by Ray Kuhn
At this point in the season, we have a significant body of work by which to evaluate both offenses and defenses. Again, we must remember that anything can happen, but year to date stats are becoming increasingly more reliable despite the fact that out liars do exist.
Let’s take a look at how the defenses rank for Week 12:
- Green Bay Packers – at Minnesota
- New England Patriots – vs. Detroit
- Kansas City Chiefs – at Oakland
- San Francisco 49ers – vs. Washington
- Buffalo Bills – vs. New York Jets
- Cincinnati Bengals – at Houston
- Indianapolis Colts – vs. Jacksonville
- St. Louis Rams – at San Diego
- San Diego Chargers – vs. St. Louis
- Seattle Seahawks – vs. Arizona
- Philadelphia Eagles – vs. Tennessee
- Chicago Bears – vs. Tampa Bay
- Houston Texans – vs. Cincinnati
- Dallas Cowboys – at New York Giants
- Cleveland Browns – at Atlanta
- Before seeing Zach Mettenberger look comfortable picking apart the Steelers defense, I likely would have had Philadelphia a few pegs higher. But aside from that, I know what you are thinking, it is crazy to think about starting the Eagles after their performance against the Packers. Or is it? Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay are a special bread, so we shouldn’t necessarily hold that against Philadelphia. The one problem though, is how fast the offense plays which does put pressure on the defense.
- For me what is holding back the Colts’ defense, is how good their offense is. With the injury to Ahmad Bradshaw, there potentially could be some trouble for Indianapolis in establishing a ground game. That means their offense will strike quickly and often which could put the Jaguars into garbage pretty early which will make the score look closer than game actually was. Conversely though, that could lead to some turnovers and sacks for the Colts defense. For me they are one of the top options this week.
- When picking a defense, you always want to find a young and inexperienced quarterback to target. For the Bengals, that is Ryan Mallett. Houston played conservatively with their young quarterback last week as he passed the ball just 30 times while Houston ran the ball 54 times. That is a trend I would expect to see continued and the Bengals can be counted on to bring pressure.
- Over the summer, the Rams were one of the top defenses going off the board. They soon began to struggle and found themselves on many waiver wires. However, the Rams have begun to recover as evidenced by their 18 sacks in the last five games. This week they get the banged up Chargers. Ryan Mathews did not come out of this week’s game unscathed and Philip Rivers is nursing a rib injury.
- The Seahawks are another defense that has fallen from their pre-season perch. Based on their price on draft day it is more likely that they weren’t dropped, but it is time to start evaluating them differently. They are now just a solid, but reeling defense. The potential for a shutdown performance is there, we just haven’t really seen it this season. This week they take on the Cardinals and inexperienced Drew Stanton at home. Aside from two touchdown passes to Michael Floyd, Stanton didn’t have much success in Arizona’s victory over the Lions and Andre Elllington has not been faring too well lately. This looks like a bounce back game for Seattle.