Do the Chicago Bears Have NFL's Best Defense?

Nick Kostora@@nickkostoraContributor IIIOctober 22, 2012

ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 01:  Brian Urlacher #54 of the Chicago Bears at Cowboys Stadium on October 1, 2012 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The Chicago Bears' 13-7 trouncing of the Detroit Lions on Monday Night Football has made a great case for an underrated theory: The Bears may have the best defense in the NFL.

Sure, teams like the Houston Texans, Seattle Seahawks, Arizona Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers garner more praise and attention, but have any been more consistent or dominant than Chicago?

The Bears lead the league in rush defense, allowing only 65 yards on the ground per game. They have an underrated defensive tackle in Henry Melton who is devastating at the point of attack and has sacked opposing QBs 4.5 times on the young season.

Chicago has five players with double-digit sacks this season, and six players have recorded at least one interception. There is a defensive balance that means the Bears do not have to rely on one player to shoulder the defensive workload week in and week out.

Even with Brian Urlacher clearly not the sideline-to-sideline presence he once was, Chicago finds ways to play top-notch defense and keep opponents from scoring. 

In fact, Chicago has allowed 20 or more points only once this season, and that came in a Week 2 loss to the potent Green Bay Packers. Even in that loss, the Bears held the reigning MVP to a mere 219 yards passing and one touchdown.

Arizona, Houston and Seattle have allowed 20 points twice this season while San Francisco has done so three times. 

Are all of these defenses elite?

Without question, but there is something to be said for the way Chicago consistently trots out a defense that refuses to allow points to be put on the board. 

Opponents convert third downs only 28.8 percent of the time against Chicago, average only 3.6 yards per rush and are almost never given big plays down the sidelines or over the middle of the field.

The Bears do have a tremendous offense that helps them win ball games, but it is the defense that is the catalyst for this team's success.

Watching as the Lions made futile attempts to develop an offensive rhythm on MNF provided a great showcase for the type of lock-down coverage and ferocious blitzing schemes the Bears can provide.

Stafford threw for just 261 yards and one touchdown. Calvin Johnson was held to only three catches for 34 yards and zero scores.

Detroit has struggled this season, but shutting down such a talented offense on a national stage was a prime example of the validity of the Bears defense.

A defense that might be the best in football, and it's time everyone took notice.