1. Bears at Vikings
Everyone is susceptible to some kind of substances, Superman has kryptonite, Mel Gibson has alcohol, I have hay fever, and Christian Ponder has the Chicago Bears. In five career games he's averaged 120 yards a game with four interceptions. Only five teams have snagged more interceptions this season than the Bears thought their high risk/high reward play style has allowed teams to score the fourth most points. Over his career Ponder has proven incapable of dealing with Chicago's blitz packages which boosts the Bears to the top of my defensive rankings this week.
2. Cowboys vs. Raiders
Despite dealing with some injuries the Dallas defense has been a turn-over machine as they've snagged an interception in seven of 11 games and have only been shut out in that department in one game all season. Oakland has a habit of being a bit generous to opposing defenses as only nice QB's have thrown more interceptions than Terrelle Pryor. Only five teams have scored fewer points than the Raiders and only one team has more defensive scores than the Cowboys so as Oakland tries to keep up with Tony Romo look for the Cowboys defense to flock to the ball like the salmon of Capistrano.
3. Panthers vs. Buccaneers
The Panthers streak just keeps on going and so does the stellar play of their defense. They have an interception in every game accept for two and have turned over their opponents at least once in every game this season. Carolina held Tampa to only 13 points in their week eight matchup and recovered a fumble in the decisive victory. Mike Glennon has two solid back-to-back games with multiple scores and not interceptions but the Panthers defense is white hot right now and a much bigger challenge than either Atlanta or Detroit.
4. Seahawks vs. Saints
The Seahawks offense does a great job of protecting the ball which lends itself to Seattle having the second best turnover differential in the league behind the Chiefs. Seattle's defense leads the league in interceptions and only two teams in the league have more fumble recoveries through 12 weeks. The Saints offense is powerful but Brees has shown a few cracks lately having thrown three interceptions in the last four weeks.
5. Bengals @ Chargers
Philip Rivers is fresh off of absolutely torching a now shaky Chiefs defense and he brings those skills to a matchup against a hot Bengals team that dominated Cleveland last week. The Bengals defense has five interceptions and two fumble recoveries in the last two weeks, both away from home so I'm not concerned about them heading into a hostile environment. Rivers has two 300-yard games in the last four weeks but he also has three interceptions so I like the chances of the Bengals having back-to-back weeks with a defensive score.
6. 49ers vs. Rams
The 49ers defense is a hard hitting bunch which has resulted in 10 forced fumbles, something only two other teams have managed to beat through 12 weeks. Kellen Clemens has played unexciting but safe football for the Rams with four touchdowns and no turnovers in the last three weeks. The 49ers will be the best defense he's faced since week eight when the Seahawks picked him off twice and held him to under 160 yards passing. The 49ers dominated the Rams back in week four and with Sam Bradford out for the season I see a potentially worse repeat of that outcome this week.
7. Cardinals at Eagles
Only two teams have more interceptions than the Cardinals through 11 games this season and they've picked off opposing quarterbacks three times in the last two weeks. LeSean McCoy plays a huge role in the Eagles offense but Arizona has been spectacular against the run as only the Jets have allowed fewer rushing yards per game. Nick Foles has yet to throw an interception this season, but he hasn't played a legit defense since week seven against the Cowboys when he got hurt. His streak of eight games this season without an interception will almost certainly come to an end against the Cardinals.
8. Rams at 49ers
The Rams have risen like a phoenix from the ashes in the past two weeks putting up 80 points and allowing a miniscule 29 points. They have scored a defensive touchdown in back-to-back weeks and have picked off their opponents seven times in the last three weeks. Colin Kaepernick has been subpar for much of this season and has thrown two interceptions in the last three weeks. Last week was his best week since way back in week one with three scores. The Rams held him to only 167 yards and two scores back in week four with the current play of their defense they should force to make at least once mistake this week.
9. Broncos at Chiefs
Only seven teams have picked off their opponents more than the Broncos this season as this aggressive defense makes up for giving up points by creating turnovers. The Broncos didn't record an interception against Alex Smith in week 11 but did hold him and Jamaal Charles to 17 points and recovered a fumble. Charles netted only 78 yards without a score and Smith had an uninspiring 230 yards but two scores. Denver's defense was embarrassed by Tom Brady in the second half last night and will look to take it out on Kansas City to get back on the winning track.
10. Patriots at Texans
Only seven teams have more interceptions than the Patriots, but that doesn't really matter because the Texans are just terrible. Case Keenum had his worst game as a pro last week and after throwing seven scores in the first three weeks without a pick he has two in the last two weeks. No one in the league is better at scheming against a rookie quarterback than Bill Belichek to I expect him to throw the book of exotic blitzes at the Texans all day long. Only two teams have more fumble recoveries than the Patriots and with 10 turnovers in the past four weeks look for the Patriots to swarm Keenum and the severely wounded Texans.
Miami at Jets
Geno Smith continues to dish out interceptions like he's playing a game of hot potato and finally surpassed Eli Manning for the league lead last week. Miami's defense has been very opportunistic this season as only five teams have more interceptions than the Fins through 11 games. Smith has thrown multiple interceptions in seven of 11 games this season and the Jets as a team have the league's worst turnover differential at -16. Do dolphins drool? We will find out this week.
Browns vs. Jaguars
The Jaguars have managed to scratch and claw their way to two wins in the past three weeks but it is not on the back of good quarterback play. Chad Henne has twice as many interceptions as touchdowns this season and has thrown four in the past three weeks. The Browns defense only had five interceptions throw the first eight weeks but have turned over opponents three times in the past three. The only way Jacksonville is successful this week is on the ground and only five teams have allowed fewer rushing yards than the Browns which means Henne will have to make things happen in the air, which rarely results in any positive news for the Jaguars.