1. Seattle vs. MIN
Christian Ponder, Josh Freeman, Matt Cassel, what do all of these names have in common? The answer is that none of them will have success this coming week versus Seattle. Seattle ranks third with 2.2 takeaways per week, and Minnesota ranks third from the bottom with 2.0 giveaways per week. Seattle also ranks fourth with 3.2 sacks per game and third with 15.9 points allowed per game. Whoever starts for Minnesota will struggle to hold onto the ball, to move the ball, and most importantly to score.
2. New England @ CAR
New England is slated to get back Aqib Talib. Without Talib, their defense allowed seven passing touchdowns in just three games. Before he suffered his injury, the Patriots allowed a total of six passing touchdowns in their other six games. Simply put, Talib takes out the opposition's best offensive weapon (Case in point – a complete goose egg for Jimmy Graham a few weeks back). Surprisingly, over that same three game stretch, New England has 15 sacks. New England has been equally adept at thwarting the run, allowing only one rushing touchdown total over the last three weeks. With their running game and Steve Smith in check, I don't see a lot of points in Carolina's future here.
3. Arizona @ JAX
Jacksonville has scored an average of 3.7 points per game at home this year. That is 15 total points through four games. Every other team has averaged more than 15 points per game this year. Only six teams are turning the ball over as frequently as Jacksonville and only two teams are forcing more turnovers than Arizona. This should be ugly.
4. Houston vs. OAK
Houston has five takeaways in the last three games. Meanwhile the Raiders have turned it over seven times over that span. The Texans are also allowing the fewest yards per game on the season. In addition, Houston has allowed only 16 rushing yards per game to opposing quarterbacks, and only one rushing touchdown. If Terrelle Pryor can't establish anything with his legs, it will really hamper an already depleted offense. Darren McFadden will likely miss this game, leaving the running game in the semi-effective hands of Rashad Jennings. Jennings makes his living as a pass-catching back, but Houston is allowing only 3.8-33 to opposing pass-catching running backs. I also assume Jonathan Joseph will be tasked with neutralizing Denarius Moore. Where are the points gonna come from here for Oakland? I just don't see many.
5. Baltimore @ CHI
Josh McCown is back under center for the Bears. He performed solidly during his recent starting stint, of course that was against three defensive pansies. Baltimore is allowing the eighth fewest points per game. They also have five takeaways over their last three games. There is a reason McCown has been a career backup, in 55 career games he has 44 interceptions and only 41 touchdowns thrown.
6. New York Giants vs. GB
Two words, Scott Tolzien. Yes, he looked serviceable last week. Yes, he appeared to have a strong arm. Yes, there is now a book on him. The Giants have allowed the fewest total yards and passing yards per game over the last three. They have also allowed the second fewest rushing yards over that same span. Carolina is the only team allowing fewer points over the last three games. The G-Men have also recorded nine sacks over that span, and four takeaways.
7. Carolina vs. NE
Carolina is allowing single-digit points per game at home. Only two teams have scored more than 15 points against them this year. They also post in with the second best yards per game allowed at 283.3. That is 156 yards per game fewer than the worst team in the league, Dallas. New England, finally featuring their full complement of weapons, did show a jolt of life versus a tough Pittsburgh defense last week. There is however little guarantee they will be able to keep that going in back-to-back games against dominating defenses. The Patriots have been very successful holding onto the ball as they rank near the top of the league in terms of takeaways allowed. The Panthers might have what it takes to drive that ranking down, as they rank second in the league in takeaways.
8. Kansas City @ DEN
First off, if Peyton ends up not playing in this game due to his ankle injury; then Kansas City moves up to the number one ranking this week. The Chiefs lead the league in takeaways per game and points per game allowed. They also lead the league in DST touchdowns. Denver can score points at will against most teams, but they could struggle against the Chiefs. They could also lean more on Knowshon Moreno to avoid hits on Peyton Manning. Either way, the rule of thumb in fantasy is "You don't bench your studs"…Kansas City's Defense qualifies as a stud.
9. Tennessee vs. IND
I must ask, what is the punishment for a Colts' team that just got face-palmed last week by the Rams? Indianapolis has to travel into a tough arena, to face a stingy defense, on a short week. Indianapolis had no semblance of a running game last week. Luck led all rushers with 17 yards on four carries. Donald Brown and Trent Richardson combined for a total of seven carries and ONE freakin' yard. What is even more incredible about that is that Richardson actually had a five-yard carry factor into that total. Indianapolis has basically become a one-dimensional team. This is perfect for a Tennessee team which has allowed the fewest passing touchdowns in the league. The Titans can be beat on the ground, but I can't imagine even Tennessee allowing these two clowns to produce anything.
10. New Orleans vs. SF
New Orleans is allowing the fifth fewest 18.1points per game, and an equally impressive 15 points per game at home. San Francisco has been an all-or-nothing offense this season. In their three losses they have averaged a puny six points per game. In their six wins they are scoring 34.7 points per game. Two of those losses came against similarly premium defenses (Seattle and Carolina). New Orleans ranks fourth in the league with 3.2 sacks per game, and Kaepernick just got sacked six times in his last game.
1. New York Jets @ BUF
This week, we get to watch the rookie quarterback rematch between Geno Smith and E.J. Manuel. In their Week 3 hookup, Manuel was sacked eight times by the Jets' pass rush. In total, only seven teams are allowing more sacks per game than Buffalo. They have also turned the ball over seven times over their last three games.
2. San Diego @ MIA
San Diego has wrangled eight sacks over their last three games. Meanwhile, no team is allowing as many sacks as Miami. Their offensive line is in turmoil thanks to the Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin fiasco. Things have gotten so bad that they are starting human buffet line, Bryant McKinnie at tackle. Miami just got beat by the previously-winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers, their spirit might be broken.