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Team Defense Rankings - Week 1
Darin Tietgen
September 6, 2007

Tier One - Must Starts

  1. Chicago The Bears start the season off with quite possibly the toughest draw, traveling to San Diego to face the loaded Chargers.  But the Bears will be hungry to make a statement after their lackluster Super Bowl showing. 
  2. Baltimore – The Ravens also have a tough draw, facing the very talented Cincinnati offense.  The Bengals will be without WR Chris Henry for this one, and the aggressive Raven corners will do their best to contain Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh.   For those that think that’s a pipe dream, rewind to 2006 where Carson Palmer threw for an average of 215 yards and one score per game against the Ravens’ D.   
  3. PittsburghPittsburgh not only gets the Browns twice this season, but are fortunate enough to start the season with them.  Should be an easy track to 1-0 and the defense will lead the way.  Expect the pass rush to be heavy despite the departure of LB Joey Porter and S Troy Polamalu will prove why he’s one of the best defenders in the game.

Tier Two - Solid Starts

  1. New EnglandThey’d probably rank higher if Rodney Harrison were not suspended.  Either way, the Jets will play the Patriots well and the Pats’ D is not as attractive a start this week.  But if you have ‘em, you gotta start ‘em. 
  2. Jacksonville The Jag defense should contain QB Vince Young should he attempt to become more of a pocket passer this week.  Should Young try breaking down the Jag defense, they have the team speed to catch him.  Expect a lower-scoring game where the Titans struggle to cross into the end zone.
  3. Dallas – The Cowboy secondary may be missing CB Terence Newman come Sunday night, but Roy Williams and DeMarcus Ware should do enough damage to the Giant offense to make the Boys a very viable start this week. 
  4. San DiegoThe Chargers face the Super Bowl runners-up to start the season, but at least it will be in front of their fans.  Expect a “few” mistakes from Chicago QB Rex Grossman, so the Chargers could easily put up superb numbers this week.
  5. Houston – For those of you in those “survivor” types of leagues where you can only start a player (or in this case, a team defense) once, this would be the week to start the Texans.  They start the season at home against the Chiefs, who will struggle to move the ball (with a mundane QB in Damon Huard, geriatric WRs and TEs and a RB in Larry Johnson who may still be shaking the rust off). 
  6. Minnesota – The Vikes were a sneaky play for several weeks of ’06 and will probably not fly under as many radars this year.  Their rush defense is stout, and this week’s opponent won’t present many offensive problems. 

Tier Three - Best of the Rest

  1. Miami – The Dolphins, as average as their secondary is, should totally contain the very average Redskin offense.  Expect Jason Taylor and Zach Thomas to continue their stellar play against the Skins.    Should be a low-scoring affair and the Fins should rack up at least a couple of sacks and 1-2 turnovers.
  2. CarolinaNot as tough as Chicago or Baltimore’s Week 1 draw, but a tough matchup to start the season nonetheless.  The Panthers travel to St. Louis to face Marc Bulger and his merry band of WRs and an improved TE.  The Panthers have a few solid playmakers and could pressure Bulger enough to make a few mistakes.
  3. DenverThe Broncos face a Bill team with a murky RB situation (rookie Marshawn Lynch has been less than stellar in preseason and behind him is the plodding Anthony Thomas) and QB who will force the issue.  Expect a few turnovers from the Bills and a low-scoring affair.

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.

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