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Team Defense Rankings - Week 16
Darin Tietgen
December 20, 2007

Tier One - Must Starts

  1. New England – Gotta figure the surging Pats will completely obliterate the Dolphins.  This could be one of the biggest mismatches in NFL history. 
  2. San Diego – Shawne Merriman could be back this week, but even if he’s not, the Bolt D should have a good showing against their AFC West rivals, the Denver Broncos.  The Bolts put up 24 fantasy points against the Broncos in Week 5 at Mile High. 

 Tier Two - Good Starts

  1. Tampa Bay – The Niners only allowed 2 fantasy points to the Bengals last week.  On the other hand, the Bucs looked like world-beaters on D last week against the Falcons.  Figure they’ll put up decent stats against QB Shaun Hill and the Niners
  2. Minnesota – The Vikes looked to be back on track but then had a poor showing against the Bears.  They should perform well against a Redskin team led by QB Todd Collins.
  3. Jacksonville – Few teams are hotter on both sides of the ball than the Jags.  They only put up 5 fantasy points against the Steelers, but escaped with a huge win.  They’ll definitely double that output – if not more – against a Raider team that gave up big fantasy points to the Packer D last week.  
  4. Green Bay – The Packer D has shown flashes of brilliance this season and they will want to finish the season strong, and especially against the Bears, who handed them a critical Week 5 loss.   
  5. Seattle– They’ll remain in the “good start” section despite a ridiculous one-point showing against the Panthers.  The Ravens have obviously mailed it in (see last week’s loss to the Dolphins for more info) and the Hawks need to finish the season on a high note entering the playoffs.  
  6. Arizona – Yet again, the “vs. ATL” thing just has to work, right?  Even the mediocre Cardinal D should slam the Falcon offense.

Tier Three – Average Starts             

  1. Dallas – For some reason, the Matt Moore led Panther offense hasn’t really allowed much fantasy production for the opposing D.  Look for the aggressive Cowboy defense – even without Roy Williams – to make some things happen this week.
  2. Buffalo – Despite being eliminated from playoff contention, the Bills will look to end the 2007 on a positive note with well-played games against the Giants and Eagles.  The Bills have put up an average of 13 fantasy points in the past three weeks, so figure they’ll get in double digits this week. 
  3. Indianapolis –The Colt D has stayed consistent in the second half of the season and should perform well in their second meeting with the Texans.  Careful though, as many of their big-name starters could be sitting in the fourth quarter.  That could be a good thing, though, as the backups will be fresh and will look to make a statement for more playoff playing time.
  4. New Orleans – The Saint D has been putting up decent fantasy points in last month’s worth of games and could put up a show against an Eagle team resting on its laurels after upsetting their rival Cowboys. 

Track Record – Week 15
(Last week’s rank/Actual rank)

  1. Minnesota (24) – Wow, and they had scored in double digits since Week 11.  Everyone on the planet expected at least that against a weak Bear squad.  Well, it’s not like you can go and bench ‘em this week against the Skins.  They’ll rebound. 
  2. Green Bay (11) – After putting 25 fantasy points up against the Raiders, you’d figure they’d do at least half that against the Rams.  Well, the Pack came out and popped the Rams in the mouth but only put up 8 fantasy points.  Expect at least 8 – if not double digits – this week against the Bears.
  3. Seattle (31) – And this is exactly why I’ve been leery to rank them anywhere higher than a “good” start.  So inconsistent.  Still, I wouldn’t have much reservation in starting them this week against the Ravens.
  4. New England (2) – Another solid fantasy game for the Patriot D.  They’re a bit overshadowed by that juggernaut offense, but at this point they’re the second-best fantasy D in this format for the season.  They’re a must-start, obviously, against the Dolphins.
  5. Cincinnati (25) – Color me surprised over Niner QB Shaun Hill’s performance.  The Bengal D had been scoring well, fantasy-wise, and they managed a mere 2 fantasy points this past week.  They’re an iffy start against the Browns this week.
  6. Tampa Bay (1) – So yeah, that “versus ATL” thing sorta works.  They should be able to muster up at least 10 fantasy points against the Niners this week.
  7. New Orleans (16) – Not exactly what we were hoping for but 6 points is better than a few other “better” defenses (Steelers, Seahawks, Vikings, Broncos) did this past week.
  8. Miami (14) – Sure enough, the D stepped up a bit (4 sacks and a pick) and they got their first win.  Leave them firmly entrenched on the bench or waiver wire this week against the Pats.
  9. Indianapolis (13) – The Raiders have been giving up fantasy points to opposing Ds, and the Colts scored only 6 fantasy points.  They’ll be an average start this week against the Texans, especially with many starters sitting out a portion of the game. 
  10. Dallas (7) – They had quieted down significantly but bounced back defensively, even in a defeat.  Look for them to run roughshod over the Panthers this week. 
  11. Denver (26) – This is the week for real poor play from real solid defenses.  2 points?  Against the Texans?  Come on!  Well, don’t expect much this week, either. 
  12. San Diego (3) – Even with Shawne Merriman shelved, this D stepped up and kept it’s #1 ranking on the season with a big win against the struggling Lions.  Figure they’ll be a decent start against the Broncos this week.

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