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Team Defenses Report - Week 12
Darin Tietgen
November 23, 2005

First Tier – Must Starts

  1. Cincinnati They’ve been somewhat average recently, but can’t ignore the fact they’re still top dogs in terms of causing turnovers. Baltimore comes to town, sporting Kyle Boller at QB. Bengals get back on track this week with some big plays defensively.
  2. Tampa Bay 13 fantasy points last week after a somewhat bland 8 point showing the week previous. This week’s game is going to be all about defense, with the Bears coming to town. Bear QB Kyle Orton has been keeping the mistakes to a minimum, but the going will be tougher against this defense.
  3. Chicago See above. If the Bears have any chance of going into Tampa and escaping with a victory, they’re going to have to do more than just avoid the cannonballs.

Second Tier – Solid Starts

  1. Carolina After two weeks (Week 9 and 10) of major fantasy output, they slowed down last week. Expect a bounce-back from last week’s poor showing against an average, if not below-average, Bill offense.
  2. Jacksonville Yet another cherry matchup for this defense down the home stretch. Rest assured the Cardinals will be throwing the ball a great deal. Jacksonville’s secondary will be prepared.
  3. Denver Remains a “solid start” this week, despite having only three days off since their last game. Granted, that game didn’t take much out of this defensive unit, which has averaged a whopping 22 fantasy points over their past two.
  4. San Diego Their Week 12 opponent, the Redskins, have come crashing back to Earth. The Bolts scored 14 fantasy points last week. The Bolts desperately need EVERY win in the hotly-contested AFC. Their offense may stall a bit with TE Antonio Gates perhaps sitting this one out. Their defense is going to have to come up big in this one.
  5. Indianapolis They’ve slipped to the second-best fantasy defense after three straight below-average weeks. But it’s Monday Night Football, against yet another AFC contender. They dispensed of AFC contender Cincinnati last week with their offense. This week, they may have to rely on their defense a bit more.

Third Tier - Best of the Rest

  1. Minnesota Can’t ignore the fact that they have two double-digit fantasy scoring weeks sandwiching that huge effort against the Giants. They’re suddenly back in the NFC North mix, and face a pretty bland Cleveland offense at home. It’s no secret that their secondary has the potential to make plays. Expect some on Sunday.
  2. Detroit Detroit’s been stopping the run with regularity, so this week’s opponents, the Atlanta Falcons, may be taking to the air a bit more. Despite QB Mike Vick’s solid passing effort last week, he’s still Mike Vick – not known for his downfield passing prowess. Thus, he could commit a few turnovers. If nothing else, this could be considered the Lions’ Super Bowl: the traditional Thanksgiving Day game against a solid opponent. Expect them to come out firing on all cylinders. At least defensively.
  3. Falcons – See above. Thanksgiving potentially brings out big games in NFLers. The Falcons have been the worst fantasy defense over the past 3 weeks, but face it, they’re playing the Lions.
  4. St.Louis Only because they’re playing the Texans. Expect the Rams to control the ball on the ground and play solid defense. They should get to QB David Carr a few times, and cause at least a couple turnovers.

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.