Denver’s defense knocks the 2008 Lions from the worst ever through 4 games

USA Today

The 2008 Detroit Lions have been the gold standard of suck for 15 years. No team has ever sported a worse defense than Rod Marinelli’s winless, witless Lions.

They started with a brutal opening four games, losing them all badly:


  • Falcons 34-21
  • Packers 48-25
  • 49ers 31-13
  • Bears 34-7

That’s 147 points allowed, an average of 36.8. They allowed 429 yards per game. It was awful.

Somehow, the Denver Broncos’ defense in 2023 has been even worse to start a season. After Week 4, they’ve allowed 150 points and an average of 461.5 yards.

The raw stats are bad for Denver, but the advanced metrics and analytics are even worse. How bad are they? They’re officially worse than the 2008 Lions, according to the DVOA metrics from Aaron Schatz.

DVOA measures a team’s defensive success based on the down-and-distance of each play and calculates how much more — or less — successful they are compared to all other teams. The higher the number, the worse the defense. And until now, no team had ever earned a higher number through four games than the 2008 Lions.

The 2023 Broncos do have a feather in their cap that Detroit never claimed back in 2008: a win. Denver rallied to beat the Chicago Bears 31-28 on Sunday.

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