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Factoid

60-sack defenses

Ravens likely to decline

The Ravens had one of the top defenses (fantasy or otherwise) last year, but a step back in 2024 seems likely. There will be personnel changes, and the history of defenses putting up the kind of numbers they did indicates a decline is in order.

Most notably, in terms of sacks. (And we saw this just last season, with Philadelphia.) The Ravens led the league with 60 sacks, but they lost Jadeveon Clowney (9.5 sacks) in free agency. They still have 13-sack Justin Madubuike (pictured), so a collapse isn't likely. But the vast majority of 60-sack defenses experience some kind of drop (of late, in the 10- to 20-sack range) one year later.

The Eagles put up 70 sacks in 2022, and while their decline was expected (in part due to personnel losses), it was even worse than most figured. They dropped all the way down to just 43 sacks, the biggest decline by a 60-sack defense...since the Ravens themselves dropped by 28 after recording 60 sacks in 2006.

Table shows the 26 defenses to record at least 60 sacks since the move to a 16-game season (and currently a 17-game season), with their total sacks one year later also shown. Only five of those defenses had 60 sacks again (those totals are in bold). Only two actually recorded more sacks in that ensuing season. The 1982 Jets get a projected total for if they'd played 16 games (that was a strike year).

60-SACK DEFENSES, ONE YEAR LATER
SeasonDefenseSackNextDecline
2023Baltimore60????
2022Philadelphia704327
2013Carolina604020
2006San Diego614219
2006Baltimore603228
2000New Orleans665313
1996Carolina603624
1990Kansas City603921
1989Minnesota714724
1989Philadelphia624616
1987Chicago704327
1986Raiders634419
1986Chicago6270+8
1986San Diego624517
1985N.Y. Giants68599
1985Raiders65632
1985Chicago64622
1985Dallas62539
1985Seattle614714
1985San Francisco60519
1984Chicago72648
1984Washington665214
1984Raiders6465+1
1984Philadelphia60537
1981N.Y. Jets6636 (proj.)30
1980San Diego604713

I will have Baltimore, which led the league in both sacks and takeaways last year, among my top defenses this year. Decline doesn't always equal "bad" when you're one of the best. But expectations for production should be lowered.

--Andy Richardson

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