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Team Defenses Report - Week 11
Darin Tietgen
November 16, 2006

Tier One - Must Starts

  1. Chicago Even blinded by my homer glasses, I ranked the Bears’ D in the second tier last week.  They came out and punched the Giants in the face and put up 14 fantasy points.  This week’s opponents, the New York Jets, have given the ball away 15 times this season and allow at least a couple sacks a game.  The Bears should put up at least 14 again this week.
  2. Philadelphia – The Tennessee Titans put a scare into the Baltimore Ravens at home, but the Eagles will hardly flinch.  They put up 19 fantasy points against their rival Washington Redskins last week.  Think of what they’ll do against Vince Young.
  3. BaltimoreAtlanta has given the ball away 13 times this season (rather average), but have uncharacteristically given up more than two sacks a game.  Baltimore could handle the running game, and certainly have the playmakers in the secondary to handle errant Vick passes.   

Tier Two - Solid Starts

  1. Seattle The Seahawks’ D has risen into the top 10 with three straight solid defensive efforts.  They put up 23 points against the “other” Bay Area team two weeks ago.  I wouldn’t be shocked to see 20+ yet again.  The Niners have given the ball up 19 times (2nd worst in NFC).
  2. JacksonvilleThe Jags have the run stoppers to deal with the dual threat Tiki Barber and the beefy Brandon Jacobs.  The Giant passing game looked rather lost without veteran Amani Toomer against the Bears.  You can bet HC Jack Del Rio and his players and staff have been studying plenty of game film and will have a great game plan to get to Eli Manning at home on Monday Night Football. 
  3. Pittsburgh – If the defending champs are going to make a run at the playoffs, it MUST start this week against Cleveland.  With a few key losses by AFC rivals and big wins by the Steelers, a wild card spot is not out of the question.  Their heart and soul (DB Troy Polamalu) could be out or limited, so look for others to step up against a very bland Cleveland offense.

Tier Three - Best of the Rest

  1. Denver They say defense wins championships, and in the case of the Broncos, their defense will HAVE to be extra-stout against a very, very good Charger team.  Both teams are 7-2.  Both teams’ defenses will need to make some big plays.  Slight advantage to the Broncos’ defense at home, and in the top three (in the scoring format used for this column) despite a few stinker games this season. 
  2. San DiegoFollowing their Week 11 opponents on this list are the Chargers.  The Bolts are ranked #7 according to the scoring format used here, and will face a Bronco team (well, check that, Jake Plummer) who may give up the ball (as a team, 15 times this season). 
  3. Buffalo – You can pretty much pencil in whatever defense is facing the Texans and expect double-digit fantasy points.  The Bills have two straight weeks with 10+ fantasy points, so expect them to continue that streak. 
  4. Kansas City Like the Texans, you can pretty much expect big fantasy numbers for whoever is playing Oakland.  The Chiefs, though, unlike the Bills, have been rather quiet lately.  Look for them to get back on track and score 10+ this week. 
  5. New York Giants – After a string of double-digit fantasy scoring weeks, the Giants have cooled off, probably due to the loss of their bookends Osi Umenyiora and Michael Strahan.  Mathias Kiwanuka has been an admirable fill-in and should be up to the task of helping stop a Jaguar team that looked out-of-sorts last week. 
  6. San Francisco The deep sleeper of the week, as they’ve gone for 32 fantasy points over the past two weeks.  This week, they’ll face a Seattle team that could see RB Shaun Alexander return.  But backup Seneca Wallace is still at the helm, and Alexander could be rusty. 

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.