Week 2 Rankings (2018): Top 15 Defenses

by Ray Kuhn

While it is just one week we did learn a few things from Week 1 of the NFL season. Now it’s time to balance the risk of overreacting with the knowledge we acquired last week. Let’s take a look at how our options rank for this week:

  1. Los Angeles Rams – vs. Arizona
  2. Denver Broncos – vs. Oakland
  3. Baltimore Ravens – at Cincinnati
  4. Los Angeles Chargers – at Buffalo
  5. Houston Texans – at Tennessee
  6. Philadelphia Eagles – at Tampa Bay
  7. Minnesota Vikings – at Green Bay
  8. Jacksonville Jaguars – vs. New England
  9. Chicago Bears – vs. Seattle
  10. Cincinnati Bengals – vs. Baltimore
  11. New England Patriots – at Jacksonville
  12. Carolina Panthers – at Atlanta
  13. New York Jets – vs. Miami
  14. New York Giants – at Dallas
  15. New Orleans Saints – vs. Cleveland


  • Were we that wrong about the Saints? Entering the season people were under the impression that New Orleans had a strong defense, but then they ruined the hopes and dreams of many people in general. The Saints allowed 48 points in a losing effort to Tampa Bay, and there simply is no way we see a repeat of that this week. New Orleans is home again and while I’m not ready to go all in with their defense, the Browns aren’t going to score 48 points. Yes they did manage three touchdowns against the Steelers, but two came late in the game. I’m not saying to seek the Saints out, but if you can’t find another alternative, or have to manage your transactions for the season, there shouldn’t much harm in holding on to them for another week.
  • Entering the season we knew that Denver’s pass rush was going to be dangerous and they didn’t disappoint on Sunday. The Broncos took advantage of Seattle’s offensive line as they registered six sacks and I would expect to see a repeat against the Raiders this week. It is interesting that despite their success as a defense against Oakland, the Rams had just one sack last week. While the Raiders do have a strong offensive line, they still shouldn’t be a match for Denver’s pass rush and the fact that they generated three turnovers (two interceptions and a fumble recovery) doesn’t hurt. Additionally, David Carr and company don’t appear to be an offense that will generate much fear in a defense.
  • If you are looking to stream a defense, at the risk of overreacting, the Jets are your team. Now I wouldn’t expect five interceptions (one for a touchdown) and a punt returned for a touchdown each week, but New York does have a strong secondary. Depending on the opponent it could be a problem that even though the Jets hit Matthew Stafford and forced him to rush passes, they failed to generate a sack. Detroit also missed two field goals while still scoring 27 points (they too had a pick-six), so for now the Jets do have limited upside. The fact that they face the Dolphins at home this week does help their case.

Make sure to check out all of our Week 2 rankings:

Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Week 2 Rankings (2018): Top 15 Kickers
Week 2 Rankings (2018): Top 50 Wide Receivers


  1. Sheldon says:

    Hey, Prof. Dallas vs. NYG or Washington vs. IND? Thanks.

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