The San Francisco 49ers run a 4-3 base defense coordinated by Robert Saleh
DeForest Buckner will be tough to replace, but the Niners otherwise retained the core of their Super Bowl defense, including prized coordinator Robert Saleh. A pass rush led by Nick Bosa, Dee Ford and Arik Armstead ranks among the league's best even without Buckner, and the secondary remains in good hands with Richard Sherman recapturing his top form. Meanwhile, Kyle Shanahan's offense should continue to provide leads.
The New Orleans Saints run a 4-3 base defense coordinated by Dennis Allen
The Saints appear strong on both sides of the ball, seemingly primed for another playoff run and another season marked by frequent leads. It's a perfect setup for star pass rusher Cameron Jordan, who has three consecutive seasons with a dozen or more sacks. Demario Davis is a three-down stud on the second level, and an excellent secondary only gets stronger with Malcolm Jenkins returning to his original NFL home.
The Pittsburgh Steelers run a 3-4 base defense coordinated by Keith Butler
Pittsburgh struck gold with the Minkah Fitzpatrick trade last fall, but the defensive improvement wasn't a solo effort by any means. T.J. Watt, Bud Dupree and Cameron Heyward combined for 35 sacks, and rookie first-round pick Devin Bush stepped in at inside linebacker with four fumble recoveries and two picks. The Steelers lost nose tackle Javon Hargrave this offseason, but their other 2019 standouts remain in place.
The Buffalo Bills run a 4-3 base defense coordinated by Leslie Frazier
Success limiting points/yards didn't quite translate to fantasy stats the last two years, with Buffalo managing only one return TD on 51 takeaways. It's the type of thing that usually evens out over time, with the big plays eventually producing some huge ones. Coach Sean McDermott improved the unit's depth by adding some old friends from Carolina -- CB Josh Norman, DE Mario Addison and DT Vernon Butler.
The Baltimore Ravens run a 3-4 base defense coordinated by Don Martindale
A 3-4 defense with shaky linebackers usually isn't a recipe for success, but things are a bit different when you have Marlon Humphrey, Marcus Peters and Earl Thomas in the secondary. Defensive coordinator Don Martindale made it work last year after a slow start, and the Ravens should now have a bit more pass-rushing firepower with Calais Campbell and Derek Wolfe replacing Michael Pierce (Vikings) on the line.