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Team Defenses Report - Week 5
Darin Tietgen
October 6, 2005

First Tier – Must Starts

  1. Baltimore The Ravens’ D finally showed up this past Sunday against the hapless Jets. This week, they face another team with offensive problems, the Detroit Lions.
  2. Cincinnati Second week in the second position in these rankings. Why? Turnover ratio. The Bengal defense has caused a NFL-best 17 turnovers. Jacksonville's offense has been hit-or-miss, and has given up 7 turnovers thus far. Expect Jacksonville to play sound defense, but the Bengal defense will be the one to make big plays.
  3. Tampa Bay The Bucs continue to play solid defense; sacking the QB (nearly 3 per game) and causing turnovers (10 through 4 games). This week, they face the Jets, who were stymied by the Ravens in Week 4.

Second Tier – Solid Starts

  1. Chicago The Bears, coming off a bye week, are licking their chops over their Week 5 matchup. They have posted a league-low 5 sacks on the season, and the Browns have allowed 1.25 sacks per game. Expect that number to climb. Also, the Bears have 9 takeaways in 3 games. That number will rise too. This is a very winnable game for the Bears. If they’re to squeak by in Cleveland, it will be due to their playmaking defense.
  2. Indianapolis After a somewhat pedantic Week 4 drubbing of the Titans, the Colts travel to California to face the mistake-prone Niners. The Colts offense is going to absolutely torch the Niner defense, so early on, expect the Colt defense to put pressure on rookie QB Alex Smith and force him to make quick decisions in the passing game. After they're up by a few TDs, the Niners will be forced into passing with regularity, and the Colt secondary will be ready.
  3. Carolina Carolina’s not forcing as many turnovers as many pundits expected, given their playmaking front seven and solid secondary. However, they travel to the Valley of the Sun for a Week 5 matchup with the Cardinals, who gave up a bevy of fantasy points to the “mighty” Niner defense last week.
  4. Philadelphia Philadelphia’s defense is one of the best in the NFL, there’s no bones about that. Their Week 5 opponent, the Dallas Cowboys, have really cut down on their turnovers (5 through 4 games). Yet, the Eagles are second in the NFC with 10 takeaways. Expect a solid effort from the Eagles’ defense, but they won’t have to make too many big plays, as their offense should shred the Cowboy defense.
  5. Buffalo Buffalo has 7 takeaways in 4 games so far this season, yet they face a Miami team that has been playing solid football. Expect the Dolphins to try minimizing their mistakes, but for the Bills to come away with a victory at home, their defense will need to make the big play.
  6. Miami The Fins, in only 3 games, have 3 INTs and 3 fumble recoveries (tied for 5 th in the AFC). Come Sunday, they will face division rival the Buffalo Bills, whose QB J.P. Losman has really struggled since his decent effort in the first week of the season. J.P. Losman may be on the sidelines for this one, bringing in Kelly Holcomb. Either way, the Bills' offense should be stymied by the Dolphins' D.

Third Tier - Best of the Rest

  1. New England The defending champs will figure out a way to persevere despite losing their defensive anchor, Rodney Harrison. SS Guss Scott will need to step his game up in a major way. He and his defensive compadres will be put to the test against a solid Atlanta offense.
  2. Atlanta I can guarantee you the Falcon defensive staff watched the game film from the Chargers’ and Panthers’ wins over the defending champions. The Falcons have the speed in their front seven to cause havoc. Expect Patriot QB Tom Brady to minimize the mistakes, but Atlanta’s still a decent start as a fantasy defense in Week 5.
  3. Washington The Skins are playing good, solid defense, but have only caused two turnovers in 3 games. That number could easily double come Sunday, but the hosting Denver Broncos have been playing good football as of late.