1. Seahawks at Atlanta
The Seahawks defense was shaken a bit last week as the lowly Buccaneers put up 21 points on them. It is the only game all season where Seattle did not register a single turnover and their third lowest sack total. The Sea Chickens will look to get their legs back this week against a Falcons team that has gone from bad to worse. Only three players have thrown more interceptions than Matt Ryan and as they get more desperate the more his play will deteriorate. No other team has more inceptions than Seattle and after throwing the ball 88 times in the last two weeks the odds are pretty good that a wayward Ryan pass finds its way into the hands of a Seattle defender or six.
2. Panthers at 49ers
The Panthers epic run continued last week as they held the Falcons to 10 points and picked off Matt Ryan three times. They lead the league in fewest points against and only the Jets have allowed fewer rushing yards. The 49ers have made a living this season on Frank Gore to offset Colin Kaepernick and the passing game. With their ability to stop the run the ball will need to be in Kaepernick's hands which hasn't happened that much this season. Kaepernick only has two games with over 200 yards passing and if he's asked to throw the ball for the win you can bet the Panthers will find a way to turn it over.
3. 49ers vs. Panthers
In all likelihood this is going to be a defensive battle as two great defenses go head-to-head. Only the Panthers and the Chiefs have allowed fewer points than the 49ers and only four teams have more defensive scores. Cam Newton has been steady but not fantastic this season as the Panthers offense has taken a far more conservative approach to moving the ball. Last week was only his second multi-interception game but he has rushed for scores in back-to-back weeks. The 49ers defense has six interceptions in the last four weeks are looking for their sixth straight win this week.
4. Cardinals vs. Houston
Case Keenum has played pretty well for Houston but he faces a stiff challenge against a Cardinals defense that has 12 interceptions this season, only one fewer than the Seahawks and Broncos. Last week they picked off the Falcons four times on their way to a 27-13 victory. Houston's bread and butter has been their running game but it could be tough sledding this week as only three teams have allowed fewer rushing yards than Arizona. With Foster and Tate banged up the game will fall strictly on Keenum's young shoulders and the Cardinals aggressive defense will make him falter.
5. Bengals at Ravens
The buyers remorse has to be setting in in Baltimore right about now as the Super Bowl champs sit at 3-5 and the million-dollar man Joe Flacco hasn't done them many favors as only five QB's have thrown more interceptions this season. The Bengals defense isn't overwhelming but they are top 10 in almost every category which means they are a force to be reckoned with on all sides of the ball. Ray Rice and the Raven running has been reduced to almost nothing and with seven sacks in the last two weeks the Bengals will being putting a lot of pressure on Flacco all day long.
6. Titans vs. Jaguars
This is your obligatory "Start ______ because they play the Jaguars" pick. The Titans defense has been solid, but not flashy with only six interceptions all season. Where they have excelled is fumble recoveries as only the Cowboys and Chiefs have registered more than them this season. Jaguars QB Chad Henne has yet to throw for multiple TD's this season while throwing two interceptions twice in seven games. He has put up two 300-yard games in the last three weeks but the Titans have put opposing QB's on lock down with three games under 200 yards and no games with 300 yards or more passing.
7. Colts vs. Rams
The Colts are another defense that while not flashy just seems to get it done as they've slowed down some of the best teams in the league like Denver, 49ers and the Seahawks. Their challenge this week will be to stop Zac Lacy and let Kellen Clemens be the one to beat them. Stacy put up a monster week last week with 127 yards and two scores against the Titans. The Colts have only allowed four scores to opposing RB's so if they can contain Lacy Clemens will be pressured to perform, something he is not used to doing at a high level as a career backup. Through three games his best output is 210 yards and he's thrown twice as many interceptions as touchdowns.
8. Bears vs. Lions
Opportunity is knocking for the Lions as both the Bears and the Packers are without their star QB's and the Vikings can't seem to find one to save their lives. The Bears allowed the Lions to score 40 points earlier this season but they did turn over Detroit three times. In two games last year the Bears turned over the Lions eight times so the expectation should be similar for this rematch. The last time the Bears scored a defensive touchdown against the Lions was 2011, but that was a game in Chicago. Blustery conditions will hamper the normally high flying Lions defense which heavily favors the opportunistic Bears.
9. Dolphins at Buccaneers
The Dolphins have been one of the surprising teams this season managing a .500 record despite having a train wreck of an offense. Most of the credit has to go to a defense that has done a good job of turning opponents over. Not a week has passed with the Dolphins causing at least one takeaway, and they've registered an interception in every game except one. Mike Glennon has settled down over the past couple weeks after a rocky start. He's thrown multiple scores in three of five games and only thrown an interception in two games so far this season. The battle for America's penis in Tampa should be a low scoring one that favors both defenses.
10. Broncos at Chargers
The Bronco's defense has given up a lot of points this season but as teams attempt to catch up to Peyton and the offense they end up putting the ball in the air early and often. This has led to Denver tying the Seahawks for the league lead in interceptions with 13. Through eight games they have plucked multiple passes out of the air in four of them and have added three forced fumbles to the mix in the last four weeks. Philip Rivers has only thrown seven interceptions all season but five of them of come in the last four weeks. He has thrown for over 300 yards in four games including three 400-yard games which bode well for a points smorgasbord in San Diego this week.
Steelers vs. Bills
The Steelers defense only has four interceptions and two fumble recoveries this season and they've also allowed the second most rushing yards behind the Jaguars. So why start them this week? Well the main reason is that all signs point to Jeff Tuel starting for the Bills and he looked absolutely lost against the Chiefs last week. He threw two interceptions including a 101-yard pick six and only one touchdown. Pittsburgh was also embarrassed last week as they gave up the most points in franchise history. If Dick LeBeau and Troy Polamalu have anything to say about it the Steelers defense will come out a group possessed this week.
Oakland at Giants
The Giants have managed to scratch out back-to-back wins and not coincidentally the last two weeks are the only weeks Eli Manning hasn't thrown an interception. Oakland's defense has been the opposite over the last four games as they've won two games with five interceptions and lost two games with zero. Even in the two wins for the Giants haven't been pretty and Oakland has the ability to pressure Manning with 10 sacks in the last three weeks which will induce him to continue to make mistakes.