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This is why there is so little interest in these types of discussions. Anyone can cherrypick numbers to suit their purposes.

Ok. For some reason you believe that a +18% margin in PA/G can be made up by accounting for schedule. I think that that is very unlikely but I gave it a shot because I do want to address your concern, and...

after some manual number-crunching I have come up with my own, better stat! I call it RSWAPS (Rod's Schedule-Weighted Average Points Stopped). For a target team I looked at each week's opponent and calculated how far below their average offensive output (ie, their usual PF/G) they were held. For example, when Houston held Cincinnati (21.8 PF/G) to only 19 points, you could say that Houston's defense stopped 2.8 of Cincinnati's average offensive points. Running the numbers for the best 4 defenses gave me...

   TEAM   GP    PA  OPP PFavg diff   RSWAPS!  %BelowPFavg
1. SF 14 185 288.2 103.2 7.4 35.8%
2. PIT 14 218 287.3 69.3 5.0 24.1%
3. HOU 15 255 302.1 47.1 3.1 15.6%
4. BAL 14 236 275.8 39.8 2.8 14.4%

In other words, on average, SF has held each of their opponents, on average, to 7.4 points less than their average scoring, or 35.8% below.

So? What do you think about RSWAPS? I put a lot of thought and effort into coming up with something more fair that addresses strength-of-schedule. And you can see by the "OPP PFavg" column that none of these defenses has been given an easier schedule as far as opponents' offensive strength goes. I believe RSWAPS is a good measure of a defense's stopping power... it is opponent-specific AND it measures points on the scoreboard.

And the 11% difference between #1 and #2 (35% vs 24%) in THIS metric is enough for me to say that one team, SF, is clearly the best defensively.

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