1. Chiefs vs. CLE
This matchup will be a painful game to watch if you are a fan of Cleveland. But, then again, if you're a fan of Cleveland, you're already accustomed to soul wrenching pain. Over the last two weeks, Kansas City has 14 sacks and four takeaways. They also have four defensive touchdowns already. Cleveland is starting the quarterback with the slowest wind-up in the NFL, Brandon Weeden. Right now, somewhere, Tamba Hali is watching Browns tape, and licking his chops. With nine sacks, Tamba is on pace for 25.5 sacks on the season. That number will go up since Cleveland has allowed the fourth most sacks per game. In addition, the Chiefs are allowing the fewest points per game, while only six teams are scoring fewer points per game than the Browns.
2. Seahawks @ STL
Enter Kellen Clemens…exit any chance the Rams have of winning this week. The Seahawks have been ball hawks this year, tying the Chiefs for most takeaways at 2.7 per game. For his career, Clemons has seven passing touchdowns and thirteen interceptions over 381 attempts. This amounts to a career passer rating of 62.2, which would rank below every qualifying quarterback this year except Josh Freeman. This will get ugly fast.
3. 49ers @ JAX (London, England)
There was a time when this would be the number one defensive matchup with a bullet. San Francisco started the season as an upper-middle ranked fantasy defense, but they've actually improved over the last three weeks. Over that span, they have allowed the leagues' second fewest points per game, 13.3. The Jaguars offense has improved with Chad Henne under center, but they still rank dead last at 10.9 points per game. This includes an almost unfathomable 3.7 points per game average at home (even in London they are technically the home team…perhaps even with more fans). The Jags are averaging the third most sacks allowed per game, and only five teams are allowing more turnovers.
4. Saints vs. BUF
Thaddeus Lewis has been respectable so far as the Bills' quarterback. Unfortunately, he has to face the Saints this week. The Bills simply do not have the offensive weapons to hang in a shootout against New Orleans. Especially considering how well the Saints have played on defense. Only seven teams are allowing fewer passing touchdowns per week, and only eight are allowing fewer passing yards than New Orleans. The Saints are also fifth in the league in sacks at 3.3 per game, and Lewis has been sacked nine times in his two starts.
5. Panthers @ TB
Tampa Bay just lost their lead running back, Doug Martin, for the foreseeable future due to a shoulder injury. They also replaced their starting quarterback with an unproven rookie just a couple weeks back. Throw in that they are averaging the fewest points per game scored outside of Jacksonville, and that their three starting interior offensive lineman are all in various degrees of injury. This does not add up to good tidings for Tampa. This week they face a Panthers team that is allowing the second fewest points per game. Not to mention, that the Panthers also rank seventh in sacks and fifth in takeaways.
6. Broncos vs. WAS
Washington has allowed a special teams' return touchdown each of the last three weeks. Trindon Holliday is currently leading the league with two return touchdowns. It's a frightfully bad coverage team versus one of the best return men in the league…advantage Denver. In addition, Washington is tied for tenth worst allowing 1.7 takeaways per game. Meanwhile, Denver has five takeaways over the last three weeks. This ranking is assuming you don't get penalized heavily for yards or points allowed. Denver cannot seem to control their desire to give up huge chunks of yardage and points, especially through the air.
7. Eagles vs. NYG
Thanks in part to Eli Manning's horrific start, no team has turned over the ball as frequently as the Giants. The Eagles aren't exactly a defensive stronghold, but their seven takeaways over the last three weeks ranks fourth best. Eli's foibles have been the leading cause of the Giants ranking second worst in opponent's DST touchdowns allowed at 0.9 per game. This is however another game where if you lose points for points allowed or yards allowed, you may want to reconsider this ranking.
8. Bengals vs. NYJ
The Bengals have lost Leon Hall for the season, removing their best cornerback from their secondary. That shouldn't matter too much this week as the Jets receiving corps is still shady at best. The Jets are allowing the sixth most sacks this season, and Cincinnati has nine over their last three games. New York is also the fifth worst in the league, allowing 2.1 turnovers per game. Another reason to like them, the Bengals rank eighth in points allowed per game this year, including allowing only 15.3 points per game at home.
9. Browns @ KC
Dwayne Bowe will be put in the Iron Haden this week, leaving only Donnie Avery and Sean McGrath as useable targets for Alex Smith. In addition, Jamaal Charles will have to make due against a defense that is allowing the leagues' fourth best 3.5 yards per carry. This game, featuring two very good defenses, will likely come down to field position. Charles is a more reliable chain-mover than Willis McGahee, so the Chiefs will probably win this game. That said neither of these teams will do much offensively in this game, making both defenses good starts.
10. Dallas @ DET
Dallas has seven takeaways over the last three games. They also have four DST touchdowns on the season. Detroit isn't a team that turns it over a lot. They also aren't a team that allows a lot of sacks. Brandon Carr has been very good on opposing WR1. If he can cause havoc on Calvin Johnson, that could give Stafford reason for pause. When Stafford loses his confidence, he does make some mistakes. This is what Dallas needs to hope for, because they are capable of capitalizing on these mistakes.
1. Giants @ PHI
This ranking will gain traction if Matt Barkley is forced to start this week. Nick Foles sustained a concussion last week and is doubtful to be cleared for this week's game. Making matters worse, Michael Vick may or may not be ready to return from his hamstring injury. Even if Vick is capable of going, he will likely be damaged goods and easy pickings for the Giants. This will make them happy, as currently they rank dead last in sacks, despite having some talented pass rushers. If neither is capable to go we will once again see Matt Barkley. In last weeks' appearance, Matt Barkley looked woefully underprepared throwing three picks in roughly a half of play in relief of Foles.
2. Cardinals vs. ATL
Harry Douglas made his presence felt last week. This week he draws Patrick Peterson and the honeymoon is over. The Cardinals have recorded twelve sacks over their last their last three games. Matt Ryan has amazingly only been sacked nine times, despite playing without his top two wide receivers, and his starting running back, and behind a patchwork offensive line. Arizona has been stingy allowing only three running back rushing touchdowns, so this game will come down to Ryan beating them through the air. That could be problematic if Douglas is taken out by Peterson. Arizona's defense has been red hot recently too, securing eight turnovers during their last three games.