After the Green Bay Packers picked off Carson Palmer four times on Sunday, they moved up in the Football Outsiders pass defense rankings to No. 15 overall. As far as I can recall, that's the first time they've been ranked in the top half of the league this season. They're still far behind the top pass defenses in the NFL. But are they getting any better?
The run defense remained ranked at No. 29 overall. They did a great job against the Raiders (their longest carry was only 10 yards), but they did allow a rushing touchdown. I wrote about it last month, and I still feel the same way. I can live with it so long as they don't allow many big plays.
Back to the pass defense. Looking at the stats, they lead the league in interceptions with 27. They also allow opponents to complete 60.1% of their passes, which somewhere in the middle. Those two stats would make them a solid pass defense, but they have allowed 23 touchdown passes (4th worst).
I was hoping to see some progress as it gets later in the season, but there really hasn't been any. I consider their three worst defensive games to be their first game against the Saints, their 8th game against the Chargers, and their 12th game against the Giants. In their first seven games of the season, they allowed 12 TD passes and had 13 INTs. For the next six games, it was 11 TDs and 14 INTs. Just as their worst games of the season have been spaced throughout, so have their touchdowns allowed and forced interceptions. They've seemed to have remained consistent.
While the Raiders game was a good week, the week before against the Giants was a bad one. That's not a pattern of late season improvement. Beyond the stats, are you seeing some improvement in their pass defense?