Harley Shultz, LeagueSafePost.com
1. Seattle vs. STL
The Seattle Seahawks lead the league in takeaways, including ten in the last three weeks. Seattle also ranks seventh overall with 2.9 sacks per game. To make matters worse for the Rams, Seattle also has allowed the second fewest total points overall, the second fewest points at home, and the fewest (36) over the last three weeks. In their earlier meeting, Kellen Clemens led the Rams to exactly zero touchdowns. He also was sacked three times and threw two interceptions.
2. New Orleans vs. TB
New Orleans has given up the third fewest points at home. They also rank fourth in total sacks. Josh Freeman did so little in their earlier matchup he earned a first class ticket to third-string behind Matt Cassel and Christian Ponder. Only five teams have given up more sacks than Tampa Bay, this includes a ridiculous seven last week.
3. Miami vs. NYJ
Only five teams have as many giveaways as the Jets. In addition, only two teams have allowed more sacks than the gang in green. In their earlier meeting, the Jets scored a whopping three points. Matt Simms and Geno Smith combined to throw for 108 yards, zero touchdowns, and two interceptions. Not to mention that they were sacked four times. They each also each posted QB ratings under 40. Vikings fans will appreciate that since that is basically half of Christian Ponder's career QB rating.
4. Carolina @ ATL
Carolina is allowing the fewest points per game. They are creating the sixth most turnovers per game. They also rank second in terms of sacks per game, including 12 over their last three weeks. These two teams just faced each other a little over a month ago. Matt Ryan was sacked only once; but he was picked three times, including a pick-6.
5. New England vs. BUF
Buffalo has allowed 11 sacks over the last two weeks. Meanwhile, the Patriots rank seventh overall in sacks delivered, including nine over their last three. E.J. Manuel started the season with a decent 150-2 performance against these Patriots, since then he has thrown for just nine total touchdowns. Contrast this to the five interceptions he has posted in just the last two weeks.
6. Denver @ OAK
Oakland has committed ten turnovers in the last three weeks. They also rank third from the bottom in terms of turnovers committed at home. Terrelle Pryor returns to the starting role this week just in time to face a defense allowing an average of 3-15 to rushing quarterbacks and that has allowed only one rushing touchdown all year. Pryor's agent even thinks that Oakland is playing him to showcase exactly how bad he really is. In his eight starts Oakland is 3-5. He has five passing touchdowns compared to eleven picks.
7. Arizona vs. SF
Arizona has scored four defensive touchdowns over their last seven games. This is just a part of the league's fourth-leading two takeaways per week. In their earlier meeting, Vernon Davis accounted for 180 of San Fran's 238 passing yards. After last week's no show due to ocular problems, I hope Davis remembers his eye drops for this one. If he is limited that could hurt the 49ers chances. Colin Kaepernick has been hit-and-miss all season, since their earlier game he has finished with less than 200 passing yards in six of nine.
8. Cincinnati vs. BAL
The Bengals rank second in takeaways at home. They also have the most home DST touchdowns (six). Only two teams have allowed as many sacks as the Ravens. They have also turned the ball over seven times in their last three games. Last time out, Joe Flacco got sacked five times and he was picked twice. These two teams also faced off in Week 17 last year. In that game, Joe Flacco got some bench time as Tyrod Taylor was sacked three times and threw a pick-6.
9. San Francisco @ ARI
A bruised and battered Carson Palmer just threw four interceptions last week. San Francisco has 16 sacks and seven takeaways in their last five games. They also have scored DST touchdowns in back-to-back weeks. Back in Week 6, the Cardinals turned the ball over four times versus the 49ers. If Palmer is limited once again, San Francisco has more than enough manpower to make him pay for playing.
10. Pittsburgh vs. CLE
Pittsburgh's defense has been mostly abysmal this year in terms of creating turnovers. However a few weeks ago when they faced Cleveland, the Steelers sacked the Browns' quarterbacks five times and forced four turnovers. They also gave up 237 yards to Josh Gordon and 130 yards to the rest of Cleveland's roster. This strategy of ignoring Gordon and shutting down everything else worked well as Cleveland managed just 11 points (including a one-yard touchdown for Gordon). The Browns just cannot seem to ever get their offense flowing versus Pittsburgh. In their last four meetings Cleveland has scored a total of 50 points, including three with eleven or less.
1. San Diego vs. KC
San Diego's defense has been atrocious this season, especially through the air. Their lone salvo has been that they are good against the run. Only seven teams have allowed fewer total touchdowns to opposing rushers. I point this out because the Chiefs have been pretty one-dimensional of late: handoff to Jamaal Charles, screen pass to Charles, counter to Charles, Alex Smith incomplete pass downfield. The Chiefs have already gone on record as stating that they are going to rest their starters, especially Smith and Charles. No Charles means that you are taking 1980 yards of the 5274 their offense has gathered out of the picture. That's 38% of their total offense on the sidelines. Taking Smith out means that you are starting a quarterback that wasn't good enough to beat out Smith. Chase Daniel has a career 11 completions, zero touchdowns, and a QB rating of 56.7 over five seasons.
2. New York Jets @ MIA
Poor Ryan Tannehill, all those hits finally knocked him out of the game last week. No team has allowed anywhere near the 3.9 sacks per game that Miami has allowed. Last week this piss-poor offensive line allowed seven sacks of Tannehill and his backup Matt Moore. Oh yeah, they also managed to gain a whole 14 rushing yards against an atrocious Buffalo rushing defense. The Jets have arguably the best rushing defense in the league allowing a league low 3.3 yards per carry. They also have eight sacks of their own over the last three weeks. With no running game to speak of here the Dolphins will be forced into passing downs repeatedly again. This sets things up for another night full of Excedrin and Ben-Gay for Tannehill.