I mean, I won't claim that having a top defense is instantly your ticket to a Super Bowl victory, especially when your offense/special teams basically hands the opposing team 17 points via turnovers and a very questionable onside kick. I do think that just about any offense, regardless of how well they play, needs help, though. New England put up over 500 yards of offense, had 350+ yards of passing from Brady, put up 33 points against the fourth ranked defense by yards and fifth ranked by points, never turned the ball over and never even punted...and the Patriots still lost. I'm not looking for a top defense; anything that provides more resistance than paper mache would be fine.
True they do need to work on it, but they should always keep to their strengths if that is where the budget has been doing recently. If the O line suffers due to a barely better defense, then things might become dicey. The other point I am trying to make is what I have been saying since the JAG- PIT game. The defense in these playoff games have been underperforming, so its not all that important.
NE #1 put 33 points against #4
Eagles #7 put 41 points against #29
PIT #3 put 42 points against #2
JAG #6 put 45 points against #5
Between those 4 scorelines, only one of them looks reasonable and that is the Eagles 41 points, but it probably also should have been lower too. And as rol said this is a nfl record for superbowl yards.
Sure, but simple points allowed can be a misleading stat because it depends heavily on the pace of the game, how your offense performs (the opposing offense will be more aggressive if they fall behind early), and how many turnovers there are. Let's add some of that information to those four games to provide some context.
Pittsburgh put up 42 points against the Jags. Jacksonville also, however, forced four turnovers and two punts, and allowed points on 50% of the drives in the game.
Jacksonville put up 45 points against the Steelers. 7 of those points were on a fumble return for a touchdown. Another 10 of those points were from a Roethlisberger interception and a very questionable onside kick that gave Jacksonville the ball either within or very close to field goal range. Pittsburgh forced four punts and overall, excluding two kneeldown drives, the Steelers gave up points on 60% of drives.
Philadelphia's defense was, admittedly, just as bad as New England's, and perhaps even more so; that I'll grant. But the difference between New England and Philly tonight, and in the other game you mention, is that the defenses in the Super Bowl were unreasonably awful. I don't have the stats in front of me to check because PFR hasn't updated yet, but I believe there were only three drives in the entire game where the offense did not score, ignoring the two hail mary-esque plays from the Patriots at the end of both halves. And one of those was the result of a fumbled snap on a FG attempt. The point total wound up being lower in large part to the way that Philadelphia's offense moved down the field. Jacksonville benefitted from 17 points off turnovers/onside kicks, and the Steelers' offense was relying so heavily on deep pass plays that there was a lot more scoring. Philly went with far more runs and short passes, however, which resulted in fewer opportunities for both sides to score. Put another way, Pittsburgh and Jacksonville combined for 12 second half drives on the day, while (I believe) New England and Philadelphia combined for nine, a number which drops to eight if you exclude the last minute drive from NE.