love to debate stats to make a logical argument and it's a smart thing to do, because stats good way to try and understand how a team plays. But the real debate isn't which team is better because of their stats, it really should be which is the most important stat to judge a team by?

A lot of people love to bring up total yards to make their point, which can show something but not the whole story. Perfect example: did you know that the Patriots defense actually gave up more yards than the Cowboys defense? The Cowboys overall defense was ranked 23 in yards (5,628) and the Patriots defense was ranked 25 in terms of yards (5,864). Yet didn't the Patriots have a better record than Cowboys? How is that possible if their defense was ranked below in terms of yards per game the Cowboys?

Even when you break down the passing defense of both teams you'll see in terms of yardage the Patriots pass defense was worse than the Cowboys. The overall pass defense of the Patriots was ranked 31 in terms of yards (4136), while the Cowboys was actually ranked 26 in terms of yards (3894). Again, same question as before? Laying out those yardage numbers what explains the Patriots having a 14-2 record and the Cowboys having a 6-10 record?

The points they gave up and the point differential of the team. Last year the Patriots ranked 8th (313) defensively in term of points and first in point differential (+12.8 per game). The Cowboys were ranked 31st (436) in terms of points and 21st (-2.6) in terms of point differential. If the Cowboys defense can improve in the points this season, when you consider the potential of the offense, the Cowboys record will be better because the point differential will be greater. Isn't outscoring your opponents, whether it's putting up points, or preventing points, the main goal of in all sports?

Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.

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