Football Outsiders has ranked the New York Giants’ 1987 defense the 24th-best defensive unit of the last 30 years. FO used its DVOA (defense-adjusted value over average) metric to come up with the ranking, which placed the 1991 Philadelphia Eagles No. 1.
Of that Giants’ group, Football Outsiders said:
The defending champion Giants were considered a massive disappointment in 1987, but their struggles were massively overblown -- in part because they went 0-3 with replacement players during the strike. The Giants were 6-6 with the regular roster, and Bill Belichick's defense was as spectacular as always, leading the NFL with 51 sacks.
FO’s metrics ignored the strike games.
That defense featured Pro Bowlers Carl Banks, Lawrence Taylor and Harry Carson. That was also an All-Pro year for Banks. Pepper Johnson, Leonard Marshall, Mark Collins, George Martin, Terry Kinard and Erik Howard were also part of that talented group.
While the Giants have had other excellent defenses over the years, that’s the only group to make this list.