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Team Defenses Report - Week 6
Darin Tietgen
October 12, 2006

Tier One - Must Starts

  1. Chicago So rookie QB Matt Leinart looked decent enough last week against the improved Chief defense, but facing the pressure D of the Bears will prove far different.    Expect a Monday Night slaughter. 
  2. San Diego The Bolts started the season off hot, and have been consistently good since.  Their Week 6 opponents, the San Francisco 49ers, don’t really give up many sacks (eight so far this season), but they do average two turnovers per game.  Expect San Diego to harass QB Alex Smith plenty, and pick him off at least once.
  3. Dallas – Excluding Week 1, the Cowboys have scored in double digits each game this season.  They face the Houston Texans here this week, a team that’s only given the ball away six times so far this season.  But of course, they allow three sacks per game.  The big play Cowboy D should roll this week.

Tier Two - Solid Starts

  1. Denver – They looked pretty good this past Monday night and will look even better against the horrendous Oakland Raiders.  The Raiders have given the pigskin up 13 times and given up 20 sacks in four games.  Yikes.
  2. Baltimore – They are trying their best to keep up with the Bears as the best fantasy defense.  The Ravens get a tough draw against the surging Carolina Panthers this week, though.  The Panthers have only given the ball away six times thus far this season.  They have given up 11 sacks, though.  Should be a defensive battle.
  3. PittsburghQB Trent Green is still out for the Chiefs, and stud RB Larry Johnson will be nursing a sore neck this week.  Expect the Steeler defense to come out firing on all pistons in this must-win game.  The defending champs simply cannot go 1-4.

Tier Three - Best of the Rest

  1. AtlantaThey’ve had three huge weeks, one quiet week, and their bye week.  Still, they’re ranking in the top five in The Huddle’s staff league.  Giant QB Eli Manning has thrown an average of one interception per game, and the Giant offensive line has given up only nine sacks thus far.  Figure the Falcons to be a somewhat average fantasy start this week, with the potential for the big play.
  2. Washington – The Redskin D has been bland this season (no more than 9 fantasy points, and a big fat zero last week), but we can’t ignore the fact that they are facing the 0-5 Tennessee Titans this week.  Sacks may be hard to come by, but the Titans average 2 thrown interceptions per game.
  3. Philadelphia The Eagles’ D has been great this season, fantasy-wise.  They lead the “second tier” of fantasy defenses, trailing the Bears and Ravens.  They dropped 23 fantasy points on the Cowboys last week.  While the Eagles lead the NFL in sacks (23), the Saints have taken care of their QB (only six sacks allowed).  The Saints also take pretty good care of the football, committing only six turnovers so far.  Something has to give. 
  4. CincinnatiThe Bengals are again doing well in terms of taking the ball away from their opponents (12 takeaways in 4 games). They travel to a hostile environment to face the winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers this week.  Rookie QB Bruce Gradkowski looked solid in his first game, but expect him to be tested here against the Bengals. 
  5. St. Louis – Hard to recommend a pretty average defense against the defending NFC champs coming off a humbling loss, but the Rams have a whopping 15 takeaways (as opposed to only three giveaways).  Without RB Shaun Alexander to control the ball, the Rams can key on the Seahawks’ passing game. 
  6. New Orleans Another seemingly average defense which deserves a mention here.  Like it or not, the Saints are a top-ten fantasy defense (#7 according to The Huddle’s staff league scoring).  The Eagles have fumbled the ball six times this season, so there’s some hope for the 4-1 Saints.

Note: League scoring used for this column is 2 points for safety, fumble recovery, blocked punt or FG, 1 point for blocked PAT or sack, 6 points for defensive or special team TDs, and anywhere from 10 to 2 points based on points allowed.