What a league-leading defense would mean for Vikes' Super Bowl chances

Since 1996, only six teams to lead the league in scoring defense have gone on to win the Super Bowl.
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The Minnesota Vikings defense is the talk of the NFL after its latest dominating performance on Monday night against the Giants, but does defense really lead to championships?

Not exactly.

Only six times in the last 20 years has the NFL's No. 1-ranked scoring defense won the Super Bowl. Only two others, the 2014 Seahawks and the 2010 Steelers, reached the Super Bowl. In fact, nine teams to lead the league in scoring defense since 1996 have been knocked out before getting to the conference title game.

But the good news is that if the Vikings lead the league this season (they're currently second behind the Eagles), there's a really good chance – based on the odds over the last 20 years – they make it to at least the divisional round. The 2010 Steelers are the only team in that span to fail to reach the second round.

  • 2015: Seattle – 17.3 ppg – Lost Divisional Playoffs
  • 2014: Seattle – 15.9 ppg – Lost Super Bowl
  • 2013: Seattle – 14.4 ppg – Won Super Bowl
  • 2012: Seattle – 15.3 ppg – Lost Divisional Round
  • 2011: Pittsburgh – 14.2 ppg – Lost Wild Card
  • 2010: Pittsburgh – 14.5 ppg – Lost Super Bowl
  • 2009: NY Jets – 14.9 ppg – Lost AFC Championship
  • 2008: Pittsburgh – 13.9 ppg – Won Super Bowl
  • 2007: Indianapolis – 16.4 ppg – Lost Divisional Round
  • 2006: Baltimore – 12.6 ppg – Lost Divisional Round
  • 2005: Chicago – 12.6 ppg – Lost Divisional Round
  • 2004: Pittsburgh – 15.7 ppg – Lost AFC Championship
  • 2003: New England – 14.9 ppg – Won Super Bowl
  • 2002: Tampa Bay – 12.3 ppg – Won Super Bowl
  • 2001: Chicago – 12.1 ppg – Lost Divisional Round
  • 2000: Baltimore – 10.3 ppg – Won Super Bowl
  • 1999: Jacksonville – 13.6 ppg – Lost AFC Championship
  • 1998: Miami/NYJ – 16.6 ppg – Lost Divisional/Lost AFC Championship
  • 1997: Kansas City – 14.5 ppg – Lost Divisional Round
  • 1996: Green Bay – 13.1 ppg – Won Super Bowl

Only six teams without a top 10 scoring defense have gone on to win the Super Bowl in the same period. Twelve of the Super Bowl winners since 1996 have had a top five scoring defense.

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