1. Chiefs @ TEN
The Chiefs would have probably gotten the top defensive ranking this week if Jake Locker was going to be the starter for Tennessee, well Locker is out and enter Ryan Fitzpatrick. This alone bumps the Chiefs defense up another three - four spots. Oh wait they are already listed as #1 and cannot go up any higher, ok just increase the expected carnage. Fitzpatrick had a few good games last year with Buffalo but you cannot look beyond the 3.2 Interception % that ranked him ahead of only four other teams starters last year. Oh yeah and the Chiefs are pretty good too, they have allowed the fewest points per game so far this year and they have the league's third most takeaways.
2. Seahawks @ IND
It is safe to say that last week when Houston posted that big first half against Seattle last week that teams were beginning to question Seattle's vaunted defense. However, a closer look at the numbers suggests that Seattle did do a good job of holding the Houston WRs in check even if Andre Johnson finished with a 9-110 line. In total Houston got only 12-143 out of their WR position as Houston's primary offense came once again thanks to their backs and tight ends. In addition Matt Schaub got sacked four times and was picked twice including a pick-6 by Richard Sherman. Indy is not prone to the turnover as only one team has fewer turnovers this year, but the Seahawks defense is the other side of that coin leading all but one team in takeaways, including eleven over their past three games. Also only Kansas City has allowed fewer points per game than Seattle.
3. Browns vs. BUF
This week, there just are not a lot of good defensive matchups. I've actually been forced to throw poor E.J. Manuel under the bus as he gets to go on short rest against a better than assumed Browns' defense. Only two teams have more sacks than Cleveland and they have six takeaways in the last three games. Buffalo was picked off twice last week, and they fumbled the ball four times (they only lost one of them). In addition there is a good chance their top two offensive weapons will be limited this game, if they play at all. A rookie QB with only three days to plan against a good defense without his best weapons…yeah I don't like the Bills' chances here.
4. Rams vs. JAX
Let me preface this positive projection with my own personal distrust of the St. Louis team. They went from being middle of the pack against the run to a complete waste of space against the run. I had zero reason to think they would drop off this badly, heck I thought they were going to be improved from last year. Their 17th ranked pass defense is right in alignment with their 15th ranked pass defense from last year, but I expected markedly better when you consider they have Cortland Finnegan and Janoris Jenkins as their top two CBs. I'm going to give St. Louis the benefit of the doubt for one more week; if they can't take advantage of this pansy matchup then they have earned permanent banishment to the waiver wire.
5. Lions @ GBP
Aaron Rodgers has already been sacked more frequently than all but nine other teams, and even though the Lions have only recorded nine sacks so far this year they do have a very strong front line. The Lions have also scored a pair of defensive touchdowns already this year and Green Bay has already turned the ball over at a higher per game rate than all but four other teams.
6. Dolphins vs. BAL
The Ravens offense is a mess right now and Joe Flacco just got done throwing five interceptions last week against a disgustingly bad Buffalo secondary. The Dolphins meanwhile are in the middle of the pack in per game takeaways averaging 1.8 per game. The Ravens also just allowed four sacks to said Bills and Miami is also in the middle of the pack here with an average of 2.8 sacks per game. That pass rush will also get a huge boost as it appears that Cameron Wake will make his return for Miami this week.
7. Broncos @ DAL
Denver gets so far ahead each week that they have been able to play a more aggressive style of defense but it has only resulted in six turnovers so far which falls in the lower half of the league and only four teams have turned it over fewer times than Dallas has. So why then am I suggesting starting Denver vs. Dallas this week? It comes down to special teams where Denver has three TDs already this year. Dallas also was amongst the bottom ten in turnovers last year and Tony Romo has been known to struggle in big spots in the past.
8. 49'ers vs. HOU
Matt Schaub has managed to throw Pick-6's in three consecutive games. This week he goes for the superfecta. This year's 49'ers are not the same team that dominated on the defensive side of the ball for the last three years but they are still solid enough to take advantage of Schaub's sloppiness. San Fran has also allowed the fourth fewest total yards in the league. I'm particularly intrigued to see how Foster does against the 49'ers run defense (which has already allowed as many RB rushing touchdowns through four games as they did all last season). San Fran has been a house of horrors for running backs previous years; this will be a legit test for them.
9. Falcons vs. NYJ
I have been fairly impressed with how well Geno Smith has carried himself so far this season especially considering the miserable state of their wide receivers. That WR corps (e) just got decidedly more pathetic as both Stephen Hill and Santonio Holmes are questionable for this weekend's game, leaving a huge hole on a team that is averaging the second most turnovers per game so far. The Falcons aren't exactly lighting the world on fire as far as defense goes but they should jump out to an early lead in this one forcing the Jets to throw to try and keep up. If Geno has no one left to throw to then Atlanta should be able to take advantage and punish him.
10. Bears vs. NOS
The New Orleans Saints are still throwing the ball a lot; in fact only five teams have a higher passing play percentage over the last three weeks than New Orleans. Chicago leads the league in takeaways per game and they have only allowed six QB passing touchdowns this season. If Chicago can put the smother on Brees' passing targets (Graham owners take note Chicago has allowed only 1 TE to score against them this year), then the Saints would be forced to rely on their running game which is averaging only a league eighth worst 81 YPG.
1. Ravens @ MIA
So far this year Ryan Tannehill has been sacked the second most frequently and the Ravens have recorded the eighth most sacks already on the season. In addition, over their last three games Baltimore has allowed the fifth fewest total yards while Miami is posting the eighth fewest total yards on the year. This game has low scoring written all over it.
2. Panthers @ ARI
Arizona hasn't been able to get a running game going so far this year mainly because they are trotting out there one Rashard Mendenfail. Their passing game has also been hurt by injuries to early season injuries to Larry Fitzgerald and several offensive line members. How bad has their offense been? Their own coach called it "putrid". What's going to happen this week when that putrid offense has to take on a team that has allowed only two passing touchdowns and only one rushing touchdown so far?