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Stacking up against Super Bowl defenses

INDIANAPOLIS -- Significant defensive improvements have given the NFC champion New York Giants a boost during their run to Super Bowl XLVI.

AFC champion New England has fared better in scoring defense than by traditional yardage measures.

Overall, however, NFC West defenses compare favorably to those for the Super Bowl participants this year.

After looking at offensive comparisons, I've put together a chart stacking up the defenses.

Among the stats standing out: The Giants and Patriots have both allowed 86.1 NFL passer ratings to their opponents; Arizona and St. Louis compare favorably in sacks per pass attempt; San Francisco, Seattle and Arizona were about the same in yards per play allowed; the Patriots allowed a high yards per pass attempt; Arizona picked off too few passes (10 all season); Arizona was best in third-down percentage allowed; and the 49ers' scoring defense was miles better than those for the other teams listed.

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2011 Defensive Comparisons